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Florida’s not alone: Abortion limits proposed in other states, too

Eighteen states have major abortion legislation this year. Only one, New York, seeks to protect access to abortions.
Published Mar. 22, 2019|Updated Mar. 22, 2019

With a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court, state lawmakers are hoping that their annual push for new abortion restrictions, such as parental consent and fetal heartbeat legislation, will withstand legal challenges if they are approved.

Florida’s efforts can’t be viewed in isolation. Mississippi’s governor signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country on Thursday. The bill outlaws abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected, around roughly the sixth week of a pregnancy. The ban is set to take effect on July 1, but abortion-rights advocates have already pledged to file lawsuits to stop it.

Actions taken on abortion by legislatures across the United States:


The Republican majority in the Arkansas Legislature has passed several bills restricting abortion this session.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law one proposal banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, and another bill that would ban abortion altogether if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its Roe v. Wade ruling.

Hutchinson has also signed legislation that would require doctors to give written notice to women undergoing drug-induced abortions that the procedure can be “reversed,” a claim that medical groups say isn’t backed by science.

The Legislature also is considering a bill banning abortions because of a Down syndrome diagnosis and a proposal to expand the waiting period for an abortion from 48 hours to 72 hours.


Two abortion bills have been proposed in Delaware. One would ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and the other would require doctors to offer women a chance to see an ultrasound of a fetus and hear a heartbeat before performing an abortion.

A committee held hearings on the proposals, but it isn’t clear whether they will ever get a vote on the floor of the Delaware Senate.


Lawmakers have introduced two abortion bills: One would ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and the other after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Both bills have been sent to committees where they are awaiting hearings.


A bill banning most abortions in Georgia after a fetal heartbeat can be detected passed the House and a state Senate committee.

Newly elected Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has promised to sign the bill if the Senate passes it.


The Iowa Legislature is considering a bill that would ban virtually all abortions by declaring a human being’s life begins at conception, and that such a person is due all rights and protections of the state and federal constitutions.

Other abortion bills still under consideration would deny federal funds administered by the state for sex education programs conducted by any organization that performs abortions.

An amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would declare no right to an abortion also remains on the legislative agenda.


Kansas lawmakers passed a resolution condemning New York’s new law protecting abortion rights and sent it to the governor.

Lawmakers considering proposing an amendment to the state constitution that would deny abortion rights are first waiting for the Kansas Supreme Court to rule whether the state constitution protects those rights.


Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation Thursday.

The law outlaws most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights called the law “blatantly unconstitutional” and said it would sue Mississippi to block it from taking effect July 1.


Republicans in the Montana House sponsored a bill to have residents vote on a constitutional amendment that would make abortion illegal by defining people as “all members of mankind at any stage of development.”

Putting the measure on the ballot requires 100 votes in the Legislature. The bill passed 56-43 in the House and would need to get 44 of 50 votes in the Senate. There are 20 Democrats in the Senate, so the effort is likely dead.


The New Mexico state Senate voted down a bill that would remove the state’s long-dormant law making abortion a crime.

A 1969 New Mexico statute made it a felony for an abortion provider to terminate a pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, birth defects and serious threats to a woman’s health. The law has been unenforceable for 45 years because of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The bill removing the criminal statute was supported by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and approved by the Legislature’s more politically progressive House.


Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed the Reproductive Health Act into law. It codifies in state law many of the abortion protections laid out in Roe and other federal abortion cases, including a provision permitting late-term abortions when a woman’s health is endangered by her pregnancy.

The New York law replaces a 1970 state abortion law that was passed three years before Roe legalized abortion nationwide. The previous law, which was in conflict with Roe and other subsequent abortion rulings, only permitted abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk.

The new law also authorizes physician assistants to perform some abortions and moves the section of state law dealing with abortion from the penal code to health statutes.


A bill banning abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected has passed the Ohio Senate and is heading to the Republican-controlled House.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he will sign the bill if it passes.

The Ohio Legislature has twice passed similar measures, but DeWine’s predecessor, Republican Gov. John Kasich, vetoed both, saying the ban would prompt a costly court battle and likely be found unconstitutional.


Voters on Oklahoma may soon get to decide if their state’s constitution guarantees the right to an abortion.

The state Senate passed a bill to put the amendment on the ballot. It now goes to the House.

The bill creating the amendment replaced a bill that would have automatically banned abortions in Oklahoma if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.


In Pennsylvania, Republican Rep. Mike Turzai said he plans to introduce a bill to prohibit abortions for the purpose of ending a pregnancy when the fetus has Down syndrome.

A similar bill didn’t make it through last session when Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, opposed it.

Pennsylvania law allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy for any reason except to choose the gender.


The Rhode Island House has passed a bill that would protect abortion in state law.

Supporters said it is needed in case federal courts allow additional restrictions on abortions.

The bill has moved on to the Rhode Island Senate.


Lawmakers in South Carolina have proposed at least nine bills to restrict abortions, but only one has received a hearing.

A state House subcommittee Thursday heard testimony on a bill banning abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected, but did not take a vote.


A bill banning abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus is detected passed the Republican-dominant House in Tennessee earlier this month.

However, the measure is expected to move much slower in the Senate as lawmakers have said they want to watch the legal battle go down in other states before picking up the proposal.

Gov. Bill Lee says he is supportive of the bill and would sign it if it hit his desk.


Republicans in the Texas Legislature are reviving efforts similar to those blocked in the U.S. Senate that threatened to punish doctors who don’t try saving the life of infants born alive during abortions.

Another bill would prohibit cities and counties from doing business with abortion providers, which takes aim at a $1 lease the city of Austin has with a Planned Parenthood center.


Lawmakers in Utah have passed a ban on abortions after the 18th week of pregnancy with exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother and fatal fetal defects.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Gary Herbert. He hasn’t said whether he’ll sign it, though he has said he’s generally against abortion.


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