With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, states are expected to pursue a wide range of abortion laws, including near-total bans or unlimited access through all nine months of pregnancy.
“We have about 20 states where to some degree or another abortion is outlawed,” Dr. Kevin Roberts, Heritage Foundation president, told The Daily Wire. “We have the opportunity to expand that number to a majority of states over the next several months.”
In all 50 states, pregnancies can be ended to protect the physical health of the mother, meaning there is technically no state where abortion will be entirely banned. Another common example of this scenario would be situations such as ectopic pregnancies. Similarly, no state has laws on the books that would criminalize pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage, even if it is the direct result of induced abortion.
In addition, no state criminalizes women who obtain abortions, with only doctors possibly being prosecuted in pro-life states. Some states, however, plan on significantly restricting elective abortions.
There are currently nine states that are expected to initiate total bans with no exceptions aside from when the life of the mother is in danger. Those include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Texas, and possibly West Virginia and Wisconsin, depending on future litigation. In some of those states, women can terminate if the fetus has significant health problems, but for the most part, the procedure is almost completely restricted.
Another seven states are expected to initiate near-total bans, but they will add exceptions for rape and incest, as well as a life-of-the-mother exception. Those include Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.
Another nine states have established, or plan to impose, pre-viability restrictions, in some cases as soon as the baby has an independent heartbeat, at around six weeks, or sometimes several weeks later, but prior to viability. Those states include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Ohio. For reference, this is the approximate standard range in most of the developed world. With a couple of notable exceptions like the United Kingdom, European countries restrict abortion after about 12 weeks. Viability is typically defined at around 22-24 weeks, which is when the baby can survive outside of the womb.
There are also around two dozen states that will most likely expand access or maintain current access, either through solidifying it in the state constitution or through other means.
There are 13 states with very few restrictions before the point of viability. These include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (depending on litigation), Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.
Lastly, some states have virtually no restrictions on elective abortion. Those states include Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, as well as the District of Colombia.
None of these laws are set in stone, and a lot of them are expected to evolve in the next few months. Some of these laws will likely be tied up in courts or blocked by governors before they go into effect. For example, Wisconsin’s total ban has been on the books since 1849, so the legislature will likely make an update to the wording that better represents the will of Wisconsin’s present-day electorate. Also, in some of these cases, like New Mexico, the state constitution doesn’t address abortion, but going forward the legislature could add language to address the issue.
States with laws that explicitly protect abortion are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.
New Jersey, Montana, and Oregon protect abortion in their state constitutions and California lawmakers pushed to get a measure on the ballot for this fall that would let voters add a constitutional amendment protecting abortion in the constitution. Kansas voters will decide this summer whether to alter the constitution to declare there is no right to an abortion, but it is currently protected by state law.