Two states in April approved bills that ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the latest actions as Republican-led states move swiftly to restrict abortion access. Kentucky’s ban, passed by the Republican-led legislature over the Democratic governor’s veto, took effect immediately. Florida’s governor signed a ban this week that is set to take effect in July.

While a lot of the bills this year look similar to bills we’ve seen before, the stakes are completely different. In recent years, the most restrictive bans were blocked by the courts, ruled unconstitutional because they violated Supreme Court precedent established in Roe v. Wade, which has protected the constitutional right to abortion for nearly 50 years.

[What abortion laws would look like if Roe v. Wade were overturned]

But six months after the Texas ban took effect, as the Supreme Court considers a case that could overturn or significantly weaken Roe, antiabortion legislators across the country are newly energized, passing bills that could reshape the abortion landscape in the United States by the end of the summer.

April 19  •  Protection

A bill that would protect the right to abortion in Connecticut passes the first chamber.   

April 14  •  Restriction

A 15-week ban in Florida is signed into law. It is set to take effect in July.  Read more »

April 13  •  Restriction

A 15-week ban in Kentucky takes effect.   Read more »

April 9  •  Protection

A bill that would protect the right to abortion in Maryland becomes law after the legislature overrode the governor’s veto. It is set to take effect in July.  

As Republican-led states move to restrict abortion and Democratic-dominated states move to protect access to the procedure, here are the types of legislation we’ll be tracking most closely over the next few months:

15-week bans

Newly in effect in one state

Passed but blocked by courts in two states

Recent action in three states

Lawmakers in several GOP-led states are pushing bills that mirror Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, the law at the heart of the case pending before the Supreme Court, hoping to maximize the chance that their legislation can take effect after the high court rules this summer.

[Chief Justice Roberts said Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban was ‘the standard’ around the world. The reality is more complicated.]

Republicans have described these bans as a sensible “compromise,” compared to the more restrictive six-week ban in Texas. But a 15-week ban still represents a dramatic rollback of the standard established by Roe, which protects the right to abortion until a fetus is viable outside the womb, around 24 weeks.

States considering a 15-week ban

Kentucky   Read more » R R D

In effect

Arizona  

Set to take effect in mid July

R R R

Signed into law

Florida   Read more »

Set to take effect in July

R R R
West Virginia   R R R

Passed one chamber

Texas-style bans

Previously enacted in one state

Passed but blocked by courts in one state

Recent action in 12 states

Antiabortion lawmakers across the country saw a major opportunity in Texas’s restrictive six-week ban, which empowers private citizens to enforce the law through civil litigation. Using this novel legal strategy, Texas lawmakers figured out a way to bypass the courts, which have halted a dozen similar bans in the past. Almost immediately after the Texas law took effect, Republican lawmakers in other states began expressing their intentions to try the same strategy.

[Texas’s strict new abortion law has eluded multiple court challenges. Abortion rights advocates think they have a new path to get it blocked.]

Six months later, more than a dozen states have proposed their own versions of the Texas abortion ban. Most of these laws ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before most people know they’re pregnant, and all utilize the Texas law’s enforcement mechanism.

One important thing to note: These laws could start to take effect long before the Supreme Court rules this summer. Unless Idaho’s law is blocked by the courts, it is set to take effect in mid-April.

States considering a Texas-style ban

Idaho   Read more »

Temporarily blocked by the courts

R R R

Blocked by courts

Oklahoma   R R R

Passed one chamber

Alabama   R R R

Introduced

Arizona   R R R
Arkansas   R R R
Florida   Read more » R R R
Louisiana   R R D
Maryland   D D R
Minnesota   D R D
Missouri   Read more » R R R
Ohio   R R R
Tennessee   R R R
Wisconsin   R R D

Trigger bans

Previously enacted in 12 states, newly in effect in one state

Recent action in six states*

* One state already has a trigger ban but is considering a fuller ban.

Even before this year’s legislative sessions, 12 states already had “trigger laws” on the books. These are complete bans on abortion, at any point in pregnancy, that “trigger” as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned.

[Twelve states have abortion ‘trigger laws.’ What are they?]

One particularly significant version of this law is moving through the legislature in Oklahoma, which already has a trigger ban. Legislators are proposing to revise that existing trigger law so that, even if Roe is not completely overturned, a full abortion ban would still take effect.

States considering a trigger ban

Wyoming   R R R

In effect

Oklahoma   R R R

Passed one chamber

Indiana   R R R

Introduced

Iowa   R R R
Nebraska   R* R
Ohio   R R R
South Carolina   R R R

* Nebraska’s legislature has only one chamber. It is technically nonpartisan but effectively controlled by Republicans.

Total bans on abortion pills

Recent action in eight states

Note: No state currently has a total ban on abortion pills. Texas and Indiana have existing partial bans on abortion pills at seven weeks and 10 weeks respectively.

Medication abortion — an abortion method that involves taking two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol — now accounts for more than 50 percent of abortions performed in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration lifted key restrictions on abortion pills in December, allowing abortion providers to send pills through the mail in states that do not already outlaw telemedicine for abortion care, a move that has prompted Republican lawmakers to crack down further on medication abortions.

Republican lawmakers in several states have introduced bills that would ban medication abortions entirely, while many more are pushing measures that would mandate in-person visits for abortion pills. Other GOP legislators have proposed bills that would compel abortion clinics to provide medically inaccurate information on “abortion reversal” when administering abortion pills, informing patients that they can reverse their abortions if they change their minds after taking the first pill, a regimen that has been widely denounced by leading medical associations.

States considering a total ban on abortion pills

South Dakota   R R R

Passed one chamber

Wyoming   R R R
Alabama   R R R

Introduced

Arizona   R R R
Illinois   D D D
Iowa   R R R
Missouri   R R R
Washington   D D D

Protecting the right to abortion

Previously enacted in 15 states and D.C., newly in effect in two states

Recent action in 15 states and D.C.*

* Eight states already have laws protecting the right to abortion but are considering further protections.

With Roe in jeopardy, many Democratic-led states are moving to pass laws that protect the right to abortion within their borders. While most of these states are trying to codify Roe in state statute, several are moving to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions.

[What questions do you have about abortion legislation in the U.S.? Ask The Post.]

Other states are trying to create abortion “sanctuaries” inside their borders, working to pass laws that will make it easier for people to travel to their clinics from antiabortion states.

States considering protecting the right to abortion

Colorado   D D D

In effect

New Jersey   D D D
Washington  

Set to take effect in early July

D D D

Signed into law

Vermont   Read more »

Through a constitutional amendment

D D R

Becomes ballot measure

Maryland  

Through law and a constitutional amendment. Set to take effect in July.

D D R

Gov. veto overridden

Connecticut  

Through law and a constitutional amendment

D D D

Passed one chamber

California   D D D

Introduced

District of Columbia  
Florida   R R R
Illinois  

Through a constitutional amendment

D D D
Kentucky   R R D
Maine   D D D
Michigan  

Through law and a constitutional amendment

R R D
Minnesota   D R D
Missouri   R R R
New Hampshire  

Through law and a constitutional amendment

R R R
Pennsylvania   R R D
Wisconsin   R R D
About this story

Sources: Post reporting; Elizabeth Nash, Principal Policy Associate for State Issues at the Guttmacher Institute; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and National Conference of State Legislatures.



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