Posted by on August 5, 2022 6:37 pm
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What’s the status of abortion bans across the country a month after Roe overturned?

More than one month has passed since the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to abortion in striking down Roe v. Wade. 

Justice Samuel Alito said in his majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June that Roe was “egregiously wrong” from the start, and the issue of abortion rights should be returned to the states. 

After the ruling, trigger laws banning or severely restricting abortion went into effect in more than a dozen states automatically or after certification from state officials. But several states’ laws have been blocked in court while they await legal processes to play out. 

Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates scored a major victory on Tuesday when voters in in Kansas rejected a ballot question that would have amended the state constitution to say that it did not protect abortion rights. 

Here’s the status of abortion bans throughout the country. 

Alabama 

Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a bill into law in 2019 that banned abortion in almost all cases, except for when the life of the mother is at risk. There are no exceptions for cases of rape and incest. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from being enforced that year, but it was lifted after Roe was overturned. 

Arizona 

A century-old law that went into effect at the start of the 1900s before Arizona became a state bans abortion except for when the mother’s life is at risk. State Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) has said he plans to enforce the ban and asked a court last month to lift an order against it that has been in place since shortly after Roe was decided in 1973. 

Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a 15-week abortion ban into law in March and has insisted that it takes precedence over the total ban. 

Almost all clinics across the state ceased providing abortion services after the Supreme Court ruling over fear of facing charges. 

Arkansas 

State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) certified Roe’s overturning on the day the court announced the decision, triggering the state’s law banning abortion except to save the life of the mother in medical emergencies. 

Georgia 

A federal appeals court allowed Georgia’s six-week abortion ban to go into effect last month after a lower court had previously blocked the law. The state bans abortions after an ultrasound can detect a fetal heartbeat, which is before many women know they are pregnant, with exceptions for rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother. 

The law also updates the definition of “person” to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development. 

Idaho 

Idaho’s abortion law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy is set to go into effect on Aug. 25. Exceptions would exist for rape, incest and saving the mother’s life, but rape or incest victims would have to provide a copy of a police report to a physician performing the abortion. 

Doctors could still face prosecution for performing an abortion if a patient is suffering from severe preeclampsia and could be considered to have had performed an abortion for treating an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage complications. 

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the state’s law, arguing that it should not be enforced in cases where an abortion is necessary for medical emergencies. 

Iowa 

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in June, shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, that the state constitution does not protect abortion, overturning a 2018 state supreme court ruling. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) requested in late June that Iowa courts lift an injunction against a 2018 state law she signed to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, about after six weeks of pregnancy. 

The state currently restricts abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Kentucky 

A state appeals court judge allowed Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban to go into effect on Monday while legal arguments over the law occur after a lower court temporarily blocked it in late June. The law includes exceptions to the ban to protect the life or health of the mother but not for rape or incest. 

Louisiana 

Louisiana’s abortion ban was reinstated again on Friday after being paused and restored multiple times. The law includes exceptions for the life of the mother but not for rape or incest. An exception also exists for pregnancies that are “medically futile,” meaning the fetus would not survive on its own after birth. 

A preliminary injunction issued July 21 against Louisiana’s trigger law allowed the state’s abortion clinics to provide abortions for about a week before the ban was put back in place. 

Michigan 

A judge issued a temporary order on Monday blocking state prosecutors from enforcing a 1931 abortion ban that only includes exceptions for protecting the mother’s life. The judge extended the order at least two weeks on Wednesday, according to The Detroit News. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats, have said they do not plan to enforce the ban, but some county prosecutors are attempting to enforce it in their counties. Both are up for reelection this November. 

Mississippi 

The state’s 15-week abortion ban was the subject of the Dobbs case that saw Roe overturned, but the state also has a trigger ban that took effect one week into July. The last remaining abortion clinic in the state, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, relocated to New Mexico one day before the ban took effect after a judge refused to temporarily block the ban. 

The law permits exceptions for saving the life of the mother and pregnancies resulting from rape that is reported to law enforcement but not for incest. 

Missouri 

Missouri was one of the first states to ban abortion through a trigger law after Roe was overturned. The only exception is in cases of medical emergency, according to the Kansas City Star. 

North Dakota 

A judge temporarily blocked the state’s trigger law from taking effect on Wednesday, allowing North Dakota’s one remaining abortion clinic to continue operating for now. The ban restricts abortions unless the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life and for rape and incest. 

The legal dispute is centered on whether state Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R) correctly took the necessary steps for the law to go into effect based on when the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs was official. Wrigley told The Hill that the law would take effect on Aug. 26. 

Ohio 

A state law banning most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected about six weeks into pregnancy took effect after Roe was overturned. The ban includes exceptions for saving the life of the mother and to prevent a “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment” of a major bodily function of the mother. 

Oklahoma 

Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill into law banning abortion at conception in late May, before the Supreme Court’s decision came out. Physicians are only allowed to perform an abortion if it is necessary to save the mother’s life, or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest that is reported to law enforcement. 

South Carolina 

Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed legislation that banned most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected last year. The law allows exceptions for medical emergencies and in cases of rape or incest. 

A judge declined to block the law from going into effect late last month as the state Supreme Court considers a challenge to it from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, Reuters reported

South Dakota 

The state’s trigger law banning abortions except for when the life of the mother is at risk went into effect immediately after Roe was overturned. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said in late June that she brought forward a bill to ban telemedicine appointments that women can use to obtain prescription abortion pills online. 

Tennessee 

Current state law bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected after a federal court lifted an injunction against the law in the aftermath of Roe being overturned. 

The Tennessean reported that a trigger law that will ban all abortions will take effect on Aug. 25. The law will not include any exceptions for rape or incest. It will also only provide an “affirmative defense” instead of an exception for doctors who perform abortions to save the life of the mother, to be used after having been arrested for performing an abortion. 

Texas 

The Supreme Court declined to block Texas’s six-week abortion ban in September as it was set to consider the Dobbs case. The law includes exceptions for medical emergencies but not rape or incest. 

The Texas Supreme Court ruled last month that the state can also enforce a 1925 law that opens abortion providers to fines and lawsuits, The Texas Tribune reported. A trigger law banning most abortions, except those to save the mother’s life, will take effect on Aug. 25. 

Utah 

Utah’s trigger law took effect immediately after Roe was overturned by was temporarily blocked three days later. The ban would include exceptions for rape or incest or the fetus having a severe fetal “brain abnormality,” along with protecting the life of the mother. 

Abortion is currently allowed up to 18 weeks into the pregnancy. 

West Virginia 

A judge blocked the state’s 150-year-old abortion ban last month in a preliminary injunction as a case on the merits of the law proceeds. The state legislature is in the process of developing a bill to ban abortion in light of the legal uncertainty of the old law. 

In the meantime, abortion is legal in West Virginia through 20 weeks of pregnancy, but only one clinic currently operates in the state. 

Wisconsin 

Wisconsin has a 173-year-old abortion ban on the books that restricts the procedure except to save the mother’s life. Gov. Tony Evers (D) and state Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) announced a lawsuit in late June to challenge the ban, and Evers announced he plans to grant clemency to any doctors charged under the ban. 

But abortion providers stopped offering the procedure after Roe was overturned. 

Wyoming 

A state trigger law was set to take effect late last month before a judge temporarily blocked it following a lawsuit claiming it violates the state constitution. The law includes exceptions for rape and incest and to protect the mother’s life or physical health, according to the Cheyenne-based CBS affiliate KGWN. 

Abortion remains legal up to the point of viability while the legal challenge plays out.

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