The abortion bans that were established in some states in the event that Roe v. Wade automatically went into effect on Friday, following the US Supreme Court ruling.
Clinics in states like Alabama, Texas, and West Virginia stopped performing abortions for fear of being prosecuted, causing patients to leave their facilities with tears in their eyes.
“Some patients collapsed and couldn’t speak between their sobs,” said Katie Quinonez, executive director of West Virginia’s only abortion clinic, whose staff called dozens of patients to cancel your appointments.
“Some patients were stunned and didn’t know what to say. Others didn’t understand what was happening.”
The United States was convulsed with anger, joy, fear, and confusion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
A protest in Denver, Colorado against the US Supreme Court ruling limiting abortion rights. Photo. AFP
The division in the United States on the right to termination of pregnancy became apparent: supporters of abortion rights described it as a dark day in history, while opponents of abortion described the ruling as the answer to their prayers.
The women who traveled to another state to terminate their pregnancy they found that, in some places, abortions stopped because of state laws that went into effect after the court’s decision or because of confusion about when those laws would go into effect.
By eliminating the constitutional right to abortion that has been in force for half a century, the Supreme Court leaves the resolution of this matter in the hands of the states politically charged, of which about half could ban the procedure.
Abortions stopped immediately in nine states. Providers in two other states, Oklahoma and South Dakota, had already suspended the procedure in the last month. Some 73 million people live in the 11 states where pregnancy cannot be terminated; that is, more than a fifth of the population of the United States.
Closed access in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, following protests over the abortion ruling. Photo: REUTERS
The reaction across the country predictably followed political trends.
The Democratic governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, a state where abortion is available with few restrictions, called the ruling a “war on women” and vowed to be a “brick wall” to help preserve the right.
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has vowed to seek a ban on abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a conservative Republican widely considered a possible 2024 presidential candidate, tweeted: “The Supreme Court has answered the prayers of millions and millions of Americans.”
The topic will certainly fuel the election season what is coming right now.
Both sides intend to use the issue to harangue their supporters and encourage them to vote.
“This country is lurching to the right, taking away rights. Voters are going to have to step in,” said Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.
Some states, such as Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri, had laws that went into effect as soon as Roe v. Wade stopped applying.
In Alabama, the state’s three abortion clinics stopped performing the procedure over fears the providers would now be prosecuted under a law dating back to 1951.
On Friday morning at the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, staff had to tell women in the waiting room that they couldn’t perform any more abortions that day. Some had come from as far away as Texas to make an appointment.
Pro-abortion activists, in an act in rejection of the decision of the US Court, in Portland, Oregon, this Friday. Photo: AFP
“A lot of them burst into tears. Can you imagine driving 12 hours to get this care in this state and not being able to do it?” clinic owner Dalton Johnson said.
Patients received a list of out-of-state places that still perform abortions.
Arizona’s abortion clinics have also stopped performing procedures as they try to figure out the extent to which a pre-1912 law means doctors and nurses now face prison sentences.
In Texas, providers didn’t know which law to follow: a 1925 ban, a 2021 law limiting abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy, or an automatic activation law that outright bans the procedure but won’t go into effect. force for a month or more.
The confusion caused them to suspend abortions while they do legal consultations.
Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton warned they could be prosecuted immediately for performing abortions under the Prohibition-era ban, which carries two to five years in prison.
An abortion room at a clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: REUTERS
The risk of being prosecuted for a 19th century provision that prohibits abortion and punishes it with jail was what led the West Virginia Women’s Health Center to stop performing the procedure.
For his part, the governor of West Virginia, Republican Jim Justice, assured that he will not hesitate to convene the Legislative Assembly for an extraordinary session if it is necessary to clarify the ban.
In Ohio, a federal judge has overturned an injunction, allowing a 2019 state law to go into effect that bans most abortions from the time the embryo’s first heartbeat is detected.
The Supreme Court ruling provoked strong reactions throughout the country.
Carol E. Tracy, executive director of the Women’s Law Project of Philadelphia, was “completely furious.”
Anti-abortion protesters celebrated the US Supreme Court ruling on Friday in Dayton, Ohio. Photo: REUTERS
“They want women to go back to being barefoot and pregnant,” he said. “But I have no doubt that like-minded women and men, and people in the LGBTQ community, who are also at great risk, … are going to fight. I think it’s going to be a long, hard fight.” .
Garrett Bess, who works at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said his group it will not stop pressuring states to restrict abortion.
“We will work with American citizens to ensure the protection of pregnant mothers and babies,” Bess said outside the Supreme Court. “This has been a long time coming, and it is a welcome decision.”
Opinion polls show that the majority of Americans are in favor of keeping abortion rights in force.
Among them is Alison Dreith, 41, an abortion activist from southern Illinois, where the governor has promised to maintain access to the procedure.
Dreith said she fears for the safety of abortion workers, especially those helping people from states where the procedure is banned.
Dreith works with the Midwest Action Coalition, which provides money for gas, child care and other relief measures. practical support to women who want to abort.
“I’m totally convinced they’re going to try to come after me. I’m not cut out to go to jail, but I’m ready,” she said, “and I’m like, ‘Come on.’ Do you want to pick that fight with me? I will defend myself”.