Delaware becomes first state under Trump to ensure abortion will remain legal

June 9, 2017, 9:04pm

Even if President Donald Trump succeeds in his campaign pledge to roll back Roe v. Wade, abortion will remain legal in Delaware. On Friday, Democratic Gov. John Carney Jr. signed into law a bill guaranteeing that abortion will remain legal at the state level, no matter what federal law says.

Delaware is the first state to take such a step under the Trump administration, which wants to leave the question of whether abortion should be lawful up to individual states.

Right now, only nine states have the right to abortion written into their state constitutions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Seven other states, including Delaware, provide strong statutory protections for abortion, signaling that the women who live there will still have access to abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

But if that happens — and so far, the president has largely kept his pledges to the anti-abortion groups who helped him get elected — the Center for Reproductive Rights estimates that about 22 states could immediately ban abortion, thanks to either bans created prior to 1973 or to so-called “trigger” bans, which are set to spring into action as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned. Louisiana, Mississippi, and both North and South Dakota have all passed such trigger bans.

Because Republicans control more state legislatures than Democrats, the Center believes that even more states are likely to ban abortion outright as soon as they get the chance. In total, “over 37 million women in 33 states are at-risk of living in a state where abortion could become illegal if the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v Wade were overturned,” the Center wrote in a statement in January, shortly after Trump’s inauguration.

Illinois’ legislature also passed a bill to ensure that access to abortion would survive the end of Roe v. Wade back in May, but the state’s Republican governor promised to veto it.