Home / Government / Articles / How have abortion laws changed since the Dobbs ruling?

On June 24, 2022 — the day the court issued its ruling to overturn Roe V. Wade—at least eight states carried out total or near-total abortion bans.

With no constitutional right to an abortion, there were no restrictions on how individual states could regulate the procedure.

Since the Dobbs ruling, state abortion laws have changed in several ways.

Older laws on the books banning abortion went into effect. States with laws set to ban abortion in the case of Roe being overturned went into effect. And other states passed new laws prohibiting the practice.

In Michigan, voters will decide in November on whether to amend the state’s constitution to include a right to an abortion. In Kansas, voters decided in early August against a proposed constitutional amendment removing abortion right protections. Some states passed abortion bans prior to Roe V. Wade being overturned. Abortion bans in Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Alabama have gone into effect since the ruling.

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Pre-Roe abortion laws

A handful of states have pre-Roe laws passed before the landmark ruling in 1973, including Arizona. The abortion ban was initially passed by the Arizona territorial legislature in 1864 and recodified in 1901, 11 years before Arizona became a state. Despite the Roe V. Wade ruling, the state re-enacted the law again in 1977, prohibiting abortion, except to save the life of the mother. An Arizona court recently blocked enforcement of the law since it went into effect on Sept. 23.

A Wisconsin statue passed in 1849 that bans abortion is under dispute. The State’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit challenging the ban, but it is currently in effect.

Michigan’s 1931 law criminalizes all abortion procedures except in cases of life endangerment. A state judge issued a permanent injunction on the law in September.

Abortion laws and midterm elections

The upcoming midterm elections will likely decide the fate of abortion in Pennsylvania and Michigan, where Republican-led legislatures have passed restrictive abortion laws that have been blocked by Democratic governors. In Michigan, voters will decide in the November election whether to amend the state’s constitution to include the right to an abortion.

What is the status of trigger laws?

Some states’ trigger laws—abortion bans designed to go into effect once Roe was overturned—immediately activated after the Supreme Court's decision (Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, and Oklahoma). Other laws were activated once a state official certified the court's decision. In Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, the ban took effect 30 days after the June 24 decision was announced.

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There were 97,426 reported abortions in the 13 states with trigger laws, according to 2019 data from the CDC.

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Recent abortion laws passed

Most recently, Indiana passed a near-total ban[1] on abortions, which went into effect Sept. 15. The law was later blocked by a judge in Indiana.

On Sept. 16, West Virginia’s HB 302 was signed into law, banning abortion at all stages of pregnancy with exception for cases of rape or incest up to eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and the first 14 weeks of pregnancy for minors.

During the 2022 primary election, Kansas residents voted against a state constitutional amendment that would have eliminated protections for abortion.

For more information on current abortion laws, see which states passed new abortion laws in 2022?

[1]

Abortion is banned at all stages of pregnancy, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest, life endangerment of the pregnant person, serious health risks to the pregnant person or lethal fetal anomaly, according to Senate Bill 1.