This Is What's Happening With Abortion Bans Across the U.S.

From Utah and Ohio to Alabama and Georgia, states across the country have been racing to usher in strict anti-abortion laws in recent months. Unfortunately for lawmakers in support of the sweeping anti-abortion measures, however, lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union have been moving just as fast to see those bans blocked.

On Thursday, the ACLU announced that it had just blocked Georgia's recent ban on abortion, barring the procedure from the earliest weeks of pregnancy. The ban, which was signed into law by the state's Governor Brian Kemp in May 2019 would have seen abortion banned at six weeks of pregnancy, a time when many women do not even know they are pregnant.

Celebrating the U.S District Court in Atlanta's decision to grant a preliminary injunction on the abortion ban, Talcott Camp, the deputy director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project said: "This is a victory for people in Georgia and a reminder that these attacks on abortion access are illegal."

"Abortion is still legal in all 50 states," Camp said in a statement provided by the ACLU. "We won't stop fighting until we defeat all efforts to block access."

So far, the ACLU has been making good on that promise, successfully blocking legislation, at least temporarily, in at least six states, with a legal fight in Alabama still underway.

Among those states are Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Georgia, Utah and Ohio, which all enacted similar abortion bans to Georgia's this past year.

In May, the ACLU also filed a lawsuit to stop what it branded as "extreme" legislation signed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey earlier that month, seeking to bar nearly all abortion across the state.

That law seeks to ban abortions at all stages of pregnancy, unless a mother's health is at "serious risk." Even in cases of rape or incest, abortion would be outlawed.

The wave of anti-abortion laws being passed in states across the country has come in the wake of the Supreme Court appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh's appointment, which came despite a string of sexual misconduct allegations related to his time as a student at Yale in the 1990s, has been seen by many anti-abortion advocates and lawmakers as an opportunity to re-open the abortion debate and potentially see Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion in the U.S., overturned.

This week, the Supreme Court, which now has a 5-4 conservative majority, is expected to be deliberating on whether to take up two cases surrounding abortion legislation from Louisiana and Indiana, with both cases potentially having a negative impact on Roe v. Wade's standing.

Supreme Court justices had been expected to meet behind closed doors on Tuesday to discuss the two cases. However, it is unclear whether a decision has been made on whether to hear them.

If they do, the Louisiana case in particular, which pertains to a 2014 law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges to at least one hospital within a 30-mile radius, could prove to be a "major test of the Supreme Court's commitment to both the rule of law and its abortion precedent," TJ Tu, senior counsel for litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told CNN on Tuesday.

Noting that a similar law in Texas was ruled unconstitutional in 2016, Tu warned that "if precedent means anything, a law that was unconstitutional in Texas in 2016 has to be unconstitutional in Louisiana today. Unless the Supreme Court acts, abortion access is going to be decimated."

Pro-abortion protest
Local pro-choice activist Lisa King holds a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as a pro-life activist holds a rose nearby during the annual 'March for Life' event January 22, 2009 in Washington, D.C. A decade later and abortion rights are under growing threat.
This Is What's Happening With Abortion Bans Across the U.S. | U.S.