MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After Friday's landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, which made having an abortion a right guaranteed by the Constitution, many Mid-Southerners are wondering what this means in this region.
So, in our exclusive VERIFY, we're clearing up any confusion since each Mid-South state has differences.
Is it currently illegal to get or perform an abortion in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi?
- Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee law
It is now illegal to perform an abortion in Arkansas. It's not yet illegal to perform an abortion in Tennessee and Mississippi, but those abortion bans are not far away.
WHAT WE FOUND
In recent years, ahead of the possible overturning of the law, lawmakers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee all passed trigger laws. A trigger law would effectively prohibit abortions and add on criminal penalties almost immediately if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade.
Let's break down what's in each state's trigger law.
In Arkansas, it took effect as soon as the state attorney general certified the law, which happened Friday afternoon.
Anyone convicted of performing or attempting to perform an abortion would face up to 10 years in prison or up to a $100,000 fine. The only abortion exception would be to save the life of a woman in an emergency.
In Mississippi, the law would also take effect by the state's attorney general certification.
Someone convicted under the law, if it takes effect, would serve between one and 10 years in prison. The only abortion exceptions would be if a rape is reported to law enforcement or to save the life of a woman.
In Tennessee, its trigger law would take effect 30 days after the Supreme Court ruling, however, the state attorney general has filed an emergency motion to the state courts to eliminate this wait period.
Those convicted in violation or performing an abortion would face a Class C felony. The only abortion exception would be to protect the life of a woman.
Currently, lawmakers in 13 states passed "trigger laws" tied to abortion and possible changes to federal law.