Nine months after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a nationwide abortion right, the landscape is far from settled, with lawmakers considering broader bans or stronger protections and legal challenges looming in national scale.
It’s been a turbulent week for abortion politics with Republican-dominated states seeking to tighten restrictions, Democratic lawmakers trying to protect abortion access — and legal battles unfolding on multiple fronts.
Here is what happens:
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF ABORTION PILLS?
This question is at the heart of today’s most watched abortion lawsuit.
A combination of two drugs is the most common method to terminate pregnancies.
But Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposed abortion, asked a Texas judge to revoke or suspend the 2000 US Food and Drug Administration approval for one of the drugs, mifepristone. The legal question looms as the Biden administration works on rules to make the pills more widely available and pharmacies And States sort out if that will happen.
After a hearing last week, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, sitting in Amarillo, Texas, said he would rule “as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has become the first in the country to sign a bill specifically ban abortion pills. It is due to take effect in July. Thirteen states already had blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and 15 had access limitations, such as requiring that pills be dispensed only and directly by doctors.
On the same day Gordon signed this, California Democrats introduced a measure intended to provide legal protection to doctors who send abortion pills to patients in other states. A handful of other Democratic-controlled states have already proposed or passed similar laws.
WHAT NEW BANS ARE IN PLACE?
Gordon, of Wyoming, also authorized a separate ban on abortions at all stages of pregnancy to take effect Sunday without his signature. However, a judge on Wednesday execution interruptedat least for now.
Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens blocked an earlier ban last year hours before it took effect. His order on the first ban remains in effect as the courts decide whether it complies with the state constitution.
OTHER NEW COURT DECISIONS?
This week the Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a narrow portion of that state’s abortion ban.
The court ruled that a woman has the right to an abortion if her doctor finds that continuing her pregnancy is life-threatening, not just when she is in the midst of a life-threatening medical emergency.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER NEW ANTI-ABORTION MEASURES?
THE Kansas House Wednesday passed a bill stating that when an abortion procedure inadvertently results in a live birth, medical personnel must try to preserve the life of the newborn. The legislation now goes to the state Senate, where it is also expected to pass.
At least 18 other states have similar books laws. Opponents say it’s a circumstance that happens very rarely – but the law would create additional trauma for women seeking abortions.
A similar measure appeared on the ballot in Montana last year and voters voted it down.
WHICH STATES PROTECT ABORTION?
Oregon lawmakers heard testimony this week about a Invoice it would protect abortion providers and patients from criminal and civil liability in other states and allow a person to bring a lawsuit against a public agency for infringing on their reproductive health rights. The measure also seeks to protect gender-affirming care in the state.
Minnesota lawmakers passed bills to prohibit the enforcement in the State of the laws, subpoenas, judgments or extradition requests of other States for persons who obtain, provide or assist in abortions there. Hawaii Governor Josh Green was expected to sign a similar measure on Wednesday. As in other states, both governors signed executive orders extending similar protections.