The rush of Republican-controlled states to mount a challenge to the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide has sparked confusion about what these new laws actually do. Here’s what you need to know.
Lawmakers in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah have passed new antiabortion bills, and similar measures are pending in other states. The new laws have prompted questions about whether women who have abortions could be punished and why some of the pieces of legislation are called “heartbeat bills,” among other topics.
These restrictions generally are meant to provoke legal challenges that ultimately elevate the issue to the Supreme Court.
“I have prayed my way through this bill,” said Alabama state Rep. Terri Collins (R), who sponsored that state’s abortion ban, on Tuesday. “This is the way we get where we want to get eventually.”
Now that two Trump-appointed justices are on the Supreme Court, social conservatives see potential for a reversal of the court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade — although the court tends to make incremental changes to its interpretation of law, instead of dramatically overturning precedent.
New York and Vermont, meanwhile, have enacted protections of abortion rights.
So, why is everyone talking about Alabama’s new law?
The bill signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Wednesday prohibits abortion in almost every circumstance and is considered the most restrictive abortion law in the country. The legislation makes exceptions only for…
You may also be interested in this article about abortion and fetal viability:
Fetal viability – Wikipedia
The United States Supreme Court stated in Roe v. Wade (1973) that viability (i.e., the “interim point at which the fetus becomes … potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”) “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.” The 28-week definition became part of the “trimester framework” marking the point at which the “compelling state interest” (under the doctrine of strict scrutiny) in preserving potential life became possibly controlling, permitting states to freely regulate and even ban abortion after the 28th week. The subsequent Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) modified the “trimester framework,” permitting the states to regulate abortion in ways not posing an “undue burden” on the right of the mother to an abortion at any point before viability; on account of technological developments between 1973 and 1992, viability itself was legally dissociated from the hard line of 28 weeks, leaving the point at which “undue burdens” were permissible variable depending on the technology of the time and the judgment of the state legislatures…
…The period of viability refers (traditionally) to the period after the twenty-eighth week, or more recently the twenty-fourth week, of gestation when a human fetus is capable of living outside of the womb. Whether the fetus is in the period of viability has legal ramifications as far as the fetus’ rights of protection are concerned. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_viability