Are Abortions Illegal after Roe v. Wade?

Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court which has made abortion illegal under federal law. Although this will not impact residents of Washington in any way, there are states which would be enforcing the new law. For example, in Texas a “trigger law” had been in the books that went in to effect immediately, which criminalized abortion for all pregnancies, except those that directly endanger the life of the pregnant person. Texas has some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the United States.

Under this trigger law, providing an abortion would be a first-degree felony. A conviction could mean a prison sentence of 20 to 99 years and a $10,000 fine. Some abortion-rights activists believe that this trigger law would lead to the prosecution of doctors providing abortions as well as abortion-seekers using medications through the mail to terminate their pregnancies at home.

While Texas as a whole plans to criminalize abortion, some city council members in the capital city of Austin are planning measures to protect abortion access within the city. The Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone (GRACE Act) aims to remove the threat of arrest within city limits for abortion recipients and their providers.

The GRACE Act would direct the Austin Police Department to make abortion investigations, arrests, and criminal enforcement the least of its priorities. The act would also prevent city employees or funds from reporting or investigating suspected abortions.

The Austin City Council has previously passed decriminalization measures with similar enforcement methods to the GRACE Act. This includes a 2020 measure effectively decriminalizing cannabis that ended arrests for low-level cannabis possession. Other cities have done the same and started to decriminalize other substances as well. Several progressive prosecutors across the country have also stopped prosecuting certain low-level offenses, even after police arrest people for committing them. So while it would still be illegal to provide or obtain an abortion within certain jurisdiction, the threat of arrest would be much lower. The question of whether abortions will be prohibited will solely depend on each particular State.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

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