All signs point to anti-abortion ideologues on the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade outright in the coming weeks. If that happens, 26 states are certain or likely to move quickly to ban abortion, devastating abortion access across large parts of the country and causing potentially severe health, financial and emotional consequences for people, especially those in marginalized communities. 

 

Of those 26 states, 13 have laws in place that are designed to be “triggered” and take effect automatically or by quick state action if Roe no longer applies—Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. 

 

Some of these 26 states have multiple types of bans in place, including nine states with pre-Roe bans still on the books, and 11 states with early gestational age bans blocked by court orders. In states with multiple bans, state officials will determine which ban to enforce if Roe is overturned.  

 

Even with Roe still technically in place, Oklahoma in late May became the first state to fully ban abortion, with very limited exceptions, and all abortion providers in the state were forced to stop offering care. Texas has had an abortion ban in effect since September 2021, severely limiting care in the state. Both Oklahoma and Texas also have trigger bans in place. 

 

While all trigger bans have the same intent of banning abortion, their implementation mechanisms, timelines and other details differ. Also, most trigger bans include very limited exceptions, but those are difficult if not impossible for people seeking abortion to qualify for in real life, and mainly serve to make a draconian policy seem slightly less cruel.  

 
Bans that go into effect immediately if Roe is overturned 

 

1. Kentucky  

  • Enacted: 2019 
  • Mechanism: Goes into effect immediately without further action being required 
  • Penalty: Anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion service will be charged with a 4 Class D felony 
  • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or provider performs medical treatment that accidentally terminates a pregnancy  
  • Other abortion bans: Six-week ban (not currently in effect) 

 

2. Louisiana  

  • Enacted: 2006 
  • Mechanism: Goes into effect immediately without further action being required 
  • Penalty: Anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion service will be charged with a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fined between $10,000 and $100,000  
  • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger 
  • Other abortion bans: Six–week ban (not currently in effect), state constitution bars protection for abortion rights 

     

    3. South Dakota 

    • Enacted: 2005 
    • Mechanism: Goes into effect immediately without further action being required 
    • Penalty: Anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion service will be charged with a Class 6 felony 
    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger 
    • Other bans in South Dakota: None

     
    Bans that go into effect after 30 days if Roe is overturned 

     

    1. Idaho  

    • Enacted: 2020 

    • Mechanism: Goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned without further action being required 

    • Penalty: Anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion will be charged with a felony, punishable by two to five years in prison; any health care professional who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will have their license suspended for at least six months after a first offense and permanently revoked after a second offense  

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger, provider performs medical treatment that accidentally terminates a pregnancy, or pregnant person is a victim of rape or incest and has reported the incident to law enforcement 

    • Other abortion bans: Six-week ban (not currently in effect) 

     

    2. Tennessee  

    • Enacted: 2019 

    • Mechanism: Goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned without further action being required. 

    • Penalty: Anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion will be charged with a Class C felony  

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or at serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function 

    • Other abortion bans: Six-week ban (not currently in effect), state constitution bars protection for abortion rights 

     

    3. Texas 

    • Enacted: 2019 

    • Mechanism: Goes into effect 30 days after Roe is overturned without further action being required 

    • Penalty: Anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion will be charged with a first- or second-degree felony, and will be subject to a civil penalty of at least $100,000 for each violation  

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or at serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function  

    • Other abortion bans: Pre-Roe ban  

    • In effect: Six-week ban with enforcement through civil action (since Sept 1, 2021) 

     

    Bans that require a process step to implement if Roe is overturned  

     

    Seven states have a type of trigger ban that would go into effect after the state’s attorney general, governor or other specified official certifies that the central holding of Roe has been overturned in whole or in part. This certification process could be very quick, taking only hours or a couple of days, particularly now that the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion has provided ample notice that Roe is likely to be overturned. 

     

    1. Arkansas  

    • Enacted: 2019 

    • Mechanism: Certification by attorney general that the central holding of Roe has been overturned in whole or in part 

    • Penalty: Anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a felony punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, up to 10 years in prison or both  

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger  

    • Other abortion bans: Pre-Roe ban, near-total ban (not currently in effect)  

     

    2. Mississippi  

    • Enacted: 2007 

    • Mechanism: Certification by attorney general   

    • Penalty: Anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or the pregnant person is a victim of rape and has reported the incident to law enforcement  

    • Other abortion bans: Pre-Roe ban, six-week ban (not currently in effect) 

     

    3. Missouri 

    • Enacted: 2019 

    • Mechanism: Certification by attorney general   

    • Penalty: Anyone who performs an abortion will be charged with a class B felony, and their professional license may be suspended or revoked 

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or at serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function 

    • Other abortion bans: Eight-week ban (not currently in effect) 

     

    4. North Dakota 

    • Enacted: 2007 

    • Mechanism: Legislative Council approves a recommendation from attorney general that the abortion ban is constitutional 

    • Penalty: Anyone who performs an abortion will be charged with a Class C felony 

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or pregnant person is a victim of rape or incest

    • Other abortion bans: Six-week ban (not currently in effect), dilation and evacuation abortion method prohibited (takes effect 30 days after Roe is overturned) 

     

    5. Oklahoma 

    • Enacted: 2021 
    • Mechanism: Certification by attorney general
    • Penalty: Anyone who provides an abortion service will be charged with a felony punishable by two to five years in prison 
    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger ​
    • Other abortion bans: Pre-Roe ban, total ban (threatened loss of provider’s medical license), total ban (criminal penalties for provider), six-week ban (criminal penalties for provider), six-week ban (with enforcement through civil action) 
    • In effect: Total abortion ban with enforcement through civil action (since May 25, 2022) 

     

    6. Utah 

    • Enacted: 2020 

    • Mechanism: Legislative general counsel certifies that legislature can ban abortion 

    • Penalty: Anyone who performs an abortion will be charged with a second-degree felony  

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or at risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, lethal fetal abnormality is found, or pregnant person is a victim of rape or incest and has reported the incident to law enforcement  

    • Other abortion bans: Near-total ban (not currently in effect) 

     

    7. Wyoming 

    • Enacted: 2022 

    • Mechanism: Certification by governor, advised by attorney general within 30 days of the Supreme Court ruling 

    • Penalty: Anyone who violates the provision will be charged with a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison 

    • Exceptions: Pregnant person’s life is in danger or at risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, or pregnant person is a victim of rape or incest  

    • Other abortion bans in Wyoming: None