Factbox-Abortion battles in U.S. state capitols to watch in 2023

Pro-abortion demonstrators march to the State Capitol to mark the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Madison

By Gabriella Borter

(Reuters) -Battles over abortion are heating up in state capitol buildings across the United States as lawmakers wrestle with how much to restrict or expand abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Here is a snapshot of state legislation seeking to ban or protect abortion access in 2023.


RESTRICTIONS

FLORIDA: While the 15-week abortion ban signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis last year is being challenged in court, Republican state lawmakers have said they are considering pursuing stricter measures, such as a 12-week ban. DeSantis said last week that he would sign a ban on abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy if the Republican-controlled legislature passes such a measure.

KANSAS: Although Kansans voted in favor of state abortion rights on a ballot measure last year, Republican lawmakers have proposed measures including a near-total ban on abortion and prohibitions on prescribing abortion pills over telemedicine.

IDAHO: Lawmakers in Idaho have introduced legislation that would make it illegal to help a minor get an abortion in another state without the permission of a parent or guardian. Offenders would face two to five years in prison. The Republican-led state is currently enforcing a total abortion ban. 

MONTANA: Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill seeking to overturn a 1999 state supreme court ruling that found that the state constitution protected a right to abortion. That ruling has prevented lawmakers in the conservative state from restricting abortion further than the current 24-week limit. Lawmakers have also introduced a bill this year that would limit abortion access for Medicaid patients.

NEBRASKA: Republicans in Nebraska’s 50-seat unicameral legislature have introduced a six-week abortion ban. The bill has 29 co-sponsors and needs 33 votes to pass without filibuster. Abortion is currently legal in the state up to 22 weeks.

NORTH DAKOTA: The state supreme court is due to rule on a challenge to a trigger ban – a total abortion ban that immediately went into effect when Roe was overturned – but which has since been blocked while the case proceeds. In the meantime, Republican lawmakers are moving a bill to allow abortions for rape and incest cases before six weeks’ gestation, intending to clarify the ban.


SOUTH CAROLINA: Despite the fact that the state supreme court recently struck down a six-week abortion ban in a 3-2 vote, Republicans have introduced a near-total abortion ban and a six-week ban this year. The Senate passed the six-week ban, which includes some exceptions, on Thursday.

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WYOMING: A bill banning the use or prescription of medication abortion pills has passed Wyoming’s Senate and is heading to the House of Representatives. Abortion is legal until viability, about 24 weeks, while a state court is reviewing a challenge to a near-total trigger ban.

PROTECTIONS

MICHIGAN: Abortion rights advocates scored big wins in Michigan in the November 2022 election, securing a Democratic majority in the legislature and enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution. A bill introduced by Democratic lawmakers to repeal a 1931 law banning abortion is expected to pass.

ILLINOIS: Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker in January signed a law protecting abortion providers and out-of-state patients from legal attacks waged by other states.

MINNESOTA: The Minnesota legislature’s new Democratic majority passed a bill in January codifying abortion rights in state law, as well as a right to contraception and fertility treatment. Democratic Governor Tim Walz signed the measure on Jan. 31.

WASHINGTON: Lawmakers in the Democratic-led legislature have introduced a bill that would enshrine abortion and contraception rights in the state constitution. To pass, it would need approval by a two-thirds majority in both chambers and by a majority of voters in a general election.

(Reporting by Gabriella BorterEditing by Colleen Jenkins and Caitlin Webber)

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