Alaap B. Shah, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in VOA News, in “3 Months After Court Ruling, Uncertainty Persists Over Abortion Legal Status,” by Masood Farivar.

Following is an excerpt:

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June to end the constitutional right to abortion, many Americans are wondering: Is abortion legal in my state?

In many parts of the country, the answer is often not clear-cut. In overturning Roe v. Wade, a 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion, the Supreme Court left it to each of the 50 states to decide whether to allow the procedure.

The result has been an ever-shifting patchwork of state laws and policies.

While Democratic-led states have rushed to enhance protections for abortion access, many conservative-leaning states have moved in the opposite direction, seeking to ban or severely restrict the procedure.

With more states considering new bans even as abortion providers challenge the restrictions, so muddied has the terrain for abortion access become that even in places where the procedure is legal, many opt to seek out-of-state care.

"What it's plunged our country into is a state of uncertainty and chaos," said Alaap Shah, a health care attorney at the Epstein Becker Green law firm. "We have yet to see how things will really play out with respect to enforcement of the laws and how it will really affect the various states and the citizens of those states. It's a work in progress." …

Legal challenges …

The state courts have responded in a variety of ways. In about half the cases, the courts have blocked laws banning abortion while in several others, judges have allowed the bans to remain in effect while legal challenges continue. All that has made for a deeply fragmented abortion access landscape.

Shah said, "We have to look state by state to see: What does the law say? Is someone enforcing that law? Is that enforcement up for debate because there's another case challenging that enforcement?" …

Law enforcement

It's not just the ever-changing state laws that have added to mass confusion over the legal status of abortion. Adding to the uncertainty are mixed signals coming from law enforcement authorities, according to Shah. …

Nevertheless, all abortion clinics in the state have shut down, forcing women to travel to neighboring Illinois to end a pregnancy.

"People are shying away from engaging in those activities, even if there's no real prosecutorial risk, and it's because people are unsure about what the scope of these laws are and how enforcement will happen," Shah said.

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