Health · June 25, 2022

‘It’s up to the states now’: Republicans move to ban abortion after Roe ousted

“For 50 years, women have relied on their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions,” the North Carolina governor said. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who stands between his state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and an abortion ban, said Friday. “This means that it is now up to states to determine whether women receive reproductive health care.”

And abortion policy will remain in the hands of the states for the foreseeable future, unless Congress enacts federal abortion protections or restrictions.

As of Friday, abortion is illegal in seven states — Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma — unless it’s necessary to save the pregnant person’s life. Abortion is also civilly prohibited by a private enforcement mechanism after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas. The legal status of abortion is unclear in Wisconsin and West Virginia, whereroe Laws stay in the books. Supporters and opponents of abortion rights are at odds over whether these laws are enforceable.

Bans in Idaho and Tennessee go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court’s final decision, which has not yet happened.

Some red states rushed to implement their so-called trigger bans on Friday, with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, announcing he had upheld the overturning of the Supreme Court decision roe within 20 minutes of the judgment being issued.

“With the Dobbs Decision just handed down and a stroke of the pen – Missouri became the first state to effectively end abortion and has become the most livable state in America,” Schmitt said on twitter.

Others, such as Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, both Republicans, are reviewing the court’s decision before implementing their deduction bans.

A spokesman said the Fitch office plans to “give the opinion and analysis required by law the considered attention they deserve” but did not provide a timeline for certification. Wrigley’s office said he was “evaluating them Dobbs his opinion in every detail and will carefully consider its implications for North Dakota’s abortion laws,” a state trial law gives him 30 days to complete.

Bans in some red states may take time

Abortion bans in other red states are dependent on judicial and legislative action.

In Indiana, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb on Friday called on the legislature to include abortion in a special session July 6 when lawmakers were scheduled to address tax issues. Abortion remains legal in Indiana, although it had long been expected that lawmakers would act quickly to outlaw the procedure if the Supreme Court overturned it roe.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is unequivocal, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue,” Holcomb said. “We’ll do that in Indiana shortly.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, later in the year announced a special session to further address abortion rights in the state — even though abortion is already outlawed. Three other Republican governors – Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts – said they would be consulting with legislative leaders on next steps.

Republican-elected officials in states where abortion bans have been blocked by federal courts moved quickly to allow those laws to go into effect. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an injunction to trigger the state’s six-week abortion ban, the South Carolina governor said. Henry McMaster promised to file motions to repeal a similar law in his state by the end of the day, and the governor of Alabama. Kay Ivey said the state will “immediately” ask the court to lift an injunction against the state’s near-total abortion ban, which a judge did Friday night.

Two blue cities in red states, meanwhile, began to resist — a strategy they hope other jurisdictions will replicate.

St. Louis City alderwoman Annie Rice, a Democrat, introduced a measure Friday that will allocate $1.5 million in federal money to support abortion access, including $1 million to organizations that provide logistical support — including childcare, transportation and housing — for people who want an abortion, and $500,000 to establish a reproductive equity fund to support providers who provide antenatal care.

Mallory Schwarz, executive director of Pro-Choice Missouri, said she expects the bill to be voted on before the Board of Aldermen goes on recess in July.

“This legislation demonstrates the strength of our grassroots movement and the critical importance of state and local leadership,” Schwarz said. “The people closest to the problem are the closest to the solution and we hope you will see this as a model of what a national response could and should look like.”

And in Austin, Texas, council members Chito Vela and Vanessa Fuentes called a special city council meeting accept a suggestion Effectively decriminalize abortion in the state.

“At this point, we really are the last line of defense,” Vela said. “The federal government has now stepped aside, the state government is aggressively attacking abortion rights, and now we — despite being the lowest level of government and in many ways the weakest level of government — will do everything we can to make sure we whatever is in our power to protect abortion rights and protect women.

An uncertain future in purple states

Friday’s decision underscored how the future of abortion policies in a handful of purple states hinges on the outcome of November’s elections.

“This autumn, roe is on the ballot. Personal liberties are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot,” President Joe Biden said Friday.

In Michigan, for example, a state judge temporarily blocked the 1931 state pre-trial.roe ban come into effect. The future of abortion in the state depends on myriad factors, including whether the Democratic Gretchen Whitmer administration wins re-election and whether Democrats retain control of the state Supreme Court.

“We need to make it clear that access to abortion is not only legal under Michigan law, it is constitutionally protected,” Whitmer said Friday.

Abortion is protected in Kansas, although voters will have the option to overturn constitutional protections for abortion during the August primary. If this measure passes, the Republican-controlled Legislature could enact an abortion ban that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly would likely veto. Kelly is up for re-election in November.

In Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin told the Washington Post on Friday that he would like lawmakers to pursue a 15-week abortion ban in January, though Senate Democrats are unlikely to bring such a measure to his desk. Currently, abortions in Virginia are legal up to the third trimester.

“We have, at least in the [state] Senate, enough reproductive rights advocates to prevent abortion laws from potentially even seeing the Senate,” said Breanna Diaz, policy and legislation adviser at the Virginia ACLU. “We will do everything in our power to ensure Virginia remains a safe haven for abortions.”

Blue states evolve into sanctuaries

West Coast governors decided Friday to set up their states as safe havens for those seeking and providing the procedure. They made a “multi-state commitment” to protect patients and providers from other states’ restrictive laws, block other states’ extradition requests, and prevent doctors from being penalized by insurers and licensing boards.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — all Democrats — also vowed to expand access to medical abortion, remove “barriers to telemedicine for reproductive health services,” and expand the pool of providers qualified to perform abortions.

In blue Massachusetts, where access to abortion is codified in state law, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Friday morning declaring that the Bay State will not cooperate with extradition requests from other states attempting to kill abortion patients or providers criminal prosecution and state authorities are prohibited from assisting other states’ investigations.

Democratic lawmakers in Massachusetts are building money into the state budget for abortion clinic safety and infrastructure, potentially millions of dollars. The ongoing budget negotiations also include a proposal that would expand the protections Baker put in place on Friday and expand access to emergency contraception.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat and the state’s leading contender to replace Baker if he leaves office in January, also vowed to block prosecutions from other states.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, announced that he would call the Legislature to a special session “in the coming weeks” to “take swift action to further solidify our commitment to reproductive health rights and protections.” . Abortion is legal in the state, and the state Supreme Court has established a right to abortion in the state constitution.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, in partnership with the state health department, announced a new public awareness campaign to let people know abortion is still legal in the Empire State, including a website with information on abortion rights, providers, assistance and payment options in New York York.

“As long as I am governor, this state will protect you,” Hochul said.