Factbox-U.S. state abortion legislation to watch in 2023
FILE PHOTO: Protesters gather inside the South Carolina House as members debate a new near-total ban on abortion with no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest at the state legislature in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. August 30, 2022. REUTE
By Gabriella Borter and Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – State legislatures are wrestling with how much to restrict or expand abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Here is a snapshot of pending and passed legislation seeking to restrict or protect access in 2023.
FLORIDA: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in April signed a six-week abortion ban, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, human trafficking and the life and health of the mother. It cannot take effect until the state Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the 15-week ban that is currently in place.
IDAHO: Idaho Governor Brad Little signed into law a bill in April that makes it illegal to help a minor cross state lines to get an abortion 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 near-total abortion ban, with exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.
MONTANA: Montana Governor Greg Gianforte in May signed into law several bills limiting abortion access, including one that aims to overturn a 1999 state Supreme Court ruling that found the state constitution protected a right to abortion.
Another new law bans most second trimester abortions by prohibiting a common surgical procedure. Planned Parenthood has asked a state judge to temporarily block the measure.
NEBRASKA: Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen on Monday signed into law a bill restricting gender-affirming care for minors that was amended to also prohibit abortions for pregnancies beyond 12 weeks. Abortion was formerly legal in the state up to 22 weeks.
The same law also bans “gender-altering surgery” and places restrictions on hormone therapy and puberty-blocking drugs for transgender people under 19.
NORTH CAROLINA: Republican lawmakers in May overrode Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto to enact a law limiting most abortions to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest, life-limiting fetal anomalies and the life of the mother. Abortion was formerly legal up to 20 weeks in the state. The measure also requires doctors to be present when abortion medication is given and requires those seeking medical abortions to have an in-person consultation with a doctor 72 hours before the procedure.
NORTH DAKOTA: North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum in April signed a bill that bans abortion with exceptions for cases where the mother’s life or health are at serious risk. The law, which took immediate effect, also makes exceptions for rape and incest victims, but only during the first six weeks of pregnancy.
The measure passed despite the state Supreme Court’s decision not to revive a previous version of the near-total ban, after finding that the state constitution protects abortion rights in some cases.
SOUTH CAROLINA: The Republican-led legislature on Tuesday passed a “fetal heartbeat” bill to ban abortions about six weeks into pregnancy, before most people know they are pregnant. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has vowed to sign it into law, and reproductive rights groups promised to sue the state immediately after.
A similar six-week ban passed last year was ruled unconstitutional in a 3-2 decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court in January. One of the justices in the majority has since retired, leaving it unclear how the court will rule on the new measure.
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: Republican Governor Spencer Cox in March signed legislation to prohibit the licensing of abortion clinics, which abortion rights advocates say would effectively eliminate access in the state. Abortion is currently banned after 18 weeks in Utah.
WYOMING: The Republican-led state legislature passed a bill in March banning the use or prescription of medication abortion pills, and Republican Governor Mark Gordon signed it into law. It is due to take effect July 1. Abortion is currently legal until viability, about 24 weeks, while a state court is reviewing a challenge to a near-total “trigger” ban, which took effect when Roe v. Wade was overturned.
CALIFORNIA: A Democratic state senator has introduced a bill to protect doctors who prescribe medication abortion pills to patients in other states.
MICHIGAN: Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation in April repealing a 1931 bill that criminalized abortion.
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. The Democratic-led House passed a bill to shield abortion providers and patients from other states’ legal attacks, and the Senate is considering it.
OHIO: Abortion rights supporters are trying to collect enough signatures by July to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2023 ballot that would assert a right to abortion. Abortion is currently legal up to 22 weeks.