UPDATE: On Friday, March 4, Florida passed House Bill 5, banning abortion after 15 weeks. If signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the bill would go into effect July 1 and become one of the strictest abortion bans in the country.
The fate of reproductive rights was put on high alert last fall when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Mississippi Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The law at the center of the Supreme Court case challenges a 2018 law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Reproductive rights organizers say the decision even to hear the case calls into question the authority of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that says abortion is a constitutional right. With a conservative justice majority on the bench, the Supreme Court is likely to strike down Roe v. Wade and other landmark abortion risks cases including Planned Parenthood v. Casey, stripping pregnant people of their constitutionally protected abortion rights. It has been highly reported that once the Supreme Court redirects authority over abortion to the state level, legislators will enact “trigger laws” that render the procedure illegal. The Supreme Court will not likely issue a ruling until June 2022, but states have already begun introducing and drafting legislation that limits, bans, and criminalizes abortions. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene in the ongoing legal challenge against Texas’ Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions as early as six weeks, a time when most people don’t even know they are pregnant, has emboldened conservative lawmakers to introduce their own restrictive laws.
“We know that there isn’t a single state in the country where abortion bans are popular, yet from Florida to Arizona, these state politicians aren’t slowing down on their extreme attacks and misinformed and dangerous rhetoric,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “People deserve the fundamental freedom to make decisions about their bodies and their futures, and not have state lawmakers be the arbiters of their reproductive choices. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting to ensure our patients’ voices are heard.”
With multiple states introducing legislation that bans or limits abortion, here is an ongoing list of those to keep track of:
Arizona’s House Bill 2483: A “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” similar to Texas’ SB 8 was introduced this past month. The bill would require that all abortions test for fetal hearbeats, which scientists say is misleading and could really just be electrical activity from underdeveloped cells. The bill would ban any abortion where a “heartbeat” is detected, with medical emergencies as the only exception. Doctors who perform abortions or help someone get an abortion would be sued for $10,000 for each abortion, and any Arizona citizen could file a lawsuit alleging a violation of the law up to four years after the action has occurred.
“Abortion bans and gestational limits push safe and accessible care farther out of reach for our communities in Arizona,” said Eloisa Lopez, executive director of Pro-Choice Arizona and the Abortion Fund of Arizona. “These harmful restrictions do not support our people, they do not support families. Anti-abortion bills and bans create devastating barriers with the sole purpose of criminalizing abortion, providers, and those who support patients seeking care. Many states, including Arizona, are moving toward a mass public health crisis.”
Colorado’s House Bill 22-1047 was introduced in the Second Regular Session by Republican Rep. Patrick Neville. The “Protecting Human Life at Conception” bill bans abortions and makes providing one a felony violation punishable by to up life in prison.
Florida’s House Bill 5 is a 15-week abortion ban that cleared its first house committee last week. The bill is similar to Mississippi’s 2018 law at the heart of the Supreme Court hearing.
“Florida’s 15-week abortion ban will have the greatest impact on Latina/x and im/migrant communities, whose access to abortion and reproductive healthcare is already severely limited,” said Charo Valero, Florida state manager for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. “If passed, HB 5 will needlessly complicate care for countless people and cut off access to care altogether for many in the Latina/x, Black, im/migrant, and LGBTQIA communities. People with lower incomes, without health insurance, paid days off, or child care may be forced to remain pregnant if they run out of time to legally get the abortion care they need—that’s on top of the fact that Florida’s current restrictions are already a challenge to navigate.”
Georgia’s Senate Bill 351 is the newest abortion restriction bill that would ban abortion pills by mail and require in-person dispensing, even though the Food and Drug Administration announced last month it would remove restrictions on medication abortions and permanently allow people to receive abortion pills by mail.
Missouri’s House Bill 1987 is a fetal heartbeat bill introduced by Republican Rep. Mary Coleman that mirrors Texas’ Senate Bill 8 and allows citizens to sue those who perform or help someone access an abortion. This bill expands on SB8 and would penalize people who educate about abortion.
Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 933 is a trigger bill that would completely ban abortions in Nebraska should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Legislative Bill 781, introduced by Republican Sen. Julie Slama of District 1, is a fetal heartbeat bill that make abortions as early as six weeks a Class IIA felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
“Abortion currently remains safe and legal in Nebraska, but these politicians are making their intention to outright ban abortion in Nebraska crystal clear, and we cannot allow that to happen,” said Andi Curry Grubb, the state executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska. “Every Nebraskan deserves the right to make the decisions that are best for their lives and families. When people can do this, families thrive and communities are created where each of us can participate with dignity and equality. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy can have devastating and lasting consequences and does not align with the values of Nebraskans.”
Ohio’s Senate Bill 157 was signed into law Dec. 22, 2021, by Gov. Mike DeWine and prevents doctors at public hospitals from performing abortions at clinics that require a variance from the Ohio Department of Health. Two Southwest Ohio abortion clinics in Dayton and Cinncinati are now facing closure because of the new law, and it could create an “abortion desert.”
Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 1167 was filed by Republican Sen. George Burns and creates a government database of people seeking abortion care. Known as the “Every Mother Matters Act,” the bill requires each pregnant person seeking an abortion to be assigned a “unique identifying number” and mandates providers store the person’s information for seven years. Oklahoma has seen an increase in patients traveling from Texas in the wake of SB 8. Additionally, state Rep. Sean Roberts has said he wants to introduce a SB 8 copycat bill that would allow any individual in Oklahoma to sue doctors who perform an abortion that is not to save the mother’s life with $10,000 in damages.
Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 956 proposes a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot that would clarify the state’s constitution and say that there is no constitutional right to abortion or taxpayer funding for it in the state. Gov. Tom Wolf vows to veto it and any other anti-abortion legislation.
“The constitutional amendment, and all abortion bans, are extreme. Abortion is already inaccessible for Black and brown individuals experiencing poverty, and we want to make it clear that what we are seeing is white supremacy in action. At the Abortion Liberation Fund, we will continue to organize supporters, clients, and the public to eradicate all barriers to abortion. We are working toward a future where abortion liberation and other forms of reproductive freedom are normalized and celebrated. Despite what is happening in legislative institutions, we are supporting folks every day by providing emergency financial assistance to those who have made the decision to have an abortion,” Signe Espinoza, board member and co-chair of the Abortion Liberation Fund.
South Carolina’s Senate Bill 988 was just advanced this week to the full Senate Medical Affairs committee. The “trigger bill” bans all abortions in the state in the Supreme Court overturns the nationwide right. Senate Bill 907, another restrictive bill that was introduced Dec. 6, 2021, would require doctors to tell people who receive medication abortions that they can reverse the medication.
South Dakota’s copycat anti-abortion and fetal heartbeat Senate bill draft called “Prohibiting Abortion After Detection of Fetal Heartbeat” was announced by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Virginia’s House Bill 1274 would implement a 20-week abortion ban, making violations a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Nick Freitas.
West Virginia’s House Bill 4004 is a 15-week abortion ban.
“If this ban is passed, West Virginians could be forced to travel hundreds of miles for abortion care or give birth against their will,” said Katie Quinonez, executive director of Women’s Health Center of West Virginia. “Abortion bans like this one fall hardest on folks who are already marginalized by our health care system, including BIPOC, rural people, low-income people, and young people. By default, abortion bans like this one are racist and sexist. The legislators who introduced this bill won’t stop for 15 weeks because their goal is to make sure West Virginians cannot access abortion—period. Because of workplace and economic injustices, an abortion can be a financial emergency. With costs related to travel, child care, lodging, and lost wages, this harmful ban only serves to compound hardships West Virginians already face. Independent clinics and abortion funds will continue to step up where lawmakers fall short to make sure our people continue to get the abortions they need. But we need bold, generous support to do it.”
As the country waits for the Supreme Court to issue a decision on the fate of Roe v. Wade, some states like California are creating a series of bills that would make it a sanctuary state for abortions. Meanwhile, reproductive rights advocates say they will continue to organize the public to ensure access to abortions.