Since September 1, abortion has been effectively banned after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas. Texas bill SB 8 deputizes private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion after six weeks for at least $10,000 in damages. The threat of financial ruin has meant that clinics are complying and only providing very early abortions, even though the law contradicts the holdings of Roe v. Wade.
By not blocking the law on the two occasions it could’ve done so, the Supreme Court blessed this devious scheme and invited other states to follow suit. So far, lawmakers in 13 states have either pre-filed or introduced Texas-style abortion bans at or before six weeks of pregnancy.
The copycat bills could wreak havoc on the lives of people seeking abortions—people who live in a country without guaranteed healthcare, paid sick or parental leave, or guaranteed childcare, and one that hasn’t raised the minimum wage since 2009. For a not-insignificant number of people, states banning abortion at six weeks will mean being forced to carry a pregnancy to term. The bills also perform a neat trick of making, say, 15-week abortion bans seem almost reasonable by comparison. The Supreme Court heard a case in December involving a Mississippi 15-week ban in which the state explicitly asked the court to overturn Roe but if not, just uphold its ban, pretty please.
Here is a list of the 13 states attempting to copy the Texas bounty hunter abortion ban and where those bills are in the process. Lawmakers in at least eight other states—Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia—have expressed interest in introducing similar bills but haven’t yet done so. (Reminder that, if signed into law, the bills will face legal challenges and will not take effect immediately.)
Bill number and what it would do: Alabama House Bill 23 would ban abortions after the detection of cardiac activity in an embryo, or after about six weeks of pregnancy.
The latest: HB 23 was pre-filed on December 7, 2021. The legislative session began on January 11 and the bill was referred to the judiciary committee. It has not yet been voted on.
Bill number and what it would do: Arizona House Bill 2483 would ban abortions after the detection of embryonic cardiac activity, or after about six weeks of pregnancy.
Bill number and what it would do: Arkansas Senate Bill 13 would ban abortion after an egg is fertilized, which is about two weeks before a missed period and before an embryo even implants in the uterus—amounting to a total abortion ban. Notably, the state borders Texas and some Texans have sought abortions in Arkansas since September. If SB 13 goes into effect, it could shrink access in the region even further.
The latest: SB 13 was pre-filed on December 7, 2021, and failed a vote to be considered during a December special session on tax cuts. Lawmakers introduced new versions of this bill during the regular session, which began on February 14. Both versions failed to advance on February 16, but they are not officially dead yet. State Senator Jason Rapert said afterward: “we will be voting again on this issue.”
Bill number and what it would do: Florida House Bill 167 would prohibit abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, or after about six weeks of pregnancy. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis previously said he didn’t support the citizen enforcement mechanism of the Texas law, but he seemed supportive of a separate 15-week ban, HB 5, introduced in January.
The latest: HB 167 was pre-filed on September 29, 2021. The legislative session began on January 11 and the bill has not yet been voted on. The 15-week ban, however, has passed both the House and Senate and is now awaiting Gov. DeSantis’ signature.
Bill number and what it would do: Idaho Senate Bill 1309 would ban abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, or after about six weeks of pregnancy. The bill would only allow family members of the pregnant person to sue an abortion provider, unlike the Texas law that allows any private citizen to do so. But even extended family members like a grandparent or aunt or uncle could sue under the bill.
The latest: SB 1309 passed the state Senate on March 3, the House on March 14, and Governor Brad Little signed it on March 23. It does not take effect until April 22, but providers have already filed a legal challenge with the Idaho Supreme Court.
Bill number and what it would do: Louisiana House Bill 800 would ban abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be heard on an ultrasound, or after about six weeks of pregnancy.
Bill number and what it would do: Minnesota House File 2898 would prohibit abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, or after about six weeks of pregnancy.
The latest: HB 2898 was introduced on January 31 and referred to the health, finance, and policy committee. It has not yet been voted on. Democratic Governor Tim Walz is pro-choice but is up for re-election in November; 2023 could be a different story for the state.
Bill number and what it would do: Missouri House Bill 1987 and Senate Bill 778 would prohibit abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, or after about six weeks of pregnancy. The House bill would also limit funding to Planned Parenthood, which operates the state’s only abortion clinic in St. Louis.
The latest: HB 1987 was pre-filed on December 16, 2021. The bill has been read on the house floor and referred to the special committee on government oversight; it has not yet been voted on. SB 778 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families, Veterans, & Military Affairs and has not yet been voted on. A Republican lawmaker also filed an amendment to an unrelated bill, H.B. 1677, that would bar Missourians from leaving the state to get abortions.
The latest: HB 480 was introduced on November 2, 2021, and referred to the committee on families, aging, and human services. The legislative session began on January 3 and the bill has not yet been voted on.
Bill number and what it would do: Oklahoma House Bill 3700 and Senate Bill 1503 would prohibit abortions after the detection of embryonic cardiac activity, or after about six weeks of pregnancy. House Bill 4327 would be a total abortion ban enforced by private lawsuits. Oklahoma is the second Texas border state after Arkansas to introduce a copycat bill. Of the Texans who are able to leave the state for care, the majority of them have been going to Oklahoma clinics.
The latest: Both HB 3700/SB 1503 and HB 4327 contain an emergency provision that would allow the laws to take effect immediately after being signed rather than following, say, a 30-day waiting period. The Senate passed the 6-week ban (SB 1503) on March 10 and the House passed the total ban (HB 4327) on March 22. Further votes have not yet been scheduled.
Bill number and what it would do: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced draft text of a bill that would ban abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, or after about six weeks of pregnancy.
The latest: On February 2, the house state affairs committee announced Gov. Noem’s, bill but no lawmakers supported the motion to introduce it. That’s not because they’ve come to their senses, but because they worry it could jeopardize the state’s legal battle with South Dakota’s only abortion clinic. It’s shelved for now, but not dead yet.
Bill number and what it would do: An amendment to Tennessee House Bill 2779 would be a near-total ban on abortion. It would prohibit abortions at any stage of gestation except to prevent the death or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
The latest: The House subcommittee on health advanced HB 2779 on March 15 but a full House vote has not yet been scheduled.
Bill number and what it would do: Wisconsin Senate Bill 923 would ban abortions after the detection of embryonic cardiac activity, or after about six weeks of pregnancy. The bill does not contain the “aiding and abetting” language of the Texas law, so it would only target abortion providers.
The latest: SB 923 passed out of committee on February 11 and is awaiting scheduling for a Senate vote. Democratic Governor Tony Evers is pro-choice, but state lawmakers have made many attempts to override his vetoes, and Evers is also up for re-election in November. (The state does have an unenforceable, pre-Roe abortion ban on the books that lawmakers are trying to repeal.)
This post will be updated as states introduce and vote on Texas-style bills.