An abortion rights group is warning its supporters that as many as 23 states could pass laws banning abortion if the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade were to ever be overturned.
The Center for Reproductive Rights announced on Nov. 22 that it has updated its digital map “What if Roe fell?” that tracks the likelihood of states, the District of Columbia, and the American territories passing pro-life legislation. Each was listed under one of four categories: “expanded access,” “protected,” “not protected,” and “hostile.”
According to the map, 24 states fell under the “hostile” category: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Of those 24, the pro-abortion group said 23 of the states “will likely try to prohibit abortion” should Roe be overturned, citing current state laws and regulations.
Regarding Pennsylvania, the 24th state listed as “hostile,” the Center for Reproductive Rights said it believes abortion “will likely remain accessible” due to the current pro-choice Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, but the procedure will be “without legal protection.”
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that she believes the digital map “shows the devastating landscape of abortion access if Roe is weakened or overturned.”
“We have analyzed the laws and constitutional protections of every state. This tool is a call to action to pass state and federal laws protecting abortion rights and abortion access,” Northup added.
The map also listed 14 states that have official legal protections for abortion: Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
It also noted seven states that have expanded access and legal protections for abortion: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
In 2018, the Center for Reproductive Rights released a report arguing that if Roe were overturned, 22 states would likely ban abortion, and labeled those states as being where "the right to abortion is at the highest risk of loss."
However, some pro-life groups and activists, among them Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric J. Scheidler, have said such reports are exaggerated.
In an interview with The Christian Post last year, Scheidler said he believed “only a couple of states with extremely conservative legislatures might even attempt something like a total ban on abortion.”
“[It's] far more likely that states would seek to further restrict abortion, in line with the view of most Americans, with measures like banning late-term abortion and holding abortion facilities to the highest health and safety standards,” he told CP last year.
“I'd expect to see the U.S. Supreme Court uphold greater restrictions on abortion than we've seen so far, such as the bans on abortion after 20 weeks that have been passed in some states.”
Since the confirmations of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, many have speculated that the high court will overturn the controversial Roe decision.
This has led multiple pro-life leaning states to pass measures that place stricter regulations on the abortion industry and pro-choice-leaning states to codify the Roe decision in their state laws.