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.”

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

Hellerstedt was a major victory for reproductive health, but between waiting periods, 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.


Arkansas

Prohibition of Dilation and Evacuation Procedure: State Representative-Elect Andy Mayberry said that he will introduce a bill to outlaw D&E, a common second-trimester abortion procedure. Mayberry, who is the President of Arkansas Right to Life, said that the bill would also rename the procedure “dismemberment” abortion. He told the Associated Press that the ban was Arkansas Right to Life’s “top legislative priority.” Anti-choice groups in the state have also indicated that they will introduce legislation banning sex-selective abortion.

  • Status: Will be introduced in the 2017 session.

Florida

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.

Sponsored

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

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: Introduced by Reps. Joe Gruters and Don Hahnfeldt, HB 203 makes abortion illegal after 20 weeks. The bill makes performing an abortion after 20 weeks a third-degree felony unless there is there is a serious risk to the mother’s health. In addition, HB 203 mandates that abortion providers give the state’s Department of Health “detailed records containing specified data each time the physician performs or attempts to perform an abortion,” which will be shared with the public. The bill stops short of identifying the woman obtaining an abortion. Lastly, it requires that doctors, “to use an abortion method that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive the abortion in specified circumstances” if, under HB 203's definition, the fetus was determined to be able to feel pain.

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Status: Filed to the Florida House.

Idaho

Classify Abortion as First Degree Murder: A currently unnamed bill that Senator Dan Foreman plans to introduce would make abortion punishable as first-degree murder. Under Foreman’s bill, the woman obtaining and abortion and the doctor performing the procedure would both be criminally liable. There is an exception for when the woman’s life is in danger. “It would be groundbreaking,” Foreman said about the bill.

  • Status: Foreman plans to introduce the bill this session.

Indiana

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

Advertisement

  • Status: Not yet introduced.

Kentucky

20-Week Ban: The ban was introduced on the first day of the legislative session by Republican Senator Brandon Smith. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the bill was put on the “fast track” in the Senate and the ban has strong support among Kentucky’s Republican legislators who hold a supermajority in both Houses. The governor of the state, also a Republican, is likely to sign the bill. In its current incarnation, Smith’s 20-week ban has exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. It also seems to largely be a symbolic bill since Kentucky only has one abortion clinic and it does not offer abortions after 20 weeks.

  • Status: Introduced.
  • Update, January 5, 2017: This bill has passed the Senate.
  • Update, January 8, 2017: The Kentucky legislature passed this bill during a special Saturday session. The bill is waiting on the approval of Governor Matt Bevin.
  • Update, January 9, 2017: Bevin has signed this bill.

House Bill 2: Sponsored by Speaker Jeff Hoover (who is also sponsoring the 20-week ban in the House), this law would require women to have ultrasounds prior to an abortion. It also requires a doctor to show a woman the results of the ultrasound prior to an abortion.

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Status: Introduced.
  • Update, January 8, 2017: The Kentucky legislature passed HB2 during a special Saturday session. Along with the 20-week ban, it’s headed to the governor’s desk.
  • Update, January 9, 2017: Bevin has signed this bill
  • Update: January 10, 2017: The ACLU has filed suit challenging this law.

Ohio

“Heartbeat” Bill: House Bill 69 bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This bill would effectively outlaw any abortion procedure roughly six weeks after conception. The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

  • Status: Passed the House in 2015. Passed the Senate on December 6, 2016. Will now return to the House.
  • Update, December 7: The bill has passed both chambers and will go to Governor John Kasich.
  • Update: December 13: Kasich vetoed this bill.

20-Week Ban: Senate Bill 127 makes abortion after the 20-week mark illegal. Currently, Ohio limits abortion at 20 weeks.

Advertisement

  • Status: Passed the Senate in 2015. House will likely vote on the bill sometime in December 2016.
  • Update, December 9: The bill has passed both chambers and will go to Governor John Kasich.
  • Update, December 13: Kasich has signed the 20-week ban into law.

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 2016, 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.

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • 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.
  • Update, December 1: Texas’s Health and Human Services Commission will put a rule requiring fetal burial into effect on December 19th. The burial requirement does not extend to miscarriages or abortions that occur at home but does include hospitals, abortion clinics, and other healthcare providers. No word on whether or not the legislation will go forward since the rules will effectively put the proposed legislation into law.
  • Update, December 17: A federal judge has granted a temporary stay on the implementation of this Health and Human Services rule.

Ban on Dilation and Evacuation Abortion: Filed by Stephanie Klick and Charles Perry, the bill would make the common dilation and evacuation abortion illegal. If passed, the bill would effectively outlaw abortion in the second trimester.

Advertisement

  • Status: Filed.

Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act: HB 948, sponsored by Representative Tony Tinderholt, bans all abortion regardless of federal law.

  • Status: Filed.

Utah

Abortion Reversal” Bill: This bill, which Republican Representative Keven Stratton plans to introduce in the 2017 legislative session, would require doctors to tell women that they could “reverse” a medically induced abortion. There is no medical evidence indicating that such a procedure is possible. Similar laws have been passed in Arkansas and South Dakota.

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Status: Utah lawmakers will consider the bill in the 2017 session.

Virginia

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: This 20-week ban with a ridiculous name has been revived by numerous lawmakers in the state. The bill would make abortion after 20 weeks illegal with no exception for rape or incest.

  • Status: Legislators will introduce this bill in the 2017 session.
  • Update, January 4, 2017: Governor Terry McAuliffe has said he will veto this bill.

Wyoming

House Bill 116: Sponsored by Representative Cheri Steinmetz, this is a fetal pain bill that would limit abortion to the 20 or 22-week mark (the language of the bill, combined with Wyoming’s current laws, make the exact week hard to determine). There are currently no abortion providers in the state that provide the procedure past 12 weeks. HB 116 also makes it a felony for “anyone to donate or sell tissue or cells from an aborted embryo or fetus for ‘any form of experimentation,’” including embryonic stem cell research and research conducted with fetal tissue.

Advertisement

  • Status: Introduced

House Bill 132: Sponsored by Rep. Scott Clem, HB 132 essentially weakens patient privacy. The Casper Star-Tribune reports:

Current law requires doctors to report every abortion they perform to Wyoming health officials but states that no information should be recorded that could “disclose the identity of the individual participating in an abortion.”

House Bill 132 strikes that language and instead requires doctors to report a medical record number for the patient on the form “to enable matching the report to the pregnant woman’s medical records.”

This bill would effectively allow district and state attorneys to identify women who have had an abortion. It also levies fines against doctors who submit mandatory reports late and makes intentionally failing to report a procedure to the state a misdemeanor. Clem argues that these new reporting procedures are necessary to curb the illegal sale of fetal remains.

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Status: Introduced.