How New Abortion Bills Plan To Overthrow Roe v. Wade
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Alabama, Georgia And Ohio Think They Can Overthrow Roe v. Wade, But Their Success Is Unlikely

But it's not gonna happen.

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So a bunch of states lately have been signing bills into laws with the intention to overthrow the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe. v. Wade.

Though it's specifically stated in the language of these documents, a state's ruling cannot overrule the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. So by intentionally enacting legislation that contradicts the predetermined decision of the Supreme Court, states like Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio are using their government to provoke the Supreme Court to retry the existing ruling.

On May 7th, 2019, Governor Brian Kemp signed Georgia's "heartbeat bill" which would ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected. This legislation immediately became disputed since a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks, long before many women know they're pregnant. A fetus may also be aborted if the pregnancy is determined to be "medically futile," which means the fetus has "a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth." This law enforces criminal punishment for abortions performed outside of these qualifications.

This is a direct violation of the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey's undue burden standard; in that it places too many provisions on what has already been determined as a fundamental right. Since the law so wildly contradicts current abortion standards, it is clear the abortion ban is part of a long-term goal to gain an audience with the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of Roe v. Wade.


On May 15th, 2019, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed the "most extreme abortion ban since Roe v. Wade," according to Planned Parenthood. This law would permit abortions only if the mother's life is at risk or if the fetus cannot survive—with no other exceptions. This bill also holds doctors criminally responsible for performing abortions outside of these standards, at a felony charge.

Governor Ivey went as far as to publicly state her disagreement with the Roe ruling, stating that pushing the Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling was a major reason legislators pursued the law. "The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur," Ivey stated. The strictness of this bill without regard to the undue burden standard directly contradicts federal abortion standards, which serve to illuminate the covert intention behind the new legislation: to conceivably gain an audience with the Supreme Court and attempt to overturn the preexisting rule of Roe v. Wade.


On April 12th, 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation that would ban abortion upon detection of a fetal heartbeat, similar to Georgia's "heartbeat bill." Ohio had attempted to pass several heartbeat bills in the past, but all of them were deemed unconstitutional and subsequently vetoed. Like Georgia's bill, Ohio's legislation permits abortion to "prevent the death of the pregnant woman" or in cases where there is "a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman." Physicians who perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or who fail to check for a heartbeat, would be guilty of a fifth-degree felony and face lawsuits for civil damages.

Like Georgia and Alabama's legislation, the intent to confront the Supreme Court is no secret. State Representative Ron Hood states in an interview with Ohio Public Radio, "Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, we are counting on it. We're counting on it. We're excited about it." Ohio is but another state to pass aggressive abortion legislation to gain the attention of the United States Supreme Court.


In order to successfully reverse the Roe v. Wade ruling, the Supreme Court would have to go back on its 1973 ruling and readdress the United State Constitution's role in a woman's fundamental right to an abortion. The justices would then have to rule that the interpretation of the law in Roe was mistaken and offer a new interpretation of the Constitution. A historic case like Roe v. Wade is so well-known, that it would take a significant amount of contrasting evidence for the court to decide to overturn it entirely—rather than just make incremental changes. It is more likely that Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio's bills will serve to chip away gradually at Roe and Casey without outright overturning it.


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