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What Happens When Women Get Illegal Abortions in Post-Roe America

Some states have been lying in wait with tough penalties for anyone that will provide abortion care. Those seeking abortions could also become vulnerable.

Abortion rights demonstrators outside the US Supreme Court following the Roe v. Wade decision in Washington, D.C., on June 24.

Abortion rights demonstrators outside the US Supreme Court following the Roe v. Wade decision in Washington, D.C., on June 24.

Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg

Now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected the constitutional right to an abortion, it won’t just be harder for women to get the procedure — states have also been lying in wait with tough penalties for anyone that will provide the care. Some experts warn that those seeking abortions could also become vulnerable to harsh consequences. 

In Louisiana, doctors providing abortions face up to 15 years in prison under a trigger law designed explicitly to take effect under the fall of Roe. And in Texas and Oklahoma, those who help someone receive an abortion are vulnerable to lawsuits from “vigilante” citizens who have been deputized by so-called bounty laws.