The draft — written for a case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — is not final and could undergo significant changes before the court’s formal opinion is released. In the meantime, however, CNN readers have asked hundreds of questions about what a reversal of the Supreme Court’s abortion rights precedents would mean and how it will affect access to the procedure.
We’re reading as many as we can and answering some of the most popular questions here.
Is the Supreme Court actually overturning the law or merely saying the decision belongs with each state’s law?
The Supreme Court, if it adopts the draft opinion, will be overturning previous court precedent that preempted state laws banning abortion before the fetus is viable, a point around 23 weeks into the pregnancy. In overturning the Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood decisions, the Supreme Court would be allowing states to pursue bans and other restrictions on pre-viability abortion.
Will women get arrested for having an abortion if the Supreme Court deems it illegal?
An abortion-seeker’s criminal liability will depend on the abortion policies that her state put into place if the Supreme Court overturns Roe. Leaders of the anti-abortion movement have said in the past that women shouldn’t be prosecuted for obtaining abortion, and that criminal laws prohibiting it should be aimed at abortion providers or others who facilitate the procedure. Several states with abortion prohibitions that could go into effect with a Roe reversal have language exempting from prosecution the woman who obtained the abortion, but an abortion ban in Wyoming appears to muddle this question with its reference to the “pregnant woman” in the relevant code.