The same day the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, anti-choice states started enacting trigger bans.
Less than an hour after the decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was handed down, Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt was the first to ban abortion based on the Dobbs decision. Schmitt issued his opinion minutes after the ruling, triggering Missouri’s anti-abortion law.
“Today, the overruling of Roe and Casey permits Missouri to renew its proud pro-life traditions and restore basic legal protection for the most fundamental of human rights — the right to life,” Schmitt wrote.
As of 2020, there were just over 1.1 million women of childbearing age (between 15 and 44 years old) in Missouri. In seconds, Schmitt’s opinion took away vital health care from over 1 million Missourians.
Missouri’s abortion ban has no exceptions for rape or incest ― only an exception if the life of the mother is at risk, although pro-choice experts point out that the language around these types of exceptions is vague. The trigger law makes it a felony to induce an abortion, which carries a prison sentence of five to 15 years.
The state has one abortion clinic left, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. It’s unclear if the clinic will have to close or just stop providing abortion care and continue with other health care services.
Lawmakers in Montana are already calling for the state’s Supreme Court to overturn its abortion protections. Republican leaders in the legislature, state Sen. Mark Blasdel (R) and state Rep. Sue Vinton (R), released a statement celebrating the Dobbs decision and called on state judges to follow the Supreme Court’s lead.
“As the debate over abortion shifts to the states, all eyes in Montana need to be on our own judicial branch of government,” they wrote. “Montana judges should rule based on the text of our state constitution, which doesn’t mention abortion at all, and overturn the activist and erroneous Armstrong decision.”
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who was noticeably quiet about his anti-choice views before being elected last year, released a statement that Virginians want “fewer abortions, not more abortions,” although polling shows the opposite. Youngkin said he asked four Republican state lawmakers to immediately start working on legislation to restrict abortion in Virginia.
It was widely known that if Roe fell, at least 26 states would immediately ban or restrict abortion. Thirteen states, including Missouri, have trigger laws, while another five have pre-Roe abortion bans that are still on the books and likely to be resurrected. Four states are expected to severely restrict abortion by only allowing the procedure to be performed before or around the six-week point.