ArkLaTex officials react to SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade

Abortion is likely to become illegal in half the states in the country
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 9:45 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 12:31 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - On Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for almost half a century. The court elected to overturn the landmark ruling Roe v. Wade.

This ruling is expected to cause abortion to become illegal in about half the states in the country, including all four states in the ArkLaTex (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma). All four states have trigger laws in place, meaning now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, abortion will become illegal in those states.

[How U.S. states have banned, limited or protected abortion]

HOW THIS RULING AFFECTS EACH STATE IN THE ARKLATEX

ARKANSAS

Arkansas’ “trigger” law banning nearly all abortions in the state takes effect if the attorney general certifies that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. The only exception in that ban is to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency. The Legislature isn’t scheduled to meet until January, but Hutchinson is considering calling a special session to take up tax relief proposals. The Republican governor has not said he plans to include any legislation related to abortion on the agenda for that session.

2019 "trigger law" bans abortion, except to protect the life of the mother in a medical...
2019 "trigger law" bans abortion, except to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency.(KSLA)

LOUISIANA

What’s next? Gov. John Bel Edwards also has a bill that would require the doctor to certify that a drug used for abortion was being prescribed for another medical reason. The bill would make it illegal to deliver abortion medication to a state resident “by mail-order, courier, or as a result of a sale made via the internet.”

2006 "trigger law" bans abortion, except to protect the life of the mother in a medical...
2006 "trigger law" bans abortion, except to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency. SB342 penalizes all who perform abortions with 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 to $100,000.(KSLA)

OKLAHOMA

What’s next: Given the fierce opposition to abortion from the governor and Legislature, Oklahoma will continue to prohibit the practice if states are given the option to do so. Meanwhile, abortion providers who had been operating in the state are taking steps to help patients seek abortions out of state, including coordinating funding for these women and developing a referral network of therapists to help address complications before or after a woman receives an abortion.

In 2022, Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law banning abortions, enforced by civil lawsuits rather...
In 2022, Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law banning abortions, enforced by civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution.(KSLA)

TEXAS

What’s next: Many Texas women have already traveled out of state for abortions since the law took effect, but they would likely have to travel much farther if Roe v. Wade is overturned as more states outlaw abortion. Some Republican lawmakers also want to punish companies that help their Texas-based employees get abortions elsewhere, although it’s unclear how much support that idea will have when the Legislature returns in 2023.

State's "trigger law" goes into effect 30 days after Supreme Court ruling, making performing...
State's "trigger law" goes into effect 30 days after Supreme Court ruling, making performing abortions a felony.(KSLA)

As the decision came out, leaders in the ArkLaTex weighed in.

CONGRESSMAN BRUCE WESTERMAN (R-ARK)

“I am ecstatic to see the U.S. Supreme Court today rectify its 1973 decision by reversing Roe v. Wade and sending the issue of abortion back to the States. Life is a right. Abortion is not. Our system of government is not based on unelected judges creating a right that doesn’t exist in the Constitution. A new day has dawned in America, and many innocent lives will be saved in the years to come. Make no mistake, we must help struggling women and ensure they have every resource they need throughout and after pregnancy. Women will always have choices. As many as two million U.S. families are looking to adopt at any given time, while roughly 700,000 abortions are performed each year. Each of these precious lives could have a family ready and willing to provide a loving home. I look forward to a day when all Americans reject the horrors of abortion in their own states to ensure the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every child.”

SENATOR BRYAN HUGHES (R-TYLER)

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed our nation’s constitutional foundation of respect for life by finally correcting a decision that has wrongly ruled for almost 50 years. I commend the Court for refusing to be bullied and for deciding the outcome based on the rightful application of the law rather than on fealty to a lawless ruling. This historic decision marks the end of a terrible chapter in our history. By extending equal protection of the law to the most innocent, the Court today brings us closer to living out the true meaning of the American creed. Texas stands with 12 other states with trigger laws already in place to immediately begin saving lives now that Roe v. Wade is set aside. But there is more work to be done. Texas will continue to lead the way in this post-Roe world. In addition to existing benefits to help mothers and children, we have allocated $100 million solely to help expectant mothers and adoptive parents. The program provides everything from parenting classes to car seats and proves that we can save the life of the unborn child while we love, respect, and support the mother. We will not forget the 62 million Americans who were denied life before their first breath. With the travesty of Roe v. Wade finally on the ash heap of history, more little lives can be saved, and more mothers can be helped.”

GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT (R-TEXAS)

“The U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children. Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life. Texas has also prioritized supporting women’s healthcare and expectant mothers in need to give them the necessary resources so that they can choose life for their child. I signed laws that extended Medicaid health care coverage to six months post-partum, appropriated $345 million for women’s health programs, and invested more than $100 million toward our Alternatives to Abortion program. This critical program provides counseling, mentoring, care coordination, and material assistance, such as car seats, diapers, and housing to mothers in need. Texas will always fight for the innocent unborn, and I will continue working with the Texas legislature and all Texans to save every child from the ravages of abortion and help our expectant mothers in need.”

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ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF LANDRY (R-LA)

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. Today, along with millions across Louisiana and America, I rejoice with my departed Mom and the unborn children with her in Heaven! The Supreme Court has finally returned to the Constitution and delegated power back to the people. Our State’s representatives, held accountable by their constituents, should – and now again can – determine abortion policy not the federal government. As noted in both my legal brief to the Supreme Court and the majority’s opinion: the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision. Because of the Court’s ruling in this case about a Mississippi law limiting abortions after 15 weeks of gestation with exceptions for health emergencies and fetal abnormalities, Louisiana’s trigger law banning abortion is now in effect. My office and I will do everything in our power to ensure the laws of Louisiana that have been passed to protect the unborn are enforceable, even if we have to go back to court. As the chief legal officer for our State, I will continue defending Louisiana’s pro-life laws and working to ensure the health and safety of women and their babies.”

CONGRESSMAN MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA)

“Today is an historic and joyful day. After nearly a half century, the Supreme Court has finally corrected its egregious error and returned the fateful policy decision over legalized abortion to the people and their elected representatives—where it has always belonged. No real ‘constitutional right’ to abortion ever existed. The Court invented it out of thin air. House Republicans will continue to stand for the sanctity of human life and hold the Biden Administration accountable for any future attempt to impede the policy decisions of pro-life states.”

SENATOR JOHN BOOZMAN (R-ARK)

“This is a long-awaited, consequential day for our nation. The Supreme Court’s decision to affirm there is no constitutional right to indiscriminately sacrifice the lives of children in their mothers’ wombs is the culmination of decades of work to correct the tragic, deadly lie that unborn babies are expendable and undeserving of protection. I’m pleased to have helped confirm justices to our nation’s highest court who are committed to interpreting the Constitution in a manner that is consistent and true to its intent and meaning. With this ruling, the American people will finally have the opportunity to enact their will on this issue instead of unelected judges in Washington, D.C. I am proud of Arkansas’s steadfast commitment to defend the sanctity, dignity and value of every human life, including vulnerable children who deserve our compassion and care.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL KEN PAXTON (R-TEXAS)

“Roe v. Wade and its successor case Planned Parenthood v. Casey have absolutely no basis in the U.S. Constitution. Nevertheless, for half a century, Americans have had to live under these illegitimate, illegal, and unconstitutional dictates of a partisan, willful Supreme Court. No more. Today, the question of abortion returns to the states. And in Texas, that question has already been answered: abortion is illegal here. I look forward to defending the pro-life laws of Texas and the lives of all unborn children moving forward. Further, we cannot forget the extraordinary violence that Roe and Casey unleashed on our nation. Because of those decisions, almost 70 million babies have been killed in the womb. And so, today at noon, I am closing all my offices as a memorial to these babies. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them. Never again should something like this happen in America.”

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SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TEXAS)

“The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, reversing Roe v. Wade, is nothing short of a massive victory for life, and it will save the lives of millions of innocent babies. The decision reverses one of the most egregious departures from the Constitution and legal precedent the United States has ever seen, and one that has resulted in the deaths of 63 million American children. Roe was wrong the day it was decided, and it has been wrong every day since then. If you search for the word ‘abortion’ in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, you won’t find it. The Court at the time acknowledged that, and yet Roe created a brand new constitutional ‘right’ out of whole cloth. And while the left manically argues that the Dobbs decision makes abortion illegal throughout the country, that is false. What this decision does is leave abortion policy up to the states and returns power to the American people—which is exactly how questions of abortion were handled before Roe. This is a momentous day, and yet the fight for life doesn’t end with the Dobbs decision. It simply begins a new chapter. I’ve been proud to stand for life in the U.S. Senate, and I will continue to do so as we navigate the path ahead.”

GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON (R-ARK)

“For decades I have said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Today, the Supreme Court overturned the abortion ruling and returned the issue to the states. Arkansas is a pro-life state, and we are able now to protect life.”

GOVERNOR KEVIN STITT (R-OKLA)

“I am very excited that the Supreme Court made this courageous decision. Abortion is a state’s rights issue and it belongs to the people. I promised Oklahomans I would sign every pro-life bill that came across my desk and I am proud to have kept that promise, especially today as Oklahoma now has trigger laws to ban abortion in our state. I am proud to be called America’s most pro-life governor and I’m looking forward to the rest of the country following Oklahoma’s lead to protect life.”

SENATOR JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA)

“Despite attempts to intimidate the justices, they did their work. Roe v. Wade has misrepresented the Constitution since the ruling was rendered, and today’s decision to return the issue of abortion to the American people and the states corrects a legal and moral error. Louisianians have worked for a long time to have this freedom that is rightly and constitutionally theirs. I am very pleased with today’s decision.”

SENATOR BILL CASSIDY (R-LA)

“Today’s decision recognizes that an unborn child has a right to life. Being pro-life means being pro-mothers, pro-babies, and pro-healthy futures—a philosophy I carry with me in the Senate. This is a deeply emotional issue for many Americans, no matter which side one stands, but it is now up to individual states to enact their own policies.”

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