March 29, 2023

The new effective laws deliver on conservative promises to ban abortion in as many states as possible soon after the Supreme Court’s decision to Roe v. Wade in June and will provide virtually no access to the procedure for much of the South and Plains states. The laws may also make it more difficult for people to access non-abortion care, including miscarriage and family planning.

In Texas, where all abortions are banned for nearly a year after about six weeks of pregnancy, abortion providers now face a life sentence for performing an abortion at any time during the pregnancy unless the pregnant person’s life is in danger.

Traveling outside of Texas for an abortion “was hard enough, but now we have large blocks of the country that are abortion deserts without any supplier,” said Abigail Aiken, an associate professor and researcher focusing on abortion at the University of Texas at Austin. . “All of these trigger bans going into effect at the same time change the picture.”

While many people don’t know they’re pregnant six weeks after conception, Aiken cited her own research and data from the Texas Health Department to argue that a total ban — even with exceptions — is an order of magnitude more restrictive than a law prohibiting abortion. prohibits after fetal cardiac activity is detected. For example, in the first month after the Texas law went into effect, the number of abortions in the state fell by about half compared to the previous year.

“What we saw in Texas was that online requests for abortion pills had tripled and more people were traveling out of the state,” Aiken said. “But abortions were still given below the six-week pregnancy limit. We saw that due to the new time pressure, people became more aware that they had to quickly recognize and deal with a pregnancy.”

See also  in UKMore than 84,000 UK Babies Miss Health Checks within Two Weeks of Birth

The same could happen in Tennessee, where abortion is now banned unless necessary to save the pregnant person’s life. The state law banning abortions after the discovery of fetal heart activity goes one step further.

Governor Bill Lee, earlier this week, introduced to local media that the new law provides adequate protection for doctors performing emergency abortions, even though the law does not specify exactly what would be covered by the exemption for the protection of the mother’s life.

Some Republican lawmakers have suggested they want to refine the bill, though Lee told reporters he thinks the law already provides treatment for dangerous maternal health problems.

In Idaho, the state bans all abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, and threats to the mother’s life — and the Biden administration is currently battling in federal court over whether patients at risk for severe but non-life-threatening disabilities have the right to the proceedings.

And in North Dakota, the state’s only abortion clinic has already moved across the border to Minnesota, though it’s still in court to challenge the state’s abortion law — which goes into effect Friday.

Access to abortion is likely to decline further in other GOP-controlled states in the coming months. In Indiana, a new law will go into effect Sept. 15 banning abortion except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly and life-threatening situations.

South Carolina lawmakers, meeting next week, are debating a bill that would ban abortion from conception, with no exceptions for rape and incest. The state’s ban on abortions that occur after heart activity is detected has been blocked by the state’s Supreme Court. And in West Virginia, lawmakers are deadlocked over a bill to reduce the pre-roe abortion law.

See also  NFL Week 13 picks: Dolphins shock 49ers, Bengals upset Chiefs, Titans stun 10-1 Eagles

Even if those bills pass, red state lawmakers say they could make other abortion-related proposals in the future, especially to counter measures to strengthen access to abortion in blue states.

“This won’t be the end,” said West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo. “Something bad is happening in California. It’s going to be a heated discussion here in West Virginia.”

And courts are temporarily blocking enforcement of sweeping restrictions in five other states — Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Utah and Wyoming — as the trial against them progresses.

Lawsuits currently underway in both Idaho and Texas that could reach the Supreme Court will also determine what rights both pregnant patients and abortion providers have in emergencies.

“Who is going to decide what care patients receive if they experience a major medical emergency during pregnancy?” said Jeff Dubner, an attorney at Democracy Forward, who represents medical groups in both cases. “Will it be the doctor sitting in the room with them calling based on their decades-long studies, or will it be legislators with no medical expertise?”

Explore the map below to learn more about the status of abortion in each state as of Wednesday night.