Supreme Court: Overturning Roe v Wade exposes millions to risk of prosecution
US Supreme Court judges have voted by five to four to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, meaning that the legal right to abortion will no longer be guaranteed by the US constitution. The ruling will affect millions of women, trans men and non-binary people who seek abortions each year.
Fair Trials Global CEO, Norman L. Reimer, responded to the ruling:
“This ruling will expose millions of people across the United States to the risk of criminal prosecution, whether those seeking abortion, the individuals who support them and abortion providers. It will disproportionately impact women of color, and those from lower income groups who lack the means to travel to places where abortion is legal and safe.
“The ruling opens up a new front in the misguided use of prosecutorial power to address a personal issue that should be dealt with through investment in health, education and care, as well as respect for the privacy of the individual. Banning legal abortions will not reduce the numbers seeking abortions but will potentially criminalise millions.”
Up to 13 US states have passed ‘trigger laws’ that would lead to the almost total ban of legal abortions. Others are expected to pass laws in response to today’s ruling. As a 2021 report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) notes: “Roe v. Wade may be the only safeguard preventing the vast expansion of criminal liability in relation to pregnancy and the performance of an abortion.”
That safeguard no longer exists.