The abortion bans that were put on the books in some states in the case of Roe v. Wade’s rulings overturned automatically went into effect Friday, while clinics elsewhere, including Alabama, Texas and West Virginia, stopped performing abortions for fear of prosecution, sending women away in tears.

“Some patients just broke down and couldn’t speak through their sobs,” said Katie Quinonez, executive director of West Virginia’s only abortion clinic, whose staff spent the day calling dozens of patients to cancel their appointments. “Some patients were stunned and didn’t know what to say. Some patients didn’t understand what was going on.”

America convulsed with anger, joy, fear and confusion after the Supreme Court overruled Roe. The cannonball split in the US over the right to terminate a pregnancy was on full display, with abortion rights supporters calling it a dark day in history, while The enemies of abortion welcomed the ruling as the answer to their prayers..

Women who traveled across state lines to terminate a pregnancy were immediately frustrated in some places, as abortions were halted as a result of state laws that were triggered by the court decision or confusion over when those laws would come into force.

By stripping away the constitutional right to abortion that has stood for half a century, the high court made the issue politically charged. to the statesabout half of which are now likely to ban the procedure.

Abortions stopped immediately in eight states. Providers in two other states, Oklahoma and South Dakota, had already stopped performing the procedure last month. About 70 million people live in the 10 states where the procedure was not available, about a fifth of the US population.

The reaction across the country largely followed predictable political lines.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat in a state where abortions are available with few restrictions, called the ruling a “war on women” and vowed to cast herself as a “brick wall” to help preserve the law. Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has vowed to seek a ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a conservative Republican widely considered a possible candidate for president in 2024, tweeted: “The Supreme Court has answered the prayers of millions and millions of Americans.”

The problem is certain to intensify in the fall election season. Both sides intend to use the issue to energize supporters and get them to vote.

“This country is lurching to the right, taking away rights. Voters are going to have to step in,” said Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the majority leader in the US House of Representatives.

Some states, including Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri, had “trigger law” bans on the books that went into effect as soon as Roe fell.

In Alabama, the state’s three abortion clinics stopped performing the procedure over fears the providers would now face prosecution under a law dating back to 1951.

At the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, staff had to tell women in the waiting room Friday morning that they couldn’t perform any more abortions that day. Some had come from as far away as Texas for a date.

“A lot of them just started breaking down crying. Can you imagine if you had driven 12 hours to get this care in this state and you couldn’t? clinic owner Dalton Johnson said. Patients were given a list of out-of-state places that still perform abortions.

Abortion providers in Arizona have also stopped performing procedures as they try to determine whether a law dating to pre-statehood days, before 1912, means doctors and nurses will now face prison terms.

In Texas, providers were wondering which law they had to follow: a 1925 ban, a 2021 law limiting abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy, or a trigger law that bans the procedure altogether but would not go into effect. Valid for a month or more. plus. The confusion led them to suspend abortions while they seek legal advice.

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has warned they could face immediate prosecution for performing abortions under the Prohibition-era ban, which carries two to five years in prison.

It was the risk of prosecution under a 19th-century prison ban on abortion that led the West Virginia Women’s Health Center to stop performing the procedure.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, said he won’t hesitate to call the Legislature back into special session if the ban needs to be clarified.

The ruling of the high court provoked strong reactions throughout the country.

Carol E. Tracy, executive director of the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia, was “absolutely furious.”

“They want women to go back to being barefoot and pregnant,” she said. “But I have no doubt that like-minded women and men, and people in the LGBTQ community, who are also at great risk, … are going to fight back. I think it’s going to be a long and hard fight.”

Garrett Bess, who works with a lobbying arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said his group will continue to push states to restrict abortion.

“We will work with grassroots Americans to ensure the protection of expectant mothers and babies,” Bess told the Supreme Court. “This has been a long time coming, and it is a welcome decision.”

Opinion polls show that most Americans are in favor of preserving Roe.

They include Alison Dreith, 41, an abortion activist in southern Illinois, where the governor has promised to keep the procedure accessible. She said she fears for the safety of abortion workers, especially those helping people from states where the procedure is banned.

Dreith works with the Midwest Action Coalition, which offers gas money, child care and other practical support to women seeking abortions.

“I absolutely believe that they will try to persecute me. I’m not cut out for prison, but I’m ready,” she said, “and I say, ‘Let’s do this.’ Do you want to start that fight with me? I am fighting back.”


AP reporters from across the United States contributed to this report. Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at


To see AP’s full coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion, go to

Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.