The New Abortion Battleground
58 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2022 Last revised: 26 Apr 2022
Date Written: February 11, 2022
This Article examines the paradigm shift that will occur if (and, likely, when) the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this coming summer. While most commentators are focusing on what a post-Roe world looks like within individual states, this Article examines the challenging legal issues that will arise across state borders and between the state and federal government. We emphasize how these issues intersect with innovations in the delivery of abortion, which can now occur entirely online and transcend state boundaries. The interjurisdictional abortion wars are coming, and this Article is the first to provide the roadmap for what lies ahead.
Judges and scholars have long claimed that abortion law will become simpler if Roe is overturned, but that is woefully naïve. Overturning Roe will create a novel world of complex, interjurisdictional legal conflicts over abortion. Some states will pass laws banning their citizens from out-of-state abortions while others will pass laws insulating their providers from out-of-state prosecutions. State legislatures are already introducing and drafting bills to this effect. The federal government will also stake a claim. Beyond promoting access to medication abortion, federal regulations may preempt state abortion bans and federal land could provide shelter for abortion services. Ultimately, once the constitutional protection for pre-viability abortion disappears, the impending battles over abortion access will transport the half-century war over Roe into a new arena, one that will make abortion jurisprudence more complex than ever before.
This Article is the first to offer insights into this fast-approaching transformation of abortion rights, law, and access. We explore the interjurisdictional issues sure to arise while looking ahead to creative strategies to promote abortion access in a country without a constitutional abortion right.
Funding Information: None to declare.
Declaration of Interests: None to declare.
Keywords: Roe, Dobbs, abortion, interjurisdictional, preemption, licensure, extraterritoriality
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