Laws banning abortions remain on books in Massachusetts, R.I.
President Donald Trump’s appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has raised the prospect that a new conservative court majority might consider overturning or weakening the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion.
Four states — Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota — already have laws designed to prohibit most abortions if the Roe ruling were overturned.
Several other states have laws adopted before the Roe ruling that ban many abortions and that have not been removed from their statutes. It’s unclear whether those laws automatically would take effect if the Roe precedent were overturned. Some state courts also have ruled that abortion rights are protected under their state’s constitution.
Here’s a look at some states with old abortion laws still on the books or with newer laws that could be triggered if Roe were reversed:
MASSACHUSETTS: Imposes sentences of up to seven years in prison and fines up to $2,000 for providing any “noxious thing” or using an instrument with the “intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman.” The abortion ban dates to 1845.
RHODE ISLAND: A 1973 law, enacted just a couple of months after the Roe ruling, imposes prison sentences of one to seven years for using an instrument or providing a “noxious thing” with the “intent to procure the miscarriage of any pregnant woman,” unless necessary to preserve her life.
MICHIGAN: Makes it a felony to use an instrument or administer any substance with the intent “to procure the miscarriage” of a woman unless necessary to preserve her life. The abortion ban dates to a 1931 law.
WEST VIRGINIA: Imposes prison sentences of three to 10 years for using any means on a woman intended to “destroy her unborn child or to produce abortion or miscarriage,” unless done to save the woman’s life. The law dates to 1882.
WISCONSIN: Creates a felony for anyone other than the pregnant woman “who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child,” unless performed by a physician when necessary to save the woman’s life. Though the law has changed over time, the abortion ban dates to at least 1849.