Criminal attorney discusses possible legal actions if Roe v. Wade is overturned

We wanted to know what the trickle-down effect of such a change would have on women seeking abortions.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 7:17 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News is getting answers on what criminal charges women could face if the U.S. Supreme Court was to overturn Roe v. Wade.

If the decision is overruled, abortions would still be legal in Massachusetts, but would women be able to travel into our state to receive the procedure without consequences?

A criminal attorney we spoke with Wednesday said that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, women traveling across state lines to get an abortion in a place like Massachusetts, where the procedure will remain legal, could potentially face criminal charges.

A leaked draft opinion from this week suggested the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade.

We wanted to know what the trickle-down effect of such a change would have on women seeking abortions.

“The case itself would trigger some statutes that have been dormant since the ruling of Roe v. Wade,” said David Kuzmeski, Chair of AIC’s Criminal Justice Department.

Kuzmeski told Western Mass News that many states could pass legislation that criminalizes abortions.

“Now, that would open prosecution of doctors, of women who seek abortions, as well as potentially anybody that would aid and assist counsel, aid and abet somebody in getting an abortion,” he said.

Abortion in Massachusetts would remain legal if Roe v. Wade is overturned in June. That is because there is a state law protecting women’s rights already in place.

However, Kuzmeski told us that states choosing to stick with the ban could pass legislation that would make it illegal for women to travel out-of-state to receive the procedure.

“Because there is talk of states passing legislation that life begins at the time of conception and you are a citizen of that state where you are conceived,” he explained.

In addition, Kuzmeski said women could face murder charges if a pregnancy were terminated in a different way.

“What is to say states won’t start legislating such things as manslaughter for smoking while you are pregnant or drinking while you are pregnant and being obese while you are pregnant because those things might cause miscarriage,” he said.

Keep in mind, Chief Justice John Roberts said the draft does not represent the final opinion, which is scheduled to be released in June.