Here are all of the abortion debates taking place in US courts and state houses this week
Since last year’s Dobbs ruling, stricter abortion restrictions have been enacted in most Republican-controlled states.
Anti-abortion activists are again trying to impose restrictions in the latest round of court and legislative action on the controversial issue.
These efforts are focused on states that have already considered bans and policies that are circulating in federal courts.
Here are the most important things you should know about the latest developments in abortion policy history after the US Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade and repealed the nationwide right to abortion.
Purple State Politics
Since last year’s Dobbs ruling, stricter abortion restrictions have been enacted in most Republican-controlled states, and safeguards on access to abortion have come into effect in most Democrat-controlled states.
But in the 11 states with shared government control, there wasn’t such a unified history. Virginia, for example, has maintained its status quo, while Vermont passed a constitutional amendment to maintain access to abortion, and bans are in place in Louisiana and Kentucky.
Change came quickly in North Carolina in April when a state legislature switched from Democrat to Republican and gave the GOP enough votes to override the governor’s vetoes.
Lawmakers promptly passed a ban that is less restrictive than most – allowing abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, which was among the least restrictive of the new bans. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed it. But lawmakers overturned that veto on Tuesday, and the new law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
Retrying due to bans in Nebraska, South Carolina
Nebraska and South Carolina are both Republican-dominated states where Republican lawmakers have struggled to agree on the details of the abortion ban.
Both are considering bans this week, just weeks after previous efforts at procedural votes narrowly failed.
And both have revived laws that are less restrictive than previously rejected versions.
In South Carolina, Republican lawmakers have been divided over whether to ban abortions at all stages of pregnancy or only when cardiac activity can be detected — usually around six weeks, often before women know they’re pregnant. A version of a less strict ban is currently being considered.
In Nebraska, lawmakers balked at a ban after six weeks. The unique unicameral legislature is now considering a ban on abortion at 12 weeks’ gestation. It was added to a bill that would also ban gender-based tutoring of minors.
Restriction in Montana
In Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte signed Tuesday a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions, which are normally performed in the second trimester of pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood of Montana later that same day asked a state judge to temporarily block the law on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
And it’s not the first challenge for politics in the state. A judge ruled last month that she would not, as a precautionary measure, block the ban before it goes into effect.
The state passed a broader ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy in 2021, but the state Supreme Court has ruled that it will not enforce it pending a court challenge, allowing abortions to remain viable until viable, around the 24th week .gestational week, remain legal in a way.
Court arguments on an abortion pill
Most abortion-related litigation since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in 2022 has centered on whether state constitutions protect abortion rights.
But you have an impact on the national level.
An anti-abortion group sued to revoke the US Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs used in combination in most drug-induced abortions in the US
A federal judge in Texas agreed. The New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the matter on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court has ruled that mifepristone can stay on the market. In states that have bans, its use in abortions is already banned, with some exceptions.
An immediate response from the district court is unlikely. The case is expected to eventually go before the country’s top court. The Texas-based case could be merged with a case in Washington, where another federal judge ruled last month that mifepristone restrictions in a group of Democratic-run states that have filed lawsuits cannot be reversed.