Who could be most affected by changes to US abortion laws?
Este piece from BBC Reality check looks at those most likely to be impacted by any change.
Limiting abortion access would disproportionately impact younger women, poorer women and African-American women, as these groups are more likely to seek an abortion, according to official data.
The majority of women having abortions in the US are in their 20s.
Rachel Jones, a senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group told the BBC:
The typical abortion patient is in their 20s, doesn’t have a lot of money and has one or more children.
Research by the institute has shown that 75% of women in the US who have an abortion are classified as low income or poor (based on official US poverty definitions).
Dr Antonia Biggs, a researcher at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health says:
Structural inequities – including living on low incomes and limited access to health insurance – all contribute to the higher rates of abortions among people of colour.
Black people make up 13% of the US population, but black women receive more than a third of the country’s reported abortions and Hispanic women about a fifth.
As abortion bans proliferate in states around the US, some state legislatures are likely to go even further than just ending abortion in their jurisdictions – taking aim at the growing numbers of people seeking procedures and medications out of state, experts warn.
If the supreme court weakens or overturns Roe v Wade – the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion – in an upcoming decision on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, states will be left with a confusing patchwork of laws that will likely lead to legal challenges.
A fresh wave of restrictions will probably center around patients who leave their state to obtain legal abortions in other states, or who order medications to manage their abortions at home.
Lawmakers in Missouri weighed legislation early this year that would allow individuals to sue anyone helping a patient cross state lines for an abortion. The law was ultimately blocked in the state’s legislature, but experts expect such legislation to gain more support if Roe is weakened or overturned.
David Cohen, professor at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law and lead author of a forthcoming articles on cross-state legal issues that could arise in the abortion context. said:
I think states are not going to rest with just saying ‘there won’t be abortions in our state.’ I think they’re going to want to ban abortion for their citizens as much as they can, which would mean stopping them from traveling
We’re going to see state-against-state battles that are really going to divide this country even deeper on this issue.
Read the full story here:
in the UK a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that Britain supports the right for women to have access to safe and legal abortions
After being asked about the possible move by the US Supreme Court to overturn a decision legalizing abortion, the spokesman said:
My understanding is this comes from a leaked document rather than an official decision and of course, as you’d expect, it’s a matter for the US courts in general.
The UK fully supports women’s reproductive rights globally … including the right to access safe and legal abortion.
A lot of ongoing shock and surprise at the leaking of the US supreme court’s draft decision on Roe v Wade.
Neal Katyal, who has argued dozens of cases before the court and as a young lawyer worked for Justice Stephen Breyer, compared the apparent leak to The New York Times’ 1971 publication of the government’s secret history of the Vietnam War, known as the Pentagon Papers .
Katyal wrote on Twitter:
This is the equivalent of the pentagon papers leak, but at the Supreme Court. I’m pretty sure there has never ever been such a leak. And certainly not in the years I’ve been following the Supreme Court.
Only a handful of people have access to decisions before they’re published, which – usually – makes the Supreme Court watertight.
That group includes only the justices themselves and the small group who work for them, the young lawyers who work for the justices as clerks for a year. They all sign pledges of confidentiality.
Still, there have been leaks before, though perhaps not of this magnitude.
In fact, as CNN’s Sara Sidner points out – the original Roe V Wade decision was also leaked, a few hours before it was published:
this story from the Washington Post has the fascinating story behind that.
Voices on both sides of the political divide in the US have reacted with shock to the leak of the US supreme court’s draft decision on Roe v Wade. Here is a selection:
Alexis McGill-Johnson Planned Parenthood president
This leaked opinion is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears … While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating, and comes just as anti-abortion rights groups unveil their ultimate plan to ban abortion nationwide … [W]e will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion.
Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state
This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, and lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law. It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace.
Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senator
An extremist supreme court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back, not ever.
Ken PaxtonRepublican Texas attorney general
I hope that Scotus returns the question of abortion where it belongs: the states. This is why I led a 24-state coalition in support of MS’s law banning them after 15 wks. I’ll [continue] to ensure that TX protects the unborn and pray for the end of abortion across our nation.
Tom Cotton, Republican senator
The supreme court and the DoJ must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary. In the meantime, Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning and I pray the court follows the constitution and allows the states to once again protect unborn life.
Josh Hawley, republican senator
The left continues its assault on the supreme court with an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate. The justices mustn’t give in to this attempt to corrupt the process. Stay strong. I will say, if this is the court’s opinion, it’s a heck of an opinion. Voluminously researched, tightly argued, and morally powerful.
Find more reaction here:
If you are just catching up with the news this morning, this explainer my colleague Archie Bland is extremely useful:
The Supreme Court is possessed to overturn the most fundamental rulings in US law that enshrined the right to abortion nationwideaccording to a leaked draft opinion.
The draft opinion, reported by Politician late on Monday night, seeks to strike down the landmark Roe v Wade 1973 ruling and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v Casey – that largely upheld the right to abortion.
Justice Samuel Alito – a George W. Bush nominee – wrote the opinion and it was signed by four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. While the ruling is not final and could change, that gives it a majority on the nine-member court.
Questions have been raised around the authenticity of the leak, which would be the most serious breach in the court’s history. The supreme court and the White House have declined to comment.
However, the draft opinion runs 98 pages, including a 31-page appendix of historical state abortion laws, and includes 118 footnotes and legal experts have suggested it looks legitimate.
Alexis McGill-Johnson the president of Planned Parenthood, said the leaked opinion “is horrifying and unprecedented, and it confirms our worst fears.” Hillary Clinton described it as an “utter disgrace.”
Good morning, and welcome to the US Live Blog. We will be with you today to cover this critical moment in US history.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism