Health

Live updates | Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON — GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization says he’s “concerned and disappointed” about the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter that the ruling was “both reducing women’s rights and access to health care.”

He said there was “irrefutable” evidence that restricting legal abortions can drive women and girls to unsafe and sometimes deadly procedures.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that abortion is “a fundamental right for all women” that must be protected.

The French Foreign Ministry urged U.S. federal authorities “to do everything possible” to ensure American women can have continued access to abortion, calling it “a health and survival issue for young girls and women.”

KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— The U.S. Supreme Court ends nearly 50 years o f constitutional protection for abortion.

Biden vows to fight for abortion rights, criticizes ‘extreme’ court.

— Many states have already taken steps to curtail abortion.

— Fears are voiced over possible rollback of LGBTQ and other rights.

Follow AP’s coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortions: https://apnews.com/hub/abortion

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Abortion providers across Arizona halted procedures Friday as they try to determine whether a law dating to pre-statehood days means their personnel could face prison time after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The possibility of prosecutions was just too risky, said Brittany Forteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona.

She said the state’s largest abortion provider is working with its attorneys to “understand Arizona’s tangled web of conflicting laws.”

At least two other large providers in Tucson and Phoenix followed suit.

At issue is a law that dates to at least 1901, 11 years before Arizona became a state. It subjects anyone who provides abortion care to a possible two to five years in prison. Republicans in the state Senate believe the pre-Roe law is enforceable.

Another law, signed in March by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, bans the procedure after 15 weeks. It takes effect in about 90 days.

A spokesperson for Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich says Brnovich’s office is studying the matter.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Abortions swiftly came to a stop in Alabama as a 2019 state abortion ban took effect making it a felony to perform an abortion at any state of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest victims.

All three clinics in the state stopped providing services Friday morning after a federal judge granted the state’s request to lift an injunction and allow the state to enforce the ban, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The only exception to the state’s abortion ban is for the sake of the mother’s health.

Gov. Kay Ivey praised the Supreme Court decision.

“I could not be more proud as a governor, a Christian and a woman to see this misguided and detrimental decision overturned,” Ivey said. “Alabama will continue standing up for our unborn babies, our mothers and our families.”

At the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, Alabama, the staff had to tell women who had traveled from as far away as Texas that they couldn’t have abortions.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Department of Health on Friday notified the state’s two abortion providers that its ban on the procedure had taken effect under a law triggered by the Supreme Court ruling. The law bans abortions except to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

The notices advise the facilities that performing an abortion in violation of the law is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Planned Parenthood said it would no longer be able to offer abortions at its Little Rock facility. Before the ban took effect, Planned Parenthood offered medication abortion but not surgical abortions at the facility. Another clinic, Little Rock Family Planning Services, offered surgical abortions at its facility.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Jeffrey Hons of Planned Parenthood South Texas said the group’s abortion services in Texas have been “paused” statewide as they await guidance from their attorneys.

The announcement comes Friday, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right established in Roe v. Wade to terminate a pregnancy. The issue reverts to the states, many of which have taken steps to curtail or ban abortions.

A website affiliated with Planned Parenthood is advising that it is legal to travel out of state to get an abortion.

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WASHINGTON – Mayor Muriel Bowser declared Friday that abortion remains legal in the nation’s capital despite the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“We are a pro-choice city,” she said at news conference held at the local branch of Planned Parenthood. “Nothing has changed in Washington, D.C.”

But Bowser cautioned that the district is vulnerable because it is not a state and Congress retains oversight over it.

She pledged to continue fighting “to make sure we remain a safe city for abortion care and a legal city for abortion care.”

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Democratic governors of California, Washington and Oregon on Friday vowed to protect reproductive rights and help women who travel to the West Coast seeking abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“California, Oregon and Washington are building the West Coast offense to protect patients’ access to reproductive care,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video statement announcing the states’ plans along with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The three states issued a joint “multi-state commitment” saying they will work together to defend patients and medical professionals providing reproductive health care.

They also pledged to “protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out of-state investigations, inquiries, and arrests” regarding abortions performed in their states.

The liberal West Coast states anticipate an influx of people seeking abortions, especially as neighboring conservative states move to outlaw or greatly restrict the procedure.

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NEW YORK – Former President Donald Trump is taking credit for the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned a landmark case making abortion legal throughout the United States nearly 50 years ago.

In a statement, Trump called the ruling “the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation.”

He says the rulings and others “were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. It was my great honor to do so!”

Three of the justices voting Friday in favor of scrapping Roe v. Wade were Trump appointees: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden says people should be peaceful when protesting the Supreme Court opinion Friday that would allow states to ban abortion.

Biden says he knows many Americans are “frustrated and disillusioned” by the court decision. But “violence is never acceptable.”

“Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form, regardless of your rationale,” he said.

Earlier this month, after a draft of the court opinion was leaked, a man carrying a gun, a knife and zip ties was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland after threatening to kill the justice.

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is warning that Supreme Court opinion that overturns access to abortion could undermine contraception and gay marriage rights.

The president objects to a concurring opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who explicitly called on his colleagues to put the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage, gay sex and even contraception cases on the table.

Biden says, “This is an extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on.”

Thomas was part of the majority overturning Roe v Wade.

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SANTA FE, N.M. – A top public prosecutor in New Mexico, where abortion is available with little or no restriction, is urging lawmakers to approve legislation that would protect women who travel to the state for abortion procedures.

Albuquerque-based District Attorney and Democratic nominee for attorney general Raúl Torrez in a statement Friday urged lawmakers to take further steps to protect women and their access to abortions and reproductive health care, including visitors from other states.

Last year, New Mexico state lawmakers repealed a dormant 1969 statute that outlawed most abortion procedures. Democrats who control the New Mexico Legislature support access to abortion, as does the state’s Democratic governor.

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. – The only abortion clinic in West Virginia is no longer performing abortions as of Friday.

The state has a law on the books that makes providing abortions a felony carrying three to 10 years of prison time. It’s unclear how the state will proceed on enforcement in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“Roe has never been enough, but in states like West Virginia, it was the only thing protecting abortion access,” said Katie Quinonez, executive director of Women’s Health Center of West Virginia.

She says West Virginians will be forced to travel hundreds or thousands of miles away from home to access health care and that marginalized communities will be hurt the most.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Republican Gov. Jim Justice applauded the high court’s decision Friday. Justice said he “will not hesitate” to call the Legislature into a special session if the state abortion law needs to be clarified.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will work to protect and advance reproductive freedom.”

Merrick said in a statement that the agency would protect providers and those seeking abortions in states where it is legal. He also said he would stand by the approved use by the Food and Drug Administration of the drug Mifepristone for medication abortions.

More than 90% of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

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BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion that he said is intended to protect access to reproductive health care services in Massachusetts.

The order prohibits state agencies from assisting another state’s investigation into a person or business for receiving or delivering reproductive health services that are legal in Massachusetts. Friday’s outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in about half the states.

The order also protects Massachusetts providers who deliver reproductive health care services from losing their professional licenses or receiving other professional discipline based on potential out-of-state charges.

Under the executive order, the state will not cooperate with extradition requests from other states pursuing criminal charges against individuals who received, assisted with, or performed reproductive health services that are legal in Massachusetts.

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RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is an abortion rights supporter and this year’s chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. He said Friday, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sharply limits abortion, that North Carolina women will still be able to obtain reproductive health care in the state.

“For 50 years, women have relied on their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions, but today that right has been tragically ripped away,” Cooper said in a news release.

The North Carolina legislature is controlled by Republicans, but they lack veto-proof majorities should they attempt to pass additional abortion restrictions now. Cooper put out a fundraising appeal Friday citing the decision in urging assistance to prevent the GOP from obtaining veto-proof majorities in November.

All 170 legislative seats are on the fall ballot. Cooper urged donors to contribute to campaigns to help elect Democrats.

“Democratic governors are the last line of defense against these types of extreme bills,” he said in a separate fundraising email. “What it comes down to is this: Reproductive rights are fundamental, and we will not go back.”

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The state of Missouri is acting quickly to enforce a state law banning abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively limits abortion rights for millions of women.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he was acting immediately to enforce a state law banning abortion except in “cases of medical emergency.”

The 2019 Missouri law included a trigger provision making effective upon notification by the attorney general that the Supreme Court had overruled Roe v. Wade.

“With this attorney general opinion, my office has effectively ended abortion in Missouri, ” said Schmitt, a Republican who also is running for U.S. Senate.

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Former President Barack Obama has condemned the U.S. Supreme Court ending constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years.

Obama said on Twitter that the decision is tantamount to an attack on freedoms for millions of Americans. The decision is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.




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