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The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively ending the era of federal protection for legal abortion across the United States, according to a draft opinion obtained by Politico and confirmed as authentic by the court. While the opinion, on a case challenging Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks, is not final and could change significantly before it is issued, the possibility that Roe soon will be overturned is mobilizing lawmakers and activists on both sides of the abortion debate. Here's what the end of Roe would mean for Minnesota and neighboring states.

What is Roe v. Wade?

It's the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide to the point of viability. In 1970, a Texas woman — Norma McCorvey, who was referred to as Jane Roe to protect her identity — sued the Dallas County district attorney, Henry Wade, to challenge a state law banning most abortions. The main question was whether the U.S. Constitution protects a woman's right to have an abortion to end a pregnancy. The justices ruled 7-2 that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment includes a "right to privacy" that protects the choice to have an abortion.

The decision did not legalize abortion in all cases. The justices also ruled that the state has an interest in protecting the health of both mothers and fetuses, and decided that while abortion could not be banned in the first trimester of fetal development, it could be regulated in the second trimester and prohibited entirely in many cases in the third trimester.

Has the Roe decision been upheld by subsequent U.S. Supreme Court rulings?

Yes. From 1973 to 2019, the Supreme Court has issued decisions on 17 cases related to abortion rights, according to the Washington Post. In the most significant case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, the court upheld Roe in a 5-4 decision but it also affirmed Pennsylvania's restrictions requiring a minor seeking an abortion to have the consent of a parent, married women to notify their husband of their intent to have an abortion, and a 24-hour waiting period prior to undergoing the procedure. The draft opinion would also overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Is Roe v. Wade popular?

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted last week found that Americans support upholding Roe by a 2-to-1 margin. According to the poll, a majority of Americans oppose making abortions illegal in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy and 25% believe their state should make it harder to access abortions.

A September 2018 Star Tribune-MPR News Minnesota Poll found that 59% of registered Minnesota voters said they would like to see Roe remain in place, while 26% said they would like it modified and 12% said it should be overturned to make abortion illegal.

What would happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

The U.S. would return to the pre-Roe status quo, in which individual states are free to regulate or outright ban abortions within their borders. In many states, access to abortion will likely be determined by which major party controls the legislature and governor's office. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights research and policy organization, nearly two dozen states have laws or constitutional amendments on the books that would immediately restrict abortions in most cases, while four more states are likely to enact bans once federal protections are lifted. Twenty-five states are unlikely to place significant restrictions on the availability of abortions.

Would abortions remain legal in Minnesota?

Minnesota is one of the states where abortion is likely to remain legal. Abortion access is constitutionally protected in Minnesota under the 1995 state Supreme Court decision in Doe v. Gomez, though there are restrictions such as a 24-hour waiting period, mandated counseling and a requirement that minors notify both parents. Changing the state Constitution would require either a voter-approved amendment or a reversal by the state's top court, while additional abortion restrictions are possible if Republicans sweep both chambers and the governor's office.

There are eight abortion providers in the state, concentrated in the Twin Cities metro area, Rochester and Duluth, according to Unrestrict Minnesota, a pro-abortion rights group.

Have Minnesota lawmakers recently attempted to place new restrictions on abortions?

Yes. Republican lawmakers in the Legislature introduced a slate of proposals this session seeking to limit abortion access, including a measure that would prohibit the procedure early in pregnancy and outsource enforcement of the law to private citizens.

Most of these measures are unlikely to gain traction, with DFL House leaders expected to block them and DFL Gov. Tim Walz, who supports abortion rights, ready to veto any that pass. But those pushing for new restrictions say that with the possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, this year's midterm elections and the actions of other states already clamping down on abortion, GOP lawmakers hope that Minnesota could follow suit.

What would be the status of abortion rights in states that border Minnesota if Roe is overturned?

Abortions would immediately become illegal in Wisconsin, due to an 1849 law banning abortions in the state that remains on the books despite being unenforceable under Roe. Both North Dakota and South Dakota have approved so-called "trigger laws" that would ban abortion if Roe is no longer in effect.

In Iowa, abortions would remain legal for now, according to the Des Moines Register. Under current law, the state bans most abortions after 20 weeks. Lawmakers have passed a number of additional restrictions on abortions in recent years that have been blocked by the courts.

In 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the state's 72-hour waiting period, ruling that abortion is a fundamental right under the state constitution, the Register reported. Republicans are pursuing a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. The court is also considering a challenge to a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion that could provide another opportunity to invalidate the 2018 decision.

Many physicians in Minnesota are preparing for an influx of women from other states seeking legal abortions if Roe is overturned.

When would this happen?

Not right away. For now, abortion remains legal in every state, and each has at least one clinic. If the Supreme Court does rule against Roe, clinics in some states would likely begin closing within days.

The leaked document was said to be a draft, not a final opinion. It may be a month or more before the Supreme Court officially rules in the case, and that decision could differ significantly from the leaked draft.

Staff writers Emma Nelson and Jessie Van Berkel, the Associated Press and the New York Times contributed to this article. It has been updated.