The US Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, to be announced by the end of June, is expected to bring about a Copernican revolution in more than half of the existing legislation across the states. Now, in some cases, a possible reversal of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal at the federal level in 1973, means a return to 180-year-old pro-life laws. Something of the kind that is happening in those countries where abortion is still prohibited by default due to colonial-era regulations.
This will be a veritable tsunami that will sweep through all states, even the ones that are now governed by Democrats, such as Wisconsin, where abortion would become illegal again in almost all cases. Indeed, the decision in Roe v. Wade had the effect of repealing previous partially or totally pro-life laws: in the specific case of Wisconsin, it was an 1849 law that provided for abortion only if the physician deemed it “necessary,” or with the advice of two other physicians, “to save the life of the mother.”
In a preemptive reaction to this legislative earthquake, some Wisconsin doctors are considering opening an abortion clinic across the border in Illinois. According to Jennifer Welch, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois branch of Planned Parenthood, up to 20,000 women could go to Illinois for abortions–more than the total number of patients to whom Planned Parenthood provides services.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation estimates, about 23,000 abortions took place in the five states bordering Illinois in 2019, including 6,511 in Wisconsin. Another 27,339 were performed in Michigan.
Michigan abortionist runs for cover
And even in Michigan, the possible reversal of Roe vs. Wade would bring back into effect a law from 1931, one of the most restrictive in this remit, which prohibits abortion even in the cases of rape or incest, and also bans medication abortion.
However, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would not enforce the 91-year-old “draconian law,” “confident” that her state’s Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional, regardless of the decision of justices in Washington.
For her own part, Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has already sued to ban the prohibition provided by the 1931 law, while a petition is underway to hold a referendum in conjunction with the November 8 midterms in order to try to approve an amendment to that law, which guarantees “reproductive rights.”
Physicians criminally prosecuted in Tennessee
A third and completely different case is Tennessee, where a law was passed in 2019 that would actually go into effect in the event of a pro-life ruling by the Supreme Court.
In fact, in that state it would become a crime to perform an abortion except when necessary to prevent death or the “substantial and irreversible impairment of the pregnant woman’s major bodily functions,” making doctors who perform an abortion liable to criminal penalties. But not so the mothers who have undergone abortion.
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