US states announce plans to ban abortion after court ruling

Abortion rights advocates protest outside the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 24, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Some US states moved quickly to ban abortion on Friday (June 24), with Missouri’s attorney-general tweeting a photo of himself signing off on the prohibition less than two hours after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to the procedure.

The Midwestern conservative state became the first US state to ban abortion, but it will not be the last, with South Dakota and Indiana also announcing that they will take steps to do so and abortion providers in Wisconsin saying the procedure was now banned there.

“Missouri has just become the first in the country to effectively end abortion,” state Attorney-General Eric Schmitt said on Twitter. “This is a monumental day for the sanctity of life.”

The Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion gives all 50 states the freedom to ban the procedure.

Nearly half are expected to do so in some form, with 13 states – mainly in the more conservative and religious south – relying on so-called “trigger” laws which come into force virtually automatically.

South Dakota’s Republican governor Kristi Noem announced on Friday that such a law meant abortion had become illegal in her state.

“South Dakota’s trigger law... provides that as of today, all abortions are illegal in South Dakota ‘unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female',” a statement from her office said.

The Republican governor also called for a special session later this year of the state legislature to focus on helping mothers affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Indiana governor Eric Holcomb said that he had called lawmakers to meet on July 6.

“I have been clear in stating I am pro-life. We have an opportunity to make progress in protecting the sanctity of life, and that’s exactly what we will do,” he tweeted.

And local media in Wisconsin reported that top abortion provider Planned Parenthood was turning patients scheduled for abortions away from waiting rooms, “as abortion is now illegal” in the state.

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