How State Abortion Bans Could Create New Criminals

As more states introduce laws that restrict abortion rights and the future of “Roe v. Wade” remains uncertain, the threat of overcriminalization and mass incarceration looms.

OCTOBER 22, 2021

The elimination of cash bail, the decriminalization of drugs and petty theft offenses, and sentencing reform have recently shifted the criminal justice landscape throughout the United States. Nonetheless, a new threat of over-prosecution and incarceration looms large in the, perhaps, unexpected realm of reproductive rights.

According to Planned Parenthood, nearly 600 abortion restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures this year alone—and more than ninety have become law. While some of these laws do include criminal penalties, all of them make getting an abortion nearly impossible for most people and they set the stage for broader, more restrictive laws in the future.