Alabama’s governor signed into a law the nation’s most restrictive abortion bill. The bill’s sponsors said the goal is to create a court case to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
For that to happen, a lawsuit would need to be filed against it, which groups opposing the law said they plan to file. A lawsuit is the beginning. From there, the case would be heard at the district level. The loser would then have to file an appeal, sending the case to federal court. Then, they would have to ask the Supreme Court to take the case.
Lewis and Clark College law professor Tung Yin said that process could take years.
“The Supreme Court doesn't have to accept the case. They accept about maybe 80 cases a year out of maybe 7,000 or so where people are asking for it to be heard, so the chances aren't great,” Yin explained. “Although, you know, this would be a wide-ranging issue, so maybe the court would be more willing to take it.”
If the Supreme Court overturns the 46-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling, more than a dozen states could move quickly to ban abortion.
“There would be severe effects in some states, but there would be no change in other states such as Oregon,” Yin said.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, six states have so-called trigger laws that would automatically ban abortion if Roe versus is tossed out: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Nine other states still have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books that aren’t enforced: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
However, ten have enacted laws to protect abortion rights if Roe is overturned: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Washington.
“For the rest of the country, in states that aren't passing these sorts of laws, even if at the end of the process the Supreme Court says, ‘We changed our mind. Roe is overruled,’ it doesn't mean abortion is unlawful. All it would mean is there's no protected constitutional right to it,” Yin said.