Could Congress override state laws and constitutions and pass a nationwide abortion ban?

2 Answers 2



Or they could pass a law prohibiting bans.

Since the provision of abortions is a commercial enterprise that affects interstate commerce, the Federal government probably has jurisdiction through the Commerce Clause.

  • 3
    Annoyingly, absolutely everything seems to be under the Commerce Clause these days.
    – sharur
    Jun 27, 2022 at 5:29

Assuming that Congress passed a ban on abortion, and such a law was constitutional, then yes, the US Federal Congress, by virtue of Federal law superseding state law and even state constitutions, could pass a nationwide abortion ban.

On the one hand, a strict reading of the Constitution would limit Congress's powers (most notably the 10th Amendment). On the other hand, Congress has had a long history of passing legislation with various (arguably invasive) effects on the lives of Americans (notable examples, through various points of history, include laws regarding slavery, conscription/drafting of soldiers, anti-discrimination legislation (such as the Civil Rights Act) and drug regulations) under various doctrines (such as the aforementioned Civil Rights Act forbiddance of various forms of discrimination by private citizens was passed under the Constitution's Commerce Clause), which the Supreme Court has upheld.

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