Home » What does ‘overturn Roe v. Wade’ mean?

What does ‘overturn Roe v. Wade’ mean?

by Narges Mohammadi

Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, was overturned Friday by the Supreme Court, and states can now ban abortion.

Constitutional protections for abortion had been in place for nearly 50 years before the Court overturned the decision Friday. Here’s what you need to know about what it means for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

Roe v. Wade: What does being “overturned” mean?

Simply put, Roe v. Wade overturned means there is no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion. States now have sole authority to determine if and when an abortion is legal. Friday’s outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, according to the Associated Press.

How many states ban abortion?

As of right now, 22 states have either made abortions illegal or had “trigger laws” in case Roe v. Wade was ever overturned by the Supreme Court, meaning they can ban abortion within 30 days. Four others are likely to ban abortion as soon as possible.

Most laws do not criminalize the woman seeking abortions, but rather the providers or those assisting the pregnant women seeking abortions.

However, depending on the state, that may change.

Is it legal for a woman to cross state lines to have an abortion?

Currently, a woman legally can cross state lines to receive an abortion. It is unknown whether state legislatures would pass laws to make that more difficult. New Jersey abortion providers and private donors say they are prepared to accept patients traveling from out of state, which has already begun.

How will abortion laws be enforced?

It depends on the state. In Texas, there is a law on the books that allows civil lawsuits against providers and others that help pregnant women get abortions. Other laws make it a crime and can charge abortion providers with a felony.

New Jersey already preserved the legal right for women and girls to get an abortion in a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law earlier this year. It came in the wake of fears among the governor and Democratic-controlled Legislature that Roe v. Way would be overturned, but Murphy has since pushed for additional abortion reforms.

“In New Jersey, women will always have full autonomy over their own bodies and the right to make their own medical decisions,” Murphy said.

Murphy blasted the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, calling it “backwards and appalling.”


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