Tracking State Attacks on Abortion Rights in Donald Trump's America

Tracking State Attacks on Abortion Rights in Donald Trump's America
Image via AP.

Jezebel is tracking abortion laws across the country , from announcements to legislation and inevitable court battles. If you’re aware of new legislation in your state that we’ve missed, please email tips@jezebel.com with the subject line: “State Abortion Law.”

Earlier this year, Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to appointing a Supreme Court Justice who would be willing to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Women, Trump told 60 Minutes, will “have to go to another state.” The problem, of course, is that going to other states isn’t an option for millions of women, particularly for women in vast swaths of the South and Midwest where abortion access has been eroded by a series of state laws. Though Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt overturned TRAP laws in Texas and numerous states that had followed Texas’s example, states legislators—many of them perhaps inspired by what they hope is a more friendly climate to anti-choice legislation—continue to find inventive new ways to target reproductive health.

Throughout this legislative year, Jezebel will be following abortion legislation in every state, updating where they are in either the legislative or judicial process. In the process, we hope to identify legislative trends emerging among anti-choice legislators and groups, as well as provide a regularly updated guide to abortion laws in your state.

Hellerstedt was a major victory for reproductive health, but between waiting periods, post-20 week bans, and bills that mandate the burial of fetal remains, there are still plenty of laws worth keeping an eye on. We’ll use this space to do so.


24-Hour Waiting Period: Florida’s 24-hour waiting period was signed into law in 2015 by Governor Rick Scott. The law was appealed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Gainesville-based clinic. At first, the ACLU was granted a stay, preventing the law from going into effect while their challenge worked its way through the courts but that was lifted by the 1 District Court of Appeals. ACLU appealed to Florida’s Supreme Court which heard arguments in early November. To be clear, the Florida Supreme Court is not ruling on the legality of the waiting period, they are set to rule on whether or not the temporary stay should be re-extended while the lawsuit winds its way through court.

Status: Waiting for a ruling from Florida’s Supreme Court.Indiana

“Protection at Conception” Bill: Representative Curt Nisly said he will introduce this total abortion ban during the 2017 legislative session.

Status: Not yet introduced.Pennsylvania

House Bill 1948: This bill, which outlaws abortions past 20 weeks and renames second-trimester abortions “dismemberment abortion,” passed the state’s House in 2015. It failed to get through a special session of the of the Senate in mid-November, but it’s likely to be reintroduced in the 2017 session. Governor Tom Wolf has said that he would veto the bill, but Pennsylvania Republicans will again have a veto-proof majority in 2017.

Status: Likely to be reintroduced.Texas

House Bill 87: Filed by Representative Matt Schafer, the bill would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after 20 weeks. The bill has two exceptions, one for the “physical or mental health of the woman,” and another if the fetus is unviable and the pregnancy has not progressed to the third trimester. Language that allowed exceptions for cases of “severe and irreversible abnormality” of the fetus was removed from the bill.

Status: Proposal filed for the 2017 legislative session.

House Bill 201: Filed by Representative Byron Cook, the bill requires the burial or cremation of both aborted and miscarried fetuses. Under the legislation, health care providers that violate the law will be liable for a “civil penalty” of $1,000 for each violation. The Texas Tribune notes that HB 201, “echoes a recent proposal from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, made at the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott.”

Status: Proposal filed for the 2017 legislative session.


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