Factbox-U.S. state abortion legislation to watch in 2023
By Gabriella Borter and Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – Battles over abortion are heating up in state capitols across the United States as lawmakers wrestle with how much to restrict or expand access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Here is a snapshot of state legislation seeking to restrict or protect abortion access in 2023.
FLORIDA: Republican lawmakers in Florida are considering a six-week abortion ban, which includes exceptions for rape and incest but does not make explicit exceptions for the life and health of the mother. Governor Ron DeSantis has said he would sign a six-week ban if passed by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature. Meanwhile, a 15-week ban is in effect and is being challenged in court.
KANSAS: Although Kansans voted in favor of state abortion rights on a ballot measure last year, the Republican-led Senate has passed a prohibition on prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine. The House is considering the measure.
IDAHO: Lawmakers in Idaho have introduced legislation that would make it illegal to help a minor get an abortion in another state 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 total abortion ban.
MONTANA: The Republican-led state Senate has passed a bill seeking to overturn a 1999 state supreme court ruling that found that the state constitution protected a right to abortion. That ruling has prevented lawmakers in the conservative state from restricting abortion further than the current 24-week limit. The bill will next be considered by the House.
The House in March passed legislation seeking to ban abortion after 12 weeks and is also considering a bill that would limit abortion access for Medicaid patients.
NEBRASKA: Republicans in Nebraska’s 50-seat unicameral legislature have introduced a six-week abortion ban. While supporters say they have a slim majority to allow the bill to move forward for consideration, one Republican member has proposed amending it to allow abortions up to 12 weeks. Abortion is currently legal in the state up to 22 weeks.
NORTH DAKOTA: The state supreme court in March kept in place an order blocking enforcement of a law banning abortion that went into effect when Roe was overturned. The ban will be blocked while a lawsuit attempting to overturn it is heard by the state’s courts. Meantime, Republican lawmakers are moving a bill to allow abortions for rape and incest cases before six weeks’ gestation, intending to clarify the ban.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Despite the fact that the state supreme court recently struck down a six-week abortion ban in a 3-2 vote, Republicans have introduced a near-total abortion ban and a six-week ban this year. Both bills have passed one chamber; the Senate has passed the six-week ban, which includes some exceptions, and the House has passed the near-total ban.
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 legislature passed a bill in March banning the use or prescription of medication abortion pills, and the bill now heads to Republican Governor Mark Gordon. Abortion is legal until viability, about 24 weeks, while a state court is reviewing a challenge to a near-total trigger ban.
WEST VIRGINIA: Republican state senators have introduced a bill to remove the rape and incest exceptions from the state’s near-total abortion ban, which is currently in effect.
CALIFORNIA: A Democratic state senator has introduced a bill to protect doctors who prescribe medication abortion pills to patients in other states.
MICHIGAN: The Democratic-led legislature in March passed a measure repealing parts of a 1931 bill that criminalized abortion, and is still considering bills to repeal additional sections of the old law. Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who will need to sign any measures that are passed to make them law, is a supporter of abortion rights.
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. House Democrats have introduced a bill to shield abortion providers and patients from other states’ legal attacks.
OHIO: The attorney general in March certified a petition to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2023 ballot that would assert a right to abortion. The ballot proposal next heads to the Ohio Ballot Board for consideration.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Washington, D.C., and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California.; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Matthew Lewis)