August 8, 2022

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US Supreme Court ruling triggers rush of new restrictions on abortion

2 min read

Just minutes after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade, Eric Schmitt, the attorney-general of Missouri, proclaimed that his state would be the first to ban abortion after the landmark ruling on Friday.

In reality, such bans automatically took effect in multiple states after the ruling, thanks to laws previously passed by their state legislatures that were meant to come into effect if Roe were ever knocked down.

Doctors, campaigners and politicians on both sides of the US abortion debate have been planning for this moment for years. In 13 states, lawmakers have passed so-called “trigger bans”, laws to outlaw abortion should Roe ever be overturned. Another 13 are likely to pass their own bans in the coming weeks.

Many abortion providers in states where the law was due to change had already stopped seeing patients in recent days or begun planning to move across state borders. In other places where they expect the law to change within weeks, providers face a dash to put into place contingency plans for patients who have been lining up in recent weeks to receive treatment.

“We saw our last patient in Missouri last week,” Dr Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood in the St Louis region, said hours after the Supreme Court ruling.

“I have fielded calls from colleagues across the state hoping to get their patients onto Illinois schedules in the coming days,” she added. “And this is just in the moments after the decision.”

In three states — Louisiana, Kentucky and South Dakota — the trigger bans were designed to go into place automatically without any further intervention from state officials. Another three — Arkansas, Wyoming and Mississippi — require a final sign-off from a governor or attorney-general for their bans to be enforceable.

Even before Arkansas’ attorney-general gave the go-ahead on Friday afternoon, the state’s Planned Parenthood group announced it would no longer provide abortions.


2022-06-24 17:48:30

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