Americans saw drastic changes to abortion rights in the year 2022. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, the law that granted women access to safe and legal abortions (as a constitutional right) for the past 50 years. Now, lawmakers and abortion rights advocates are putting efforts in to codify abortion rights. Codifying abortion rights means protecting the right to abortion in certain states.
Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned, political lawmakers have been working to uphold abortion rights. In fact, President Biden and other prominent lawmakers were calling to codify Roe in order to protect Americans’ right to safe and legal abortions. As expected, the overturning of Roe v. Wade meant that, for many pregnant women, abortion was no longer legal in their state.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may have many lingering questions regarding the changes – or potential changes – to abortion laws in your home state. If you have heard the phrase “codify abortion rights,” you may be confused and wondering what this overhaul could mean for your rights as an expectant mother.
Read on, as we break down what it means to “codify abortion rights,” which states have codified abortion rights, and what this could mean for you and your pregnancy.
What Does ‘Codifying Abortion Laws’ Mean?
The term “codified abortion laws” can be confusing. What does it mean to codify a law?
Linda C. McClain, a professor at Boston University School of Law, explained what it means to codify Roe v. Wade in an article on Newsweek:
“In simple terms, to codify something means to enshrine a right or a rule into a formal systematic code,” she explained. “It could be done through an act of Congress in the form of a federal law. Similarly, state legislatures can codify rights by enacting laws.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade back in 1973 set abortion as a constitutional right. Codifying abortion rights would cement them into law.
“To codify Roe for all Americans, Congress would need to pass a law that would provide the same protections that Roe did—so a law that says women have a right to abortion without excessive government restrictions. It would be binding for all states,” McClain added.
McClain went on to explain that Congress is unlikely to put abortion laws into place, as Republican opponents in the Senate have blocked similar legislation attempts in the past.
However, some individual states have codified abortion laws and found success in putting those protections for abortion rights in place.
Which States Have Codified Abortion Rights?
There are currently 16 states that have codified abortion rights. These 16 states have laws in place that protect abortion access under state law.
Four of these states – plus Washington, D.C. – protect the right to an abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
These are the places in the U.S. with codified abortion laws for pregnant people:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
Democratic state leaders in other states have vowed to follow suit since Roe was overturned. For the latest, most accurate information regarding abortion laws in your state, refer to your state government website.
What Does This All Mean for You?
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be trying to decide which path is the right choice for you. The good news is that you still have options. These three, basic choices remain available to most Americans:
If you live in a state that has codified abortion laws, then you still have access to safe and legal abortions. If you live in a state that has banned or placed heavy restrictions on abortion, you still could pursue abortion, if you wish. There is the option to travel to a different state, and there are non-profit groups and private organizations that will offer financial assistance to make this possible (if needed).
Another option you may want to consider is adoption. This is not the right path for everyone, but it is a choice that offers many benefits for many expectant/birth parents. Adoption allows you to place your child in a safe and stable home, with a loving family, if you are not ready to become a parent at this time. Adoption is a very selfless decision, as it requires putting your child’s best interests above your own. Adoption is a very positive choice for the child, and is a common decision among women in their second and third trimesters.
Most adoptions today are open adoptions. This means there is ongoing communication between birth and adoptive parents, so that birth families can see how their child is growing over the years. Choosing open adoption means giving your child a lifetime of love and opportunity. It also means keeping the door open to building a relationship with your child in the future.
If you would like to learn more about adoption, contact Adoptions With Love today. Call us any time at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.