TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Planned Parenthood Action Fund
DATE: January 19, 2023
RE: States mark 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with slew of pro-abortion rights legislation
On Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, we mark what would have been the 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last June. The court’s devastating decision to eliminate our federal constitutional right to abortion puts the issue of abortion access squarely in state lawmakers’ hands. From Washington to Connecticut, lawmakers who support abortion rights have stepped up, introducing and enacting legislation to safeguard, restore, and even expand abortion access where they can.
As we mark the loss of Roe, we also acknowledge that it was never enough. Roe did not guarantee abortion access for all people, especially those in communities that have always faced barriers to health care due to systemic racism and discrimination. Now more than ever, states play a critical role in prioritizing sexual and reproductive health care and going beyond Roe to build a better, more equitable health care landscape than we had before.
So far, more than 70 proactive abortion rights measures have been introduced or pre-filed during the 2023 state legislative session — including efforts to enshrine the right to abortion into state law, increase funding for abortion care, and limit the risks for abortion providers who provide care to patients from out of state.
Already, we saw the first reproductive health victory of the session this week with the enactment of the Patient and Provider Protection Act in Illinois. Among other positive provisions, this bill mitigates the threat of aggressive out-of-state litigation against providers of abortion and gender-affirming care; clarifies the range of abortion services that can be provided by advanced practice clinicians in the state; and creates a pathway for out-of-state medical staff to be quickly licensed for reproductive health care in the state.
Earlier this month, New Jersey Gov. Murphy announced that the state will award $15 million in zero-interest loans and grants to reproductive health care clinics for facility upgrades and security. Program grantees must provide a “full spectrum of reproductive health services,” including abortion, birth control, pregnancy testing, basic infertility services, and family planning counseling. Already, $6 million has been awarded to 15 applicants. In California, Gov. Newsom’s proposed 2023-24 budget includes $200 million in new funding for a grant program to support access to family planning and related services, system transformation, capacity, and sustainability of California’s safety net.
Other notable proactive policies introduced and pre-filed so far this year include:
- Enshrining abortion protections into state law and state constitutional amendments to protect the right to abortion: Legislation to protect the right to abortion in state law has been introduced in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Minnesota, where the Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act) is being fast-tracked and could become law in the coming days. Lawmakers supportive of sexual and reproductive health care have introduced bills to amend state constitutions to affirm and protect abortion rights in Connecticut, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
- Repealing abortion bans and unnecessary restrictions: On the first day of the legislative session, Michigan lawmakers introduced legislation to repeal the 1931 criminal abortion ban and a host of other restrictions on abortion currently in the state code. Utah lawmakers have pre-filed legislation to repeal a TRAP restriction on physician reporting. Reproductive rights champions in Rhode Island are working to repeal the state’s ban on coverage for abortion in state employees’ insurance program. In Minnesota, lawmakers want to remove restrictions on abortions provided at birth centers and covered under MinnesotaCare. Sexual and reproductive health care champions in Missouri also introduced legislation to repeal the state’s abortion ban.
- Shielding abortion providers and out-of-state patients: In New York, lawmakers have introduced legislation to expand provider protections by strengthening existing extradition refusals for health care professionals who provide a legally protected health activity, like abortion, to a patient from another state where it is outlawed.
- Increasing funding for abortion: New York’s proposed Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would provide funding to abortion providers and non-profits to fund staffers, patient navigations, health centers, and support travel to the state for care. Washington lawmakers have introduced bills to create a fund with grants for abortion providers and health centers experiencing an increase in patients due to the Dobbs decision, and direct funding for abortion travel costs.
- Limiting the harm of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs): Reproductive rights champions in Colorado and Texas have put forth legislation to regulate CPCs. These centers pose as legitimate health centers but are actually propaganda mills set up to spread misinformation and lies about abortion to stop people from getting the care they need. The Texas bill would require that all materials at CPCs be medically accurate. In Colorado, the bill would prohibit the use of deceptive advertising by anti-abortion centers and would classify advertising for “abortion pill reversal,” an unscientific and potentially harmful process, as a deceptive trade practice.
While all these efforts may not necessarily become law, there is no doubt that champions in states across the country understand the urgency of working to address the abortion access crisis however possible. Planned Parenthood organizations across the country will continue working with partners and reproductive rights champions to support these efforts and work to ensure that everyone can access the care they need — no matter what.