How Each State Differs On Abortion Laws
Demonstrators Attend Nationwide Protest In Support Of Abortion Rights A demonstrator holds a sign during a national walk out in support of abortion rights at the University of Washington's Red Square in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Thursday, May 5, 2022. For decades the fight to end abortion in America has been waged over Roe v. Wade. With the Supreme Court poised to overturn the landmark decision that legalized a woman's right to choose, the fight to stop abortion is going to become a fight about a pill. Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg / Contributor
Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

States have moved in both directions on the topic of abortion over the past year or so in anticipation of a possible ruling on Roe vs. Wade. 

According to a Guttmacher Institute report, 23 states have legislation that could be utilized to limit abortion. As The New York Times pointed out, some states had abortion bans in place before the Roe decision took effect in 1973, including Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. If Roe is overturned, as is expected, those old laws could become active again. 

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer already filed a lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to clear up the issue, and she is openly pro-choice. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers – a Democrat – has vetoed pro-life bills in the past. 

Other states put abortion bans on the books after Roe, with the intention that they would likely go into effect if the Supreme Court let them. These are often called “trigger” laws. They have different parameters, but those states include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. 

According to Guttmacher, seven states have “laws that express the intent to restrict the right to legal abortion to the maximum extent permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the absence of Roe,” and nine states have post-Roe limitations that are currently blocked in the courts.

Four states, including Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia, have amended their state constitutions to specifically exclude the right to an abortion. 

Some states have moved in the opposite direction to expand access to abortion, and make it even more accessible to women, especially for women who may travel from more restrictive states to obtain the procedure. 

Four states have moved to allow abortion throughout the full term of pregnancy, including Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont. The District of Columbia also has this provision.

Colorado and California in particular have some of the most permissive laws. Colorado recently passed a bill that specifically states that a fetus does not have human rights prior to birth.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has expressed a goal for California to become a destination for abortion if and when women are restricted in neighboring states. California Democrats in the state legislature have also pushed for a bill that bars the state from fully investigating perinatal deaths, including infant deaths within the first week of birth. 

As The Daily Wire previously reported, the bill, “AB 2223, which passed the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, states that mothers cannot be held liable for either civil or criminal penalties ‘based on their actions or omissions’ connected to a ‘perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.’”

Earlier this year, Newsom also signed the Abortion Accessibility Act, which in most situations, makes abortion taxpayer funded. 

Politico leaked a draft majority opinion titled, “Opinion of the Court” written by Justice Samuel Alito, and joined by the four other conservative-leaning justices. Alito wrote, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,”adding, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” 

If this decision becomes final, it will be up to each state to legislate whether or how they want to limit abortion access.

If Roe is overturned, local voters will be able to decide their own rules based on their values. Based on opinion polling, the majority of Americans, almost 7 in 10, favor having some access to abortion.

More than half of voters think the limit should be around 15 weeks, however, which is comparable to the standard throughout most of Europe. It’s likely there will be a lot of diversity among the states, with a handful banning it outright, but most falling somewhere in the middle.

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