The consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the right to abortion cascaded across the country on Saturday, as millions of Americans began to grapple with one of the swiftest, most expansive transformations to reproductive rights in 50 years.
As more trigger laws banning abortion took effect, the country was rapidly sorting into two — a half where abortion was still legal, and a half where it was now outlawed or severely restricted.
After the Supreme Court handed control over abortion restrictions back to the states, at least nine states that are home to roughly 40 million people quickly put bans in place. Other abortion prohibitions that had been passed in anticipation of this post-Roe legal landscape were working their way through the courts.
In Ohio, a law outlawing abortion if a fetus has detectable cardiac activity took effect after a federal judge lifted an injunction that had blocked the law for the past three years. In Tennessee, the attorney general made an emergency motion asking a federal appeals court to allow the state to immediately begin enforcing its abortion ban, rather than wait 30 days for the law to take effect.
As abortion providers in heavily populated states like Texas and Arizona announced they were halting services amid legal confusion and looming bans, women began an urgent hunt for other options. Women in remote, rural parts of the Midwest and South, where the closest abortion clinic might now be hundreds of miles away, faced the prospect of expensive trips across state lines.
Thousands of people angry over the court’s action marched through cities across the country on Friday night, condemning what they called a cruel ruling that would endanger women’s lives and economic status, and fall heaviest on poor women and racial minorities.
But anti-abortion groups celebrated the court’s decision as one that would save millions of lives, and called it the culmination of a half-century of activism and organizing.
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