If Roe v. Wade is overturned, pre-Civil War abortion laws will be reinstated.
This term, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on a Mississippi abortion statute, in a case that could have far-reaching repercussions for abortion rights across the country—and could see laws from the nineteenth century reinstated.
The 6-3 conservative majority court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will be urged to reverse the famous Roe V. Wade judgment from 1973 and the subsequent decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The Mississippi case involves a 15-week abortion restriction, but it has gained even more significance because the Supreme Court declined to give a stay of Texas’ notorious six-week ban on practically all abortions in a 5-4 decision.
The primary concern for proponents of abortion rights is whether the conservative majority will opt to overturn Roe and allow states to enact stringent abortion legislation.
The Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that a constitutional right to abortion exists before the fetus is viable outside the womb. States’ laws prohibiting abortion become invalid and unenforceable as a result of this ruling.
Eight states, however, still have laws in place that prohibit and penalize abortion in various ways, including allowing for prison penalties for those who assist in abortions. Two of the statutes were enacted prior to the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865.
Someone who “willfully administers to any pregnant woman any drug or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means to induce an abortion, miscarriage, or premature delivery, or aids, abets, or prescribes for the same, unless the same is necessary to preserve her life or health and dons, abets, or prescribes for the same, unless the same is necessary to preserve her life or health and dons, abets, or prescribes for the same, unless
Another unenforced law in West Virginia was adopted in 1848 and is still in effect today. “Any person who shall administer to, or cause to be administered to, a woman any drug or other thing, or use any means, with the intent to destroy her unborn child, or to produce abortion or miscarriage, and shall thereby destroy such child, or produce such abortion or miscarriage, shall be guilty,” according to the law. This is a condensed version of the information.