On Wednesday 1 December, the US Supreme Court signalled its readiness to restrict access to abortion by upholding a Mississippi law seeking to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It is a serious challenge to Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that constitutionally established a woman’s right to abortion before foetal viability at roughly 24 weeks. The court is likely to deliver its decision on whether to weaken or overturn Roe V Wade in June or July 2022.
The ruling could pave the way for abortion bans in 26 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which researches sexual and reproductive health.
Without the protections afforded by Roe, 21 states have laws or constitutional amendments already in place that would make them certain to quickly attempt to bring in abortion bans, according to the institute. These include Texas, Ohio, Georgia and Michigan, which are among the most populous states in the US. A further five states, including Florida and Indiana, are considered likely to ban abortion based on recent actions to restrict reproductive rights, their history or their political composition.
Other research from the Guttmacher Institute shows that nearly one in six US women of reproductive age (58 per cent) lives in a state hostile to abortion rights, up from 49 per cent in 2000. Twenty-one states are considered to be hostile or very hostile towards abortion compared to just four in 2000.