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What will happen in AL if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re getting new insight on what could be next for abortion laws in Alabama. It comes after the leaked draft opinion that appears to show the U.S. Supreme Court ready to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Abortion is still legal in Alabama. It’s performed at three clinics across the state. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion rights would be left up to each state.

In 2019, Alabama’s near total ban on abortions was signed into law. It’s a pre-Roe ban but was temporarily blocked by a federal judge. That law has a few exceptions but makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then most abortions would be banned.

Former federal judge John Carroll and Samford University law professor says if that happens then state lawmakers are likely going to act quickly.

“I think you will see states like Alabama and there are at least 26 others that are similar will do everything they can to make it virtually impossible to get an abortion,” Carroll said.

As far as the leak goes, Carroll says it’s not a good day for justice in America the way the leak occurred. Chief Justice John Roberts is investigating the leak.

That initial draft opinion could change. We’ll know for sure when the Supreme Court releases its decision in the next couple of months.

Some providers are concerned about maternal health in our state if that draft becomes an actual ruling.

The West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa provides abortions. Since January, the clinic has seen a 50% increase in patients. Half of those are from out of state according to director of operations Robin Marty.

Marty says if Roe is overturned, it means legal abortions will stop but she says some women may go far and wide to get an abortion. In some cases, women may turn to unsafe ones like self-induced or ones performed by non-physicians which can come with a lot of risk.

“They are going to try herbs. They are going to try things that could harm themselves but most of them are going to end up going the route of trying to obtain medication abortion online,” Marty said.

A study published last year in the Demography journal says banning abortion nationwide could lead to a 21% increase in pregnancy related deaths and a 33% increase among Black women.

Abortion opponents argue fewer abortions would save the lives of unborn children. Of course, this is a very divisive issue in Alabama, and those for and against are waiting to see what happens next.

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