Americans face a new abortion landscape in the wake of the Roe decision

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A new and rapidly changing reality took hold across America on Saturday as abortion, a basic legal right for nearly half a century, was banned in some states, and the first outbursts of elation and shock of the overturning of Roe v. Wade gave way to action.

At abortion clinics across the country, providers hastily canceled appointments for fear of lawsuits, and stunned women abruptly planned to cross state lines to places where abortion was available. still allowed – traveling from Missouri to Illinois, Wisconsin to Minnesota.

In Arkansas, where a trigger law banning abortions went into effect Friday, 17 patients were scheduled to have abortions Friday at Little Rock Family Planning Services, but none were performed before the Supreme Court’s decision to end operations. About 30 other patients had been scheduled for an ultrasound and consultation that was required under previous Arkansas law before women could have abortions.

The Yellowhammer Fund, which is based in Alabama and provides financial support to women seeking abortions, has received an influx of calls over the past day from people confused about changing laws and seeking advice and money to travel elsewhere for abortions.

“People who had appointments for next week are no longer having appointments,” said Laurie Bertram Roberts, the fund’s executive director. “The person who manages the call line is very overwhelmed.”

Legal experts have faced a rapidly changing landscape of abortion laws. On the recently redrawn map of the United States that took shape on Saturday, abortion was banned in at least nine states, prompting conservative state officials to vow speedy enforcement. Liberal state and county prosecutors responded defiantly, saying they would not violate their own values ​​by pursuing criminal charges against doctors who performed abortions.

Protests continued to rock cities across the country. Americans have said they are preparing for a fight in the wake of the court’s ruling, whether it’s pushing for even more restrictions on abortion or working to elect politicians in the midterm elections. -mandate that promote the right to abortion.

“I fear for my child. I’m afraid she has no choice,” said Abbye Putterman, 36, who stood outside an abortion clinic in Overland Park, Kansas, on Saturday and spoke about the impact the decision could have on her 12-year-old child. the girl. “I feel like a whole bunch of white men are trying to decide what my daughter should do. These men don’t know anything about what it’s like to bear a child – what pregnancy does to your body .

Abortion is still legal in Kansas but was banned Friday in neighboring Missouri. In August, a ballot initiative will ask Kansas voters to decide whether the state Constitution should continue to protect abortion rights.

Ms Putterman was at the clinic to show her support for the women receiving services there, as anti-abortion protesters gathered outside.

“We don’t believe in moral compromise and we don’t want them to be guilty of murder,” said Valley Scharping, 26, who stood on the sidewalk. He was holding a sign that read “Love your unborn as yourself”.

On Saturday, President Biden discussed the Roe decision. “Jill and I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans,” he said, adding that the administration would focus on the states and “how they administer it and if they violate or not other laws”.

Some states imposed new abortion restrictions on Saturday, and others tried to speed up the deadlines for the bans to take place.

After the Supreme Court returned control of abortion restrictions to the states, at least nine states that are home to about 40 million people quickly implemented bans. Other abortion bans that had been passed in anticipation of a post-Roe legal landscape were making their way through the courts.

In Idaho, North Dakota and Texas, officials said they would wait the 30 days stipulated in their laws for their so-called trigger laws to come into effect, banning abortion.

In Ohio, a law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy took effect after a federal judge lifted an injunction that had blocked the law for the past three years. Gov. Mike DeWine reiterated his opposition to abortion on Friday, saying he believed “that the life of a human being is at stake and we have an obligation to protect that innocent life.”

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed a lawsuit in state court on Saturday seeking to block the state’s abortion ban, which went into effect on Friday. The lawsuit argues that the ban violates several protections in the state constitution, including the right to determine family composition. Planned Parenthood in the state said it must stop performing abortions immediately after the ban takes effect and must cancel 55 abortion appointments scheduled for next week unless temporary assistance is granted.

In many states, residents faced a confusing array of statements as local and state officials clashed over the legality of abortion restrictions and how they would be enforced.

In Tennessee, Herbert Slatery, the attorney general, filed an emergency motion on Friday asking a court to lift an injunction and allow an abortion ban after six weeks.

“After nearly 50 years, today’s decision gives the people of Tennessee a say in what the Court has called ‘a profound moral issue,'” he said in a statement.

But Glenn Funk, the Nashville district attorney, said in a statement that he would not prosecute doctors performing abortions or women who choose such a procedure.

“I will use my constitutional powers to protect women, health care providers and those who make personal health decisions,” he said.

Officials of Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, which was at the center of the case decided Friday by the Supreme Court, predicted that conservative activists would soon seek to limit rights related to birth control and same-sex marriage.

Diane Derzis, owner of the clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, said it will most likely remain open for 10 days after the Supreme Court ruling, before closing when new law is expected to take effect in that State.

“It started,” she said. “In the next few days, weeks, and years, you’ll see that half of the states don’t have abortion services. We continue to do services. We don’t go to bed.

In states where abortion remains legal, leaders have promised to strengthen protections.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a ‘joint commitment to reproductive freedom’, saying they would welcome people seeking abortions into their states and push back against efforts by other state governments to prosecute those who did.

Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, called for a special session for lawmakers to strengthen abortion rights, anticipating that women from other states would flock to Illinois for abortion services. .

At a Planned Parenthood clinic in Waukegan, Illinois, a few miles from the Wisconsin border, a group of about 20 anti-abortion protesters stood with signs and prayed on Saturday.

The clinic was opened in 2020 in anticipation of Roe’s cancellation and Wisconsin’s ban on abortions, said Mary Jane Maharry, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “We have enough staff to meet current needs and we are working to increase our staff to meet the projected increase of 20,000 to 30,000 additional out-of-state patients per year,” she said.

In Charleston, West Virginia, the state’s only abortion clinic has halted all appointments over fears that a 19th-century abortion ban could suddenly apply again after the Court supreme overturned Roe v. Wade.

One of the appointments had just been made Thursday by a 21-year-old pregnant woman in West Virginia who had weighed whether she was ready to have a child and decided she wasn’t.

On Friday, a clinic worker called to tell the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared her parents would disown her if they knew she was planning to have an abortion, that her appointment you would be canceled.

“When I went to bed, I had my appointment and everything was settled,” she said, “and then today is like before 1973.”

The report was provided by Nicolas Bogel-Burroughs, Aurelien Breeden, Robert Chiarito, Emily CochraneJimmie E. Gates, Carey Gillam, victoria kim and Erica Sweeney.

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