‘It’s up to the states now’: Republicans ban abortion after Roe downfall
« For 50 years, women have relied on their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions, » North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who stands between his state’s Republican-controlled legislature, said on Friday. and a ban on abortion. « That means it’s now up to states to determine whether women get reproductive health care. »
And abortion policy will remain in the hands of the states for the foreseeable future, unless Congress passes federal abortion protections or restrictions.
As of Friday, abortion is illegal in seven states – Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma – except where it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant person. Abortion is also prohibited under civil law through a private enforcement mechanism after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas. The legal status of abortion is unclear in Wisconsin and West Virginia, wheredeer the laws stay on the books. Proponents and opponents of abortion rights disagree on the applicability of these laws.
The bans in Idaho and Tennessee will go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues its final ruling, which has yet to happen.
Some red states rushed to implement their so-called trigger bans on Friday, with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, announcing he had certified the Supreme Court’s decision overturned. deer within 20 minutes of the delivery of the decision.
« With the Dobbs decision has just been made and a stroke of my pen – Missouri became the first state to effectively end abortion and became the most pro-life state in America,” Schmitt said. on Twitter.
Others, like Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, both Republicans, are weighing the court’s decision before implementing their trigger bans.
A spokesperson said Fitch’s office plans to « give the notice and analysis contemplated by the law the thoughtful attention they deserve, » but did not provide a timeline for certification. . Wrigley’s office said it « evaluates the Dobbs opinion in great detail and will pay particular attention to its impact on North Dakota’s abortion laws,” a process state law gives it 30 days to complete.
Bans in some red states may take time
Abortion bans in other red states depend on legal and legislative action.
In Indiana, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb on Friday asked the legislature to vote on abortion in a July 6 special session in which lawmakers were to address tax-related issues. Abortion remains legal in Indiana, though lawmakers have long been expected to move quickly to ban the procedure if the Supreme Court overturns deer.
« The Supreme Court’s decision is clear, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue, » Holcomb said. « We’ll do that shortly in Indiana. »
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, also announced a special session later in the year to further address abortion rights in the state — even though abortion is already banned. Three other Republican governors — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts — said they were consulting with legislative leaders on next steps.
Republican lawmakers in states where abortion bans have been blocked by federal courts have moved quickly to allow those laws to take effect. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an injunction to trigger the state’s six-week abortion ban, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster pledged to file motions to lift a block on a similar law in his state by the end of the day, , and Alabama Gov Kay Ivey said the state will « immediately » ask the court to lift an injunction on the near total ban on the abortion, which a judge did on Friday night.
Meanwhile, two blue cities in red states have begun mounting opposition — a strategy they hope other jurisdictions will replicate.
St. Louis City Alderman Annie Rice, a Democrat, on Friday introduced a measure that will allocate $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds to facilitate abortion access, including $1 million to organizations that provide logistical support — including childcare, transportation, and lodging — to people seeking abortions, and $500,000 to create a reproductive equity fund to support providers who provide pregnancy care.
Mallory Schwarz, executive director of Pro-Choice Missouri, said she expects the bill to pass before the Board of Aldermen goes into recess in July.
« This legislation shows 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 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 to accept a proposal effectively decriminalize abortion in the state.
« We’re really the last line of defense at this point, » Vela said. “The federal government has now stepped aside, the state government is aggressively attacking abortion rights, and now we – even though we are the lowest level of government and in many ways the lowest level of government – we are going to do everything we can to make sure that whatever is in our power, we can protect the right to abortion and protect women.
An uncertain future in the purple states
Friday’s ruling underscored how the future of abortion policy in a handful of purple states depends on the outcome of November’s election.
« This autumn, deer is on the ballot. Individual freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, to freedom, to equality, they’re all on the ballot,” President Joe Biden said on Friday.
In Michigan, for example, a state judge temporarily blocked the pre-deer prohibition to take effect. The future of abortion in the state depends on a myriad of factors, including whether Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer wins reelection and whether Democrats continue to control the state Supreme Court.
« We need to clarify that under Michigan law, abortion access is not only legal, but constitutionally protected, » Whitmer said Friday.
In Kansas, abortion is protected, though voters have the option to overturn constitutional abortion protections in the August primary. If passed, the Republican-controlled legislature could pass an abortion ban, which Democratic Governor Laura Kelly would likely veto. Kelly is eligible for re-election in November.
In Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin told the Washington Post on Friday that he would like to see lawmakers pursue a 15-week abortion ban when the legislature reconvenes in January, although it is unlikely that the Senate Democrats are advancing such a measure to his office. . For now, abortions are allowed in Virginia until the third trimester.
“We have, at least in the [state] Senate, enough reproductive rights champions to keep abortion bills from seeing the Senate floor,” said Breanna Diaz, political and legislative adviser at the ACLU of Virginia. « We will do everything in our power to keep Virginia a safe haven for abortion. »
Blue states turn into paradise
On Friday, West Coast governors decided to make their states sanctuaries for those requesting and providing the procedure. They issued a “multi-state pledge” to protect patients and providers from restrictive laws in other states, block extradition requests from other states, and prevent doctors from being punished by insurers and health commissions. professional licenses.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee – all Democrats – have also pledged to expand access to medical abortion, remove “barriers to telehealth for reproductive health services” and expand the pool of providers qualified to perform abortions.
In blue Massachusetts, where abortion access is codified in state law, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Friday morning declaring that the Bay State will not cooperate with requests for extradition from other states attempting to prosecute abortion patients or providers and prohibiting state agencies from assisting other states’ investigations.
Massachusetts Democratic legislative leaders are hoarding money for abortion clinic safety and infrastructure in the state budget, possibly 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 candidate to replace Baker when he leaves office in January, also vowed to block lawsuits from other states.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat, announced he would call the legislature into special session « in the coming weeks » to take « swift action to further enshrine our commitment to the rights and protections in reproductive health ». Abortion is legal in the state, and the state Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion in the state constitution.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, in conjunction with the State Department of Health, announced a new public awareness campaign to let people know that abortion is still legal in the Empire State, including including a website with information on abortion rights, providers, supports and payment options. At New York.
“As long as I am governor, this state will protect you,” Hochul said.