Anti-Abortion Bills Across America: State Legislatures Push for Stricter Restrictions

Across the United States, 2019 state legislative sessions have seen a number of bills aiming to crack down on abortion access. Some states passed legislation deemed so restrictive it was challenged in court and others have a plethora of bills waiting to find out their fate.

The Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade affirmed the Fourteenth Amendment made it legal for a woman to have an abortion but left it up to states to regulate abortions during second and third trimesters and defining the viability of a fetus. Some states, including Mississippi and Kentucky, signed bills into law that banned abortions after a fetus was viable. The bills defined viability of a fetus, not when it can survive outside of the womb, but when a fetal heartbeat is detected.

"It's clear that's the intent of it. It's a race to the U.S. Supreme Court, with all of these conservative states to be the one that gets Roe overturned," Georgia State Senator Jen Jordan told Newsweek about her own state's fetal heartbeat bill. "I think they're trying to be as outrageous as they possibly can, and they've definitely done it here."

anti-abortion legislation across us fetal heartbeat
Pro-life signs are seen during the 2019 March for Life Conference and Expo, the day before an annual rally and march of pro-life activists that mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S., in Washington, D.C., on January 17. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Each state had its own bills, but there were several recurring proposals, including banning abortions at times when the decision is based on the sex or a Down syndrome diagnosis and prohibiting the dilation and evacuation method.

Dilation and evacuation is a surgical abortion performed after 16 weeks of gestation, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Several states, including Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Washington have proposed legislation banning the procedure and pro-choice activists argued it effectively bans abortions.

"When you ban this method, it is in effect a ban on abortion at about 15 weeks of pregnancy because that is the only method that is available for most abortions after 14 weeks," Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute, told The Bismark Tribune.

anti abortion legislation US
'Make Unborn Babies Great Again' signs are seen for sale during the 2019 March for Life Conference and Expo, the day before an annual rally and march of pro-life activists that mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S., in Washington, D.C., on January 17. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Other bills targeting abortion that were proposed in several states would require doctors to give women the option to listen to the fetal heartbeat or watch an ultrasound before performing an abortion. In many cases, women would have to sign a form declaring they were given the option but declined.

Between January and March 20, 2019, the Guttmacher Institute said 304 abortion restrictions were introduced in states across the country.

Connecticut

SB 366

Purpose: Requires a parent or guardian to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Healthy

Delaware

HB 52

Purpose: Bans abortions after 20 weeks

Status: Assigned to House Health & Human Development Committee

Florida

HB 1335

Purpose: Requires consent from a parent or guardian before an abortion is performed on a minor

Status: In Judiciary Committee

HB 235

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Introduced in House

Georgia

HB 481

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Sent to Governor Brian Kemp for signature

Maryland

HB 0964

Purpose: Requires consent from a parent or guardian before an abortion is performed on a minor

Status: In the House of Representatives

SB 0907

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after 20 weeks

Status: Read in Senate

Michigan

SB 165

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after 20 weeks

Status: Referred to Committee on Health Policy and Human Services

Minnesota

HF 271

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Referred to Health and Human Services Policy

HF 1312

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after 20 weeks

Status: Referred to Health and Human Services Policy

Missouri

HB 870

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Referred to Children and Families Committee

New York

A5999

Purpose: Requires a parent or guardian to be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor.

Status: In Assembly Committee

North Carolina

HB 28

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after 13 weeks

Status: Referred to Committee on Judiciary

Ohio

SB 23

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Referred to Health Committee

Oklahoma

HB 1396

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after the sex of the unborn child has been determined

Status: Approved by the Public Health Committee

SB 13

Purpose: Prohibits abortions without exception

Status: Referred to Health and Human Services Committee then to Appropriations Committee

South Carolina

SB 3020

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Referred to Committee on Medical Affairs

Tennessee

SB 1236

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: On Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for April 2

SB 1257

Purpose: Bans abortion in Tennessee if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Status: On Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for April 2

Texas

HB 1500

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Referred to Public Health Committee

Washington

HB 1526

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetus is determined by a physician to be viable

Status: In Health Care & Wellness Committee

SB 5185

Purpose: Requires a parent or guardian to be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor

Status: In Law & Justice Committee

West Virginia

HB 2915

Purpose: Prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Status: Referred to House Health and Human Resources Committee

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