Delaware Just Passed A Law Protecting Abortion Rights, No Matter What

by Valerie Williams
Image via Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

If Roe v. Wade is overturned Delaware will still allow women access to safe and legal abortions

In the months since Donald Trump was elected, there’s been concern over the future of women’s reproductive rights. With Vice President Mike Pence making clear that he wants to abolish Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision giving women the right to safe and legal abortions, some states are taking steps to protect women’s reproductive rights regardless of what happens at the federal level.

Delaware is now the first state to actually make it law.

The governor of the state, John C. Carney Jr., signed the bill this week that guarantees women access to legal abortions, no matter what.

The bill effectively gets Delaware caught up with the provisions set forth in Roe v. Wade, as the state had not yet repealed its prior ban on abortion that was in effect before the procedure became legal on the federal level. The ban had been unenforceable for years as Roe v. Wade rendered it unconstitutional to prevent women from having abortions.

Of course, there was Republican opposition to the bill with state lawmakers pushing for an amendment to ban abortions after 20 weeks, but Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf ruled that the proposed changes were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and could not be added to the bill.

With similar attempts to keep abortion legal at the state level made by New York and Connecticut not quite getting off the ground, (New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed amendment is stalled in the senate and Connecticut’s bill never made it out of committee) it’s encouraging to see this happening in at least one state. With the future of safe and legal abortions in question at the federal level, it’s going to be up to states whether or not to honor and protect a woman’s right to choose.

Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to overturn Roe v. Wade and Vice President Pence is very outspoken in his anti-choice views. Now is the time for us to be deeply concerned about our reproductive rights and if we can’t depend on the federal government to protect our constitutional right to make choices for our own bodies, we need states to step up. This battle was fought and won well over 40 years ago and the fact that women are again having to fight for access to safe and legal abortions is terrifying.

While the Delaware decision is encouraging, it’s disturbing we’re even here in 2017.