TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Ianthe Metzger, Planned Parenthood Federation of America & Planned Parenthood Action Fund
CC: Abby Ledoux, Planned Parenthood Federation of America & Planned Parenthood Action Fund
DATE: March 15, 2022
RE: Abortion bans and restrictions mount in states across the country just two months into 2022
Emboldened by a Supreme Court decision that could end the constitutional right to abortion this spring, politicians opposed to abortion rights have wasted no time advancing laws to harshly restrict abortion or ban it entirely. From an Oklahoma bill that would ban abortion after 30 days of pregnancy to measures that would grant personhood to a fetus, politicians have filed more than 300 anti-abortion rights bills in 41 states in just the first two months of 2022. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, compared with the same period in 2021:
- There was a significant uptick in the number of bills that ban abortion at six weeks of pregnancy — before many people know they are pregnant. Beyond six-week bans, this year compared to last year, more abortion bans of all kinds have been introduced.
- More states moved to limit access to or completely ban medication abortion, with several advancing legislation on the debunked and harmful “abortion reversal.”
- Double the number of states have introduced trigger bans. These laws will ban abortion in those states if Roe v. Wade is overturned or dismantled.
- More restrictions limiting minors’ access to sexual and reproductive health care and education have been introduced, particularly through bills requiring parental consent to access abortion and gender-affirming care for LGBTQ+ youth.
More than a third of the more than 300 anti-abortion rights bills moving through state legislatures this year include abortion bans, such as bans after 30 days of pregnancy, complete bans, trigger bans, and bans based on the supposed reason behind a patient’s decision. Many states aren’t waiting for a Supreme Court decision, which is expected this summer, to pass bans with immediate effective dates.
Here are the trends you need to know as opponents of abortion rights prepare for a post-Roe future:
- Abortion bans after 15 weeks: Four states have introduced 15-week abortion bans modeled after the Mississippi law that the Supreme Court is now deciding. Should the court uphold the law and overturn Roe v. Wade, 26 states would move to ban abortion. Florida’s ban became the first to pass a full legislature this session and is awaiting the governor’s signature or veto. Despite 11th hour attempts this weekend, West Virginia lawmakers failed to pass its ban before the legislative session ended this weekend. States to watch: Florida, Arizona, and Kentucky.
- Texas-style copycat abortion bans: 10 states have introduced abortion bans modeled after Texas’s abortion ban which includes a “sue they neighbor” provision that allows private citizens to act as bounty hunters and sue people who help patients access abortion. This week Idaho became the first state to pass a copycat ban. Oklahoma’s bill has passed the state Senate and is rapidly advancing. States to watch: Idaho, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Also, keep an eye on Tennessee, where some lawmakers are considering whether to add copycat language to another abortion bill.
- Medication abortion restrictions: With the FDA lifting the in-person dispensing requirement for one of the drugs in the two-step medication abortion regimen, and as telehealth and medication abortion become more popular, many states are moving to restrict access to medication abortion on all fronts. So far this session, more than 35 attacks on medication abortion have been introduced in 22 states. These attacks include onerous and burdensome reporting requirements for providers, dispensers, and manufacturers, bans on telehealth for medication abortion, unnecessary waiting periods, and mandatory ultrasounds. Many states are also advancing informed consent measures that require providers and health centers to share information about “abortion reversal,” a dangerous, unethical, and scientifically unproven myth that medication abortions can be reversed. States to watch: Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Wyoming, Tennessee, South Carolina, Nebraska, and South Dakota (already passed the full legislature and awaiting the governor’s signature).
- Trigger bans: Trigger bans have been introduced in seven states so far this legislative session. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortion would be banned in these states immediately or by quick state action. Twelve states already have trigger bans on the books. States to watch: Oklahoma, Wyoming, and South Carolina.
- Bills targeting minors: A variety of measures limiting minors’ access to abortion, comprehensive sex education, and gender-affirming care have been introduced. So far this session, we have seen more than 20 bills introduced that aim to limit access to factual education in schools, from discussions about race to health care to gender identity. These bills are often portrayed as efforts to give parents more control over the education of their children, when in reality, they strip youth of their right to holistic, factually-accurate education. More than five bills have been introduced explicitly stigmatizing LGBTQ+ content in schools by prohibiting the teaching of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community or banning discussions about LGBTQ+ “lifestyles” from sex-ed courses specifically. We have also seen a host of bills aiming to limit the health care that minors can receive, with more than 10 bills focused on limiting minors’ access to abortion and nearly 30 bills prohibiting minors from receiving gender-affirming health care. States to watch: South Carolina’s “Parental Bill of Rights,” which states that parents have “the sole right to direct education and care of his child” and Alabama, which is poised to pass a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also recently issued a directive allowing the state to investigate gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth as child abuse. It has now been blocked in court.
Reproductive health champions in states across the country have also stepped up this session, introducing more than 100 proactive abortion rights measures so far. These include efforts to add abortion protections to state law, repeal unnecessary abortion restrictions like ultrasound requirements and 24-hour waiting periods, and expand the number of qualified abortion providers making procedures more readily available to those in need. We’ve also seen some wins on the proactive front including:
- The enactment of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice in New Jersey, a historic law included protections for abortion, birth control, and pregnancy care.
- The Affirm Washington Abortion Act in Washington state, which would expand the number of eligible medical professionals who can provide abortion and make the language in the state abortion law gender-neutral. It will soon be signed by the governor.
- Vermont’s Reproductive Liberty Amendment, which heads to the ballot in November, and could make Vermont the first state to explicitly enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution.
- A $15 million allotment for a Reproductive Health Equity Fund in the Oregon budget this year.
Additional states to watch: Connecticut and Delaware, where legislation to expand the number of providers authorized to provide abortion has been introduced; Colorado and Hawaii, where lawmakers are working to strengthen protections for abortion in state law; and Maryland, where legislators are advancing a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution.