© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Anti-abortion rights activists stand outside of the Bread and Roses Woman’s Health Center, a clinic that provides abortions while women arrive to receive patient care in Clearwater, Florida, U.S. February 11, 2023. REUTERS/Octavio Jones
By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – Battles over abortion are heating up in state capitols across the United States as lawmakers wrestle with how much to restrict or expand access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Here is a snapshot of state legislation seeking to restrict or protect abortion access in 2023.
FLORIDA: While the 15-week abortion ban signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis last year is being challenged in court, Republican state lawmakers have said they are considering pursuing stricter measures, such as a 12-week ban. DeSantis has said he would sign a ban on abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy if the Republican-controlled legislature passes such a measure.
KANSAS: Although Kansans voted in favor of state abortion rights on a ballot measure last year, the Republican-led Senate has passed a prohibition on prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine. The House is now considering the measure.
IDAHO: Lawmakers in Idaho have introduced legislation that would make it illegal to help a minor get an abortion in another state without the permission of a parent or guardian. Offenders would face two to five years in prison. The Republican-led state is currently enforcing a total abortion ban.
MONTANA: The Republican-led state Senate has passed a bill seeking to overturn a 1999 state supreme court ruling that found that the state constitution protected a right to abortion. That ruling has prevented lawmakers in the conservative state from restricting abortion further than the current 24-week limit. The bill will next be considered by the House.
The House on Friday passed legislation seeking to ban abortion after 12 weeks and is also considering a bill this year that would limit abortion access for Medicaid patients.
NEBRASKA: Republicans in Nebraska’s 50-seat unicameral legislature have introduced a six-week abortion ban, which looks likely to pass due to the conservative makeup of its members. Abortion is currently legal in the state up to 22 weeks.
NORTH DAKOTA: The state supreme court is due to rule on a challenge to a trigger ban – a total abortion ban that immediately went into effect when Roe was overturned – but which has since been blocked while the case proceeds. In the meantime, Republican lawmakers are moving a bill to allow abortions for rape and incest cases before six weeks’ gestation, intending to clarify the ban.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Despite the fact that the state supreme court recently struck down a six-week abortion ban in a 3-2 vote, Republicans have introduced a near-total abortion ban and a six-week ban this year. Both bills have passed one chamber; the Senate has passed the six-week ban, which includes some exceptions, and the House has passed the near-total ban.
TEXAS: While abortion is completely banned with very limited exceptions in Texas, Republican state representatives have introduced legislation that would compel internet providers to block websites that supply abortion pills or provide information on how to obtain an abortion.
UTAH: The legislature passed a bill this week that would prohibit the licensing of abortion clinics, which abortion rights advocates say would effectively eliminate access in the state. The measure now heads to Republican Governor Spencer Cox for signing. Abortion is currently banned after 18 weeks in the state.
WYOMING: The Republican-led legislature passed a bill on Thursday banning the use or prescription of medication abortion pills, and the bill now heads to Republican Governor Mark Gordon. Abortion is legal until viability, about 24 weeks, while a state court is reviewing a challenge to a near-total trigger ban.
WEST VIRGINIA: Republican state senators have introduced a bill to remove the rape and incest exceptions from the state’s near-total abortion ban, which is currently in effect.
MICHIGAN: The Democratic-led House has passed a bill to repeal a nearly century-old law on the books that bans abortion. It is expected to also pass the Democratic-led Senate.
ILLINOIS: Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker in January signed a law protecting abortion providers and out-of-state patients from legal attacks waged by other states.
MINNESOTA: Democratic Governor Tim Walz in January signed legislation passed by the Minnesota legislature’s new Democratic majority that codifies abortion rights in state law, as well as a right to contraception and fertility treatment. House Democrats have introduced a bill to shield abortion providers and patients from other states’ legal attacks.
OHIO: The attorney general this week certified a petition to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2023 ballot that would assert a right to abortion. The ballot proposal next heads to the Ohio Ballot Board for consideration.