In December 2021, the Supreme Court allowed Texas’s SB 8 abortion ban to remain in effect. This ban meant that healthcare providers would not be able to sue judges, clerks, or the state attorney for allowing the law to take effect and that bounty-hunter lawsuits could still be filed against abortion providers for aiding or conducting abortions. After SB 8 was allowed to remain in effect, states nationwide followed suit to wreak havoc on the reproductive health landscape. We break down which states followed Texas after SB 8.
On January 21, 2022, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem announced legislation to ban abortion after six weeks, a total copycat of Texas’s SB 8.
Last month, lawmakers in Arizona passed a similar ban adding to the growing list of states that have passed an abortion ban. The law forbids abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, no exceptions are made for rape or incest cases.
More recently, on April 12, 2022, Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill that makes abortion illegal in the entire state, except for a medical emergency. Moreover, performing an abortion is punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000, 10 years in state prison, or both. And like Arizona, no exceptions would be made in cases of rape and incest.
Florida Governor signed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy without exemptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking. This law goes into effect starting July 1. Exemptions are only made when pregnancy is considered at-risk to the mother or fetus.
In mid-March, Jean Schmidt and R-Loveland introduced House Bill 598–a bill that would ban all abortions in Ohio. The only exception that the law makes is if the mother was at risk of losing their life.
The fate of Roe v. Wade and reproductive health are being held together by a mere thread. The Guttmacher Institute predicted that if Roe v. Wade fell, 26 states, including the aforementioned states are certain or likely to impose abortion bans. Per the institute, they developed an interactive map to see the potential effects of a total ban and how a 15- and 20-week ban would impact the driving distance for people seeking abortion care.
If a total abortion ban were to take place in Montana, the average one-way driving distance under the ban would be 384 miles in the state of 220,000 women of reproductive age (15-49), per the Guttmacher Institute.
These bans not only put pressure on people seeking abortion care but impact neighboring states and their healthcare infrastructure. For example, with a total ban in neighboring Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, people seeking abortion care in Colorado would skyrocket to 504%.
Low-income women and women of color are most likely to bear the brunt of these laws. Due to structural racism and discrimination, women of color are overly represented in Medicaid coverage. As a result, they are impacted by the Hyde Amendment, a policy that bans federal Medicaid funds for abortion care. As a result, low-income women and women of color cannot access abortion care using federal-funded insurance and can’t afford to pay for an abortion.
Abortion bans also disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color who can’t afford to take off work to travel, pay for childcare while away, or make multiple trips back to neighboring states. These laws exacerbate existing inequities and continue to harm populations that already face barriers to care.
States are continuing to follow Texas by banning abortion. This will leave thousands of people without critical care. To support people seeking abortion care, you can donate to an existing abortion fund or Planned Parenthood. These abortion funds help people with transportation, daycare for existing children, and or funds for the procedure. You can also voice your concerns to your senators here.