A U.S. Supreme Court decision next year that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling would result in 21 states banning abortion due to laws or constitutional amendments already in place, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice organization.
That number, though, likely would grow to 26 due to the political climate in an additional five states.
The high court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a challenge to Mississippi's law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law is unconstitutional under the legal framework of Roe and its companion decisions, which legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. A decision is expected next year, possibly as late as June.
Based solely on oral arguments, six of the nine justices seemed ready to uphold the law, and five of the justices appeared open to overturning Roe.
The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that compiles data on the abortion issue, says in a new analysis that "21 states have laws or constitutional amendments already in place that would make them certain to attempt to ban abortion as quickly as possible" if Roe were overturned.
Nine states have pre-Roe laws still on the books banning abortion: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Twelve states have "trigger" laws that are designed to ban abortion and only go into effect if Roe is overturned: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. (Some states have multiple types of bans in place.)
Four states that don't have pre-Roe laws or trigger laws nevertheless have six-week abortion bans that would go into effect: Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina.
An additional five states, Guttmacher said, likely would pass major abortion restrictions if Roe is overturned. Those are Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.