(The Hill) — The abortion fight is coming to a head this year as the Supreme Court is set to decide the legality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. While the case sits in front of a conservative-majority court, abortion advocates and opponents are gearing up for a new battlefield: state legislatures.
Republican and Democratic states have been scrambling to enact or introduce laws that will restrict or expand abortion access ahead of the court’s decision. The laws restricting abortion range from six-week bans to 15-week bans, and bans on the abortion pill.
The laws expanding abortion access range from making abortion a right to implementing measures that make it easier for women to get to abortion clinics.
Although multiple states have introduced both abortion restrictions and expansion, this list takes into consideration which is likely to be successful based on the state’s political landscape; Republican-led states have more success with restricting abortions while Democratic states have more success expanding abortion access.
Although dozens of states have passed or introduced abortion laws, the list only includes notable states.
Here are the states that have passed abortion restrictions through the governor:
Mississippi — The state that is at the center of the Supreme Court case that could overturn Roe v. Wade passed a 15-week abortion ban in 2019. The bill has an exemption for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest. The bill was quickly challenged by abortion providers and will be decided this year by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Texas — Texas has been another high-profile case for anti-abortion laws as the governor signed off in 2019 for abortions to be banned after six weeks. Under the law, abortions are only permissible after six weeks for medical reasons. Aside from the abortion ban, much of the controversy under this law came due to a measure that allows private citizens to sue abortion clinics they believe broke the law.
Florida — Florida is one of the more recent examples of abortion bans, with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signing the bill Thursday. The bill bans abortions after 15 weeks, with only an exemption for medical emergencies. “We are here today to protect life. We are here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves,” DeSantis said.
Oklahoma — This past week, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed legislation that makes performing an abortion illegal in the state. The only exemption is if abortion could save the life of the woman. “Today I kept that promise by signing SB 612 into law, once again showing the world that Oklahoma is the most pro-life state in the country,” the governor said.
Kentucky — The Republican-led legislature successfully overrode a veto from their Democratic governor to pass legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks. Along with the ban on abortions, abortion pills by mail have been banned and abortions within the 15-week timeframe are also heavily restricted. Birth and death certificates are also required after an abortion is performed. The only exemption for abortion in the state is a medical emergency.
Arizona — The Republican governor of Arizona signed a 15-week abortion ban that has no exemptions. “In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life – including preborn life,” Ducey said. “I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.”
Idaho — In March, a law was passed and signed by the governor banning abortion after six weeks, with exemptions for rape and incest. Idaho’s bill also allows family members of a person who got an abortion illegally to sue the abortion provider. Although Republican Gov. Brad Little was supportive of the restriction, he was hesitant about letting family members sue abortion providers. “While I support the pro-life policy in this legislation, I fear the novel civil enforcement mechanism will in short order be proven both unconstitutional and unwise. Deputizing private citizens to levy hefty monetary fines on the exercise of a disfavored but judicially recognized constitutional right for the purpose of evading court review undermines our constitutional form of government and weakens our collective liberties,” Little wrote.
Wyoming — Wyoming signed and passed a bill through the governor that would implement a total abortion ban on the condition the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The total abortion ban has exemptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
South Dakota — South Dakota has had a battle over abortion restrictions it would like to implement, but was able to get legislation through that puts restrictions on the abortion pill. The law signed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem also bans abortions by telemedicine. “The two bills that I am signing today are crucial because they are also protections for mothers. We must remember that abortion has two victims: both the unborn child who loses their life and the mother who must go through the physical and emotional trauma of the procedure,” Noem said.
Here are the states that have introduced or passed abortion restrictions through one legislative chamber:
Multiple states have introduced abortion restrictions, with West Virginia already getting a 15-week abortion ban passed by the House chamber.
The introduced restrictions vary from six-week bans to allowing lawsuits against abortion providers.
Here are the states that have recently passed laws expanding or codifying abortion access:
Maryland — The Maryland legislature overrode a veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to expand abortion access in April. The law allows other medical professionals besides physicians to perform abortions and creates a state fund to train the medical professionals to perform abortions. The law will also require most insurance companies to completely cover the cost of an abortion.
Vermont — Vermont is attempting to enshrine abortion access as a constitutional amendment after the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of the measure in February. Voters will get to decide in November if the Reproductive Liberty Amendment is adopted into the state’s constitution.
New Jersey — Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy January signed a legislature that creates a constitutional right to abortion in the state. This means if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion access will still be available in New Jersey. “With Roe v. Wade under attack, today’s historic legislation makes clear that New Jersey’s position in supporting the right to reproductive choice remains protected. Together, with expanding contraception coverage, these two pieces of legislation serve to meaningfully and tangibly increase access to reproductive health care, and ensure that New Jersey residents are now, and will remain, in control of their reproductive choices,” Murphy said.
Colorado — Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed into law this month that women have the “fundamental right” to choose if they have an abortion. The law also bans state or local entities from trying to restrict abortion access in the state.
Washington — In March the governor signed a law that would prevent individuals or the state from trying to sue abortion providers. The measure was introduced as more states consider adopting abortion restrictions that let private citizens go after abortion providers or those helping a person seeking an abortion. “We know this bill is necessary because this is a perilous time for the ability of people to have the freedom of choice that they have enjoyed for decades,” Inslee said.
California — Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation in March that abolishes out-of-pocket costs for abortions, making it easier for women who can’t afford the cost of abortion to still obtain the procedure. “As states across the country attempt to move us backward by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” said Newsom. “With this legislation, we’ll help ensure equitable, affordable access to abortion services so that out-of-pocket costs don’t stand in the way of receiving care.”
Here are some states that have introduced legislation to expand abortion access or have previous abortion protections:
- New York