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Tracking How Abortion Legal Battles Are Heating Up in a Post-Roe World

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Aug 8, 2022

Last updated on Aug. 8.

It's a post-Roe world, and state abortion laws are changing all over the country — and fast. Some states have already banned the procedure. And legal challenges are popping up across the country to fight trigger laws that are in effect or are about to be soon. 

Meanwhile, the Biden admin is taking steps to shore up access to the procedure. President Biden has signed two executive orders protecting abortion access. One promotes safety for abortion providers, patients, and clinics. While the other helps women forced to travel out of state for abortion care. Plus, the Department of Justice filed its first lawsuit to protect abortion access. But since the executive branch doesn't have the power to restore abortion rights nationwide, it’s up to states to fend for themselves.

To clear up the 50 states of confusion, theSkimm is tracking the abortion bans that are facing challenges. We'll be updating this page regularly to keep you informed and up to date.

States facing lawsuits over abortion bans

Florida

The legal battle over Florida’s 15-week abortion ban presses on. In June, abortion providers filed a lawsuit against the ban, saying it violated the state constitution's privacy provision. After some legal back-and-forth, the Sunshine State allowed the ban to go into effect. And on July 21, an appeals judge doubled down on the decision and rejected another bid from providers to lift the ban. 

Meanwhile, a number of religious leaders have filed a lawsuit against the state’s 15-week ban. Arguing that it infringes on religious liberties. (Example: Judaism supports abortion if it's necessary for the health and well-being of the mother.) The plaintiffs are part of a variety of religious groups: Judaism, Buddhism, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Status of abortion: Legal until 15 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. Or a fetal abnormality. But no exemptions in cases of rape, incest, or human trafficking.

Idaho 

Idaho is tied up with abortion lawsuits. On Aug. 2, the Biden admin filed a lawsuit against the state’s trigger law. Which is expected to take effect Aug. 25. It bans all abortions except when they’re necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. But not for other medical emergencies that put the person’s health at risk. The DOJ says that violates federal law (specifically, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.) 

This lawsuit comes amid three other suits filed by a regional Planned Parenthood. One focuses on the same ban that the Biden admin is suing over. Another focuses on the state’s six-week abortion ban — which is set to go into effect around Aug. 19. And the last targets a law currently on pause that would allow people to sue providers who perform abortions on their family members. On Aug. 3, the state's Supreme Courtheard arguments for the last two lawsuits. It’s unclear if the third one was addressed too.

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability (aka around 24 to 28 weeks), with exceptions for life endangerment. But that would change if the trigger law goes into effect.

Kentucky

On Aug. 1, a state appeals court reinstated both Kentucky’s trigger law and six-week ban. Meaning, abortions are illegal at all stages of pregnancy. And health providers who perform them can face up to five years in prison. Both laws had been previously blocked, in response to lawsuits from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. They argued that the bans violate the state's constitution. Now, AG Daniel Cameron (R), who has been outspoken in his fight against abortion rights, said he “appreciate[d] the court’s decision.”

Status of abortion: Illegal at all stages. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

Louisiana 

In late July, the state’s near-total abortion ban took effect once again while legal challenges continue to play out in court. This is now the third time the ban has been turned on after a weeks-long back and forth about the state’s trigger law. AG Jeff Landry (R) has said he looks “forward to ending this legal circus.” But abortion providers have reportedly filed another appeal for the state to block the ban again. Unclear when the state’s Supreme Court could make a decision.

Status of abortion: Abortion is banned. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. Or a lethal fetal anomaly. But not for rape or incest.

Michigan 

On Aug. 1, a state judge said local prosecutors can’t enforce the state’s pre-Roe ban. Meaning: At this point, the ban is temporarily unenforceable on both the state and local level. The ban, passed in 1931, would outlaw abortions except if the mother's life is at risk. And would make performing an abortion a felony.

Meanwhile, the state’s governor is still fighting to protect abortion access. Back in April, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) filed a suit asking the state's high court to strike down a pre-Roe ban — saying it violates the state's constitution. She's pressed the court multiple times for an answer, but has continually come up short on a response. 

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability, with exceptions if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. But this would change if the pre-Roe law goes into effect. 

PS: Our "Skimm This" team talked to Gov. Whitmer about her state's fight for abortion rights. Check out the interview here.

North Dakota

On July 27, a judge put the state’s trigger ban on hold while a lawsuit against the measure plays out. North Dakota's only abortion clinic filed a lawsuit arguing that the procedure is protected by the state's constitution. It’s unclear when a decision on that will be made.

Status of abortion: Legal until 22 weeks after LMP. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. But this could change, depending on the lawsuit’s outcome.

Oklahoma

On July 1, abortion providers filed a lawsuit with the state’s Supreme Court, challenging two abortion bans. One, a pre-Roe ban reinstated by the state's AG after Roe was overturned. And two, a law from earlier this year that makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to a decade in prison. 

The suit was filed by abortion orgs like Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Justice, the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, and the Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic. They argue that the laws violate personal liberty guaranteed by the state’s constitution. TBD if or when the suit will be heard. 

Status of abortion: Banned at fertilization. Exceptions for life endangerment of the patient, rape, and incest.

South Carolina

On July 26, a judge let the state's six-week abortion ban stand while a case challenging the law continues. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Greenville Women’s Clinic, and two doctors argue the law violates the state’s constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection. Abortion rights activists hoped the judge would block the six-week ban. And called the ruling “another blow to South Carolinians’ reproductive freedom.” The case is now being transferred to the state Supreme Court. But TBD when it’ll be heard.

In the meantime, lawmakers are working on a bill that would ban access to nearly all abortions. And another that would outlaw websites that tell people how to get abortions. 

Status of abortion: Legal until six weeks of pregnancy. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient, rape, and incest.

Utah

On July 11, a judge allowed a temporary block on Utah's trigger law to continue. This comes two weeks after the judge first hit pause on the ban, with the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filing a lawsuit and arguing it violates the state's constitution. The judge said it should stay blocked while the lawsuit plays out in court. TBD when that could wrap up.

Status of abortion: Abortions up to 18 weeks are legal, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and to a woman’s life.

West Virginia 

Earlier in July, a judge blocked officials from enforcing a 19th-century ban on abortions. Allowing the procedure to continue. That came after abortion providers filed a lawsuit to stop the pre-Roe abortion ban from going into effect. The suit argues that lawmakers have passed provisions that conflict with the pre-Roe abortion law over the years. 

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are having a hard time taking matters into their own hands. During its special sessions, the Senate and House both passed different abortion restriction bills. And it ended without a consensus in place. Unclear when they may reconvene to decide on a bill.

Status of abortion: Legal up to 22 weeks after LMP, with exceptions for health or life endangerment of the patient. Though that could change depending on what lawmakers may pass in the near future.

Wisconsin 

On June 27, Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul (D) filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban. The law, passed in 1849, would criminalize abortions. And only has exceptions for life endangerment. Both Kaul and Gov. Tony Evers (D) argue that the law is so outdated that it’s unenforceable. Because there are modern laws that supersede it.

While district attorneys have indicated they wouldn’t enforce the ban, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has still turned away abortion seekers in fear of violating the law — and over confusion about whether it’s in effect. In the meantime, it’s working with Planned Parenthood of Illinois to provide out-of-state abortion care to Wisconsin residents. Wisconsin’s Planned Parenthood is sending healthcare providers across state lines multiple times a week. And helping fund transportation for abortion seekers traveling to Illinois for care.

Status of abortion: Unclear.

Wyoming

On July 27, a judge temporarily blocked the state’s trigger law — hours before it was supposed to take effect. The decision came after a women’s health clinic and other abortion activists filed a lawsuit against the ban. And claimed it violated rights guaranteed by the state’s constitution. The law would’ve banned nearly all abortions. And anyone who provided an abortion could’ve gotten up to 14 years in prison. TBD on when a more permanent decision is made.

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. 

States to keep on watch for future bans and restrictions

Arizona

Before Arizona became a state in 1912, a near-total abortion ban was passed. It outlawed abortions in most instances, except to save the life of a mother. And anyone who helped someone get an abortion could face two to five years in prison. It was blocked in 1973 once the Supremes announced a federal right to an abortion. 

But on July 13, Arizona's AG filed a motion to lift the injunction — which would allow the ban to go into effect. Since Roe was overturned, providers across the state stopped providing procedures. And leaned on the side of caution, in fear of the old law being enforced. On July 20, Planned Parenthood of Arizona asked the state to clear up and “harmonize” regulations. 

What’s adding to the confusion confusion: In September, a 15-week abortion ban is set to take effect — which Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed into law earlier this year. It's unclear which ban would take precedent at that point. 

Plus, a federal judge blocked Arizona’s abortion personhood law, which gives unborn children the same legal rights as other living people. Abortion providers called upon the judge to block it, citing vagueness.

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

States that have implemented bans since Roe’s reversal

Georgia

Abortions are now banned at six weeks. On July 20, a federal appeals court allowed a ‘fetal heartbeat’ law — which was passed in 2019 — to go into effect. It had previously been blocked by a federal judge, who ruled it unconstitutional since it violated a woman’s right to an abortion. Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, the federal appeals court says the law is in the clear. Health care providers and advocacy groups have since filed a lawsuit challenging the six-week ban. And are claiming it violates privacy protections guaranteed under the state Constitution. 

Status of abortion: Legal until six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. Or in cases of rape or incest, as long as a police report has been filed.

Indiana

On Aug. 5, Indiana became the first state to pass a new abortion ban since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The state’s new law bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects, or if the mother’s life is at risk. And doctors who perform illegal abortions will lose their medical license.

Planned Parenthood called it an “egregious attack” on health care. And Indiana-based companies have condemned the law, saying it’ll make recruiting employees to the state more difficult. But Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said the new law “accomplishes" the goal of protecting life. The law is set to go into effect on Sept. 15.

Status of abortion: Legal until 22 weeks after LMP. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. But that’ll change in mid-September.

PS: theSkimm spoke with VP Kamala Harris about abortion access in Indiana. Here’s what she had to say.

Mississippi

On July 7, Mississippi’s trigger ban went into effect. And the state’s last abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, (aka the one at the center of the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade) closed down. This comes after a judge rejected the clinic’s request to block the state’s abortion ban. 

Meanwhile, an abortion pill maker is challenging the state’s trigger ban. GenBioPro Inc. added a new complaint to its existing 2020 lawsuit, claiming the trigger law is keeping their product off shelves. The company claims the ban shouldn’t take precedence over restrictions already in place by the FDA — which approved use of the drug up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. TBD on how that plays out. 

Status of abortion: Illegal. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. Or rape that has been reported to law enforcement. 

Ohio

On July 1, the Ohio Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block the state’s six-week abortion ban. Which went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood argued that the ban violated the constitution. But that didn't stop it from going into effect.

Hours later, the ban made headlines across the US. Especially in the case of a 10-year-old victim of sexual assault, who was denied an abortion in the state. And forced to travel to Indiana for care. The child was six weeks and three days pregnant. An Ohio man has since been arrested and charged with her rape. 

Status of abortion: Banned at six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions include life endangerment of the patient.

Texas

On July 1, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a total abortion ban from nearly a century ago could take effect. The decision came after a district judge temporarily blocked the 1925 abortion law earlier that week. Providers who violate the law could face up to five years in prison. On top of the total abortion ban, the state’s trigger law is set to go into effect on Aug. 25. Which allows the total ban to continue. 

Status of abortion: Illegal at any stage. Both the pre-Roe ban and the trigger law provide exceptions for life and health endangerment of the patient. 

States taking action to cement abortion rights

California 

On June 24, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill protecting abortion providers from out-of-state abortion bans. Three days later, state lawmakers gave the OK to adding a constitutional amendment to the November ballot. Specifically, Californians will decide whether to change their state’s constitution to protect their rights to an abortion

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability, with exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.  

Colorado

On July 6, Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an executive order strengthening the state’s abortion access. He added protections for abortion providers and abortion seekers — including people traveling from out of state. He also said the state wouldn’t cooperate with abortion investigations led by other states.

Status of abortion: Legal at all stages of pregnancy.

Connecticut

On July 1, a law went into effect that protects providers and patients from out-of-state abortion bans. Meaning: If a Connecticut abortion provider performs the procedure on an out-of-state patient, they’d be protected in lawsuits. Since they had a legal cause of action for giving the abortion in Connecticut.

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability, with exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

Delaware 

On June 29, Gov. John Carney (D) signed legislation expanding abortion access. It also protects abortion providers and seekers, including out-of-state residents.

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. Or if there is a lethal fetal anomaly.

Kansas

In an Aug. 2 referendum, more than 900,000 took their abortion opinions to the polls. Making Kansas the first state to vote on an abortion access measure since Roe was overturned. Nearly 60% of Kansans voted to preserve abortion protections, while about 40% voted to remove them. Meaning, abortion will remain a constitutional right. And Kansas can continue being a refuge for those living in nearby states with tighter restrictions (like Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) with tighter restrictions. Given that Kansas is a traditionally conservative state, abortion rights advocates say this vote is a major win.

Status of abortion: Legal until 22 weeks after LMP. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. 

Maine

On July 5, Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed an executive order protecting abortion access. She directed state agencies to review barriers to reproductive health care. And made it clear state agencies wouldn’t cooperate with other state’s abortion-related investigations. The measure also protects abortion providers from charges for providing care to out-of-state abortion seekers. Later that month, Mills said her admin is looking to add an amendment to protect abortion rights in the state’s Constitution. 

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

Massachusetts

On July 29, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a reproductive rights bill into law. The bill protects abortion providers in the state. And prevent patients from fronting abortion costs. Plus, it boosts access to emergency contraceptives

Status of abortion: Legal until 24 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient. Or if there is a lethal fetal anomaly.

Minnesota

On June 25, Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an executive order protecting abortion access. The measure shields people seeking, getting, assisting, and providing abortions from legal repercussions in other states. He also promised to reject out-of-state extradition requests. And said his office would continue being a “firewall against legislation that would reverse reproductive freedom.”

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability, with exceptions for health or life endangerment of the patient.

New Mexico

On June 27, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed an executive order safeguarding abortion access. The order says New Mexico won’t cooperate with other states that might interfere with abortion access in New Mexico. (Think: Not following through on arrest warrants from other states related to anti-abortion matters.) It also forbids state employees from helping other states investigate or take action against local abortion providers. 

Status of abortion: Legal at all stages of pregnancy.

Nevada

On June 28, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued an executive order protecting out-of-state abortion patients and providers from prosecution and extradition. He also promised that the state wouldn’t share patient information with outside law enforcement. And said he wanted to create safer access for women “seeking refuge from the restrictive laws in their state.”

Status of abortion: Legal until 24 weeks after LMP. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

New York

On July 1, the state legislature passed a measure that would make abortion and contraception a constitutional right. Known as the Equal Rights Amendment, it also aims to protect people from discrimination based on pregnancy, among other characteristics. But enshrining something in the state constitution is no walk in the park. It can take years. And involves approval by voters. By passing the measure this year, leaders may be able to get it approved and in front of voters by 2024. But TBD.

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability, with exceptions for health or life endangerment of the patient.

North Carolina

On July 6, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an executive order to protect the state’s reproductive health services. The EO protects abortion seekers in North Carolina and those traveling into the state from an area that outlaws the procedure. It says the state won’t extradite abortion providers to other states where they could be prosecuted. 

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

Pennsylvania 

On July 28, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led state legislature “for their unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion.” His lawsuit refers to state constitutional amendments GOP lawmakers are pursuing. Including one that says the state’s constitution doesn’t guarantee rights to abortion or public funding for abortions. Wolf said the General Assembly is trying to“dismantle access to abortion and implement a radical agenda."

In mid-July, Wolf also signed an executive order protecting people traveling from out of state for abortion services. The EO says those who help facilitate travel or assist with the procedure won’t face prosecution — unless their actions violate Pennsylvania’s laws around abortion.

Status of abortion: Legal until 24 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

Rhode Island

On July 5, Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed an executive order protecting access to abortion services. His order ensures abortion seekers wouldn’t be subject to legal liability from other states. It also protects Rhode Island abortion providers from potential out-of-state charges. 

Status of abortion: Legal until fetal viability. With exceptions for life or health endangerment of the patient.

Vermont

On July 6, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that residents will vote on a constitutional amendment that would protect reproductive rights in November. Which includes the right to an abortion. The state already protects abortion access under state law, but this measure would further protect abortion seekers. 

Status of abortion: Legal at all stages of pregnancy.

theSkimm

The reversal of Roe v. Wade has left abortion laws across the country in disarray. And with states now in control of their own laws, we're looking at potentially 50 different ways of handling access to the procedure. Avoid the confusion and come back here to check in on the latest changes.

PS: To learn how abortion advocacy orgs are moving forward post-Roe, check out our guide.

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