State Legislative Updates
There is a rare point of agreement in the abortion wars: Roe v. Wade is probably toast. Dobbs presents the perfect opportunity for the Supreme Court to overturn, or at least seriously curtail, Roe. We have the votes. The Dobbs decision will be announced by the end of June.
State legislatures and governors aren’t wasting any time. Pro-life states are working to enact protections for humans in the womb. Conversely, states that support abortion are passing laws even more extreme than Roe and setting themselves up as hubs for future abortion tourism.
There has been so much activity, it’s hard to keep track. Here are the highlights.
Dobbs concerns a Mississippi law protecting babies 15 weeks and older. Anticipating that Mississippi’s law will be upheld — but that the Court may go no farther — Florida, Arizona, and Kentucky have recently passed 15-week laws. (Kentucky’s law is temporarily blocked.) Also, a Florida judge restored its 24-hour waiting period, which had long been held up pending a legal challenge. Oklahoma has boldly prohibited elective abortion at all ages via a Life at Conception Act. It is poised to go into effect about three months from now. Idaho passed a law allowing family members of an abortion victim 6 weeks or older to sue; that law is held up in court. Texas has protected unborn children with heartbeats since September. And let’s not forget that a dozen states have “trigger laws” to automatically limit abortion when Roe is reversed.
On the flip side, Colorado — already infamous for having no gestational limits — codified a “right” to abortion and stripped away what few regulations existed, such as parental notification for pregnant minors. California passed a law to eliminate co-pays for abortions. Pro-abortion Maryland legislators defeated the governor’s veto to allow non-physicians to perform abortions; it will also use $3.5 million a year in taxpayer funds to train new killers. Washington, in reaction to the pro-life law passed in neighboring Idaho, forbade “legal action against people seeking an abortion and those who aid them.” Oregon gave abortion businesses a $15 million public subsidy.
More pro-abortion laws are in the pipeline. Connecticut is considering legislation that would prohibit cooperation with feticide investigations from pro-life states and enforcement of financial judgments against abortionists. The bill has passed the state’s house of representatives and faces minimal opposition in the Democrat-controlled senate and governor’s mansion. (As an attorney, I have my doubts that Connecticut’s approach is compatible with the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, but that’s an analysis for another day.) California is weighing legislation to eliminate any accountability for fetal and “perinatal” deaths. Pro-life groups sounded the alarm that the perinatal provision would decriminalize infanticide. Embarrassed lawmakers quickly amended the bill to focus on deaths from “pregnancy-related causes,” which is an improvement, but babies born alive after botched abortions would be unprotected. In Michigan, the governor is asking the state supreme court to strike down a pre-Roe abortion ban.
The Overton window on abortion is expanding rapidly in both directions. Babies in blue states need our help now more than ever. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Dobbs is the final victory. We cannot be complacent.
[Photo credit: Maria Oswalt on Unsplash]
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