State Legislation

Encouraging Post-Roe State Legislative Update

By Ingrid Duran, Director of State Legislation

Editor’s note. This appeared in the August issue of National Right to Life News. Please share the entire 46-page issue with pro-life family and friends.

Since the June 24th Supreme Court Dobbs decision that reversed the holdings in Roe and Casey, states have been busy either contemplating a special session to protect the unborn or working diligently to enforce any pre-Roe or trigger law already on the books.

A pre-Roe abortion ban is a law that was enacted prior to the 1973 Roe decision which made abortion legal. A trigger law is a law that would ban abortions as soon as a court has overturned Roe.

10 states have a pre-Roe abortion ban: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

13 states have a trigger law: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

So far, the unborn are currently protected by the steady stream of laws mentioned above, or gestational time limits. Some states have laws that protect the unborn throughout gestation, others when there is a presence of a heartbeat around six (6) weeks gestation, and some when a preborn child is capable of feeling pain at 15 weeks.

The following states currently protect the unborn:

Alabama (throughout gestation), Arizona (at 15 weeks gestation1) Arkansas (throughout), Florida (15 weeks), Georgia (6 weeks2), Kentucky (throughout), Louisiana (throughout), Mississippi (throughout), Missouri (throughout), Ohio (6 weeks), Oklahoma (throughout), South Carolina (6 weeks3), South Dakota (throughout), Tennessee (6 weeks), Texas4 (6 weeks) and in Wisconsin, while their pre-Roe abortion law has been challenged by the Governor and the Attorney General, abortion facilities have decided to stop performing abortions for fear or prosecution, and therefore preborn babies are saved.

There is also ongoing litigation in a few states. For instance, the trigger law in Idaho is currently in litigation and not in effect. Michigan and West Virginia’s pre-Roe abortion bans were challenged in court, and a preliminary injunction was issued so those laws are currently not in effect. North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming’s trigger laws have been enjoined in litigation. Louisiana has had three instances where their trigger law has been in effect, then enjoined; it is currently in effect.

Some state legislatures have initiated special sessions since they now have the authority to protect the unborn. Recently, the Indiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia legislatures have held special sessions.
On the flips side, some state Governors have also looked to protect abortion in an assortment of directives that claim to protect abortion access, and/or protect abortionists from judgments filed in other states. Responding to a circumstance that has never happened. The Governors from Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington State have all issued an executive order directing all state agencies to protect abortion access and prohibiting state agencies from cooperating with any investigations from other states. Michigan’s Governor not only challenged their pre-Roe abortion ban as mentioned above, but also issued a similar executive order like the above-mentioned states.

So, while the status of these laws may change, one thing is for certain: pro-lifers in all states are working even harder to protect these unborn children. We are already preparing for more special sessions, and for the regular sessions due to begin in January 2023.

NRL News Today will continually update you on our progress.

Notes:
[1] Arizona also has a pre-Roe abortion ban and a personhood law that is currently in litigation and not in effect.
[2] Georgia was just challenged this week, the law remains in effect, but this may change.
[3] South Carolina’s law was recently challenged in state court, their law remains in effect.
[4] Texas also has a pre-Roe law that is also in effect, and a trigger law that will take effect on August 25, 2022.

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