Fifteen states passed new laws regulating access to abortion in 2022. At least nine states restricted access to abortion in some way. Six states expanded access to the procedure.
Laws regulating access to abortion are more relevant now due to a likely shift in the Supreme Court’s position on the subject.
The Supreme Court is currently considering a case involving Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act. In early May, a leaked draft opinion, confirmed as authentic by Chief Justice John Roberts, showed a majority of Supreme Court justices are in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. Such a ruling would give states the right to pass laws banning abortion.
Texas law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone else who assists a person receiving an abortion such as drivers to a clinic or anyone who financially assists the abortion. Oklahoma’s Heartbeat Act or SB 1503 bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected in the fetus. Like the Texas law, it allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against those who provide or assist in an abortion.
In comparison, Idaho’s SB 1309 allows only family members of the aborted fetus to sue the abortion provider for damages of $20,000 or more. Idaho and Texas provide exemptions for medical emergencies and pregnancies related to rape or incest.
Restrictions on methods of abortion or access to abortions
Florida passed a 15-week ban on abortion in April. The bill allows pregnant people to get an abortion only for cases that pose “serious risk” to the pregnant person’s health or involve a fetal anomaly. The law also requires the abortion and the reason it was performed be reported to the state. The bill does not include an exemption for rape or incest.
Arizona also passed a 15-week abortion ban this year. The law makes exceptions for life-threatening pregnancies and those that may result in “substantial and irreversible impairment" of a pregnant person’s “major bodily functions.” There is no exception for cases of rape or incest.
Kentucky’s House Bill 3 outlaws abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It also requires patients who receive abortions to file “birth-death certificates.” Doctors who perform abortions must report each procedure to the state, along with the method of abortion and detailed information about the pregnant person and their sexual partner. Depending on which provisions of the law are violated, abortion providers can risk civil penalties, felony charges, or the loss of their medical license. The law makes an exception for medical emergencies. There is no exception for cases of rape or incest.
Some states have laws on the books that ban abortion in the state if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. These statutes are also called “trigger” laws.
Wyoming passed a law that would outlaw abortion five days after the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The bill makes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest and for cases when an abortion is necessary to preserve the pregnant person from “a serious risk of death or of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
Oklahoma also passed SB 612 criminally banning abortion procedures within the state. Doctors can only perform abortions in medical emergencies. The law makes performing an abortion or attempting to perform one a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 or a maximum of 10 years in state prison, or both. The law does not provide exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
States expanding abortion access
Six states have passed new abortion laws in 2022 that protect access to the procedure.
Colorado, New Jersey and Washington all passed laws that either establish or expand statutory protections for abortion access. The Reproductive Health Equity Act in Colorado affirms that pregnant people have the right to an abortion in the state and blocks public entities from denying or restricting that right.
The Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act in New Jersey codifies the right to an abortion in the state. It also permits the state Department of Banking and Insurance to conduct a study on whether the cost of an abortion is a barrier to low-income and uninsured women.
Washington state passed a bill in March preventing the state from penalizing, prosecuting, or taking action against anyone who gets an abortion or who assists someone who does. The law is a direct response to states such as Texas that allow civil suits against abortion providers or those who assist a pregnant person in getting an abortion.
Maryland and Washington passed laws expanding the number of medical professionals who can perform abortions in both states.
In California, Maryland, and Oregon new legislation requires health care plans to cover abortion or establishes a state fund to assist with abortion costs.
Connecticut’s House Bill 5414 protects abortion providers and those who help someone get an abortion in Connecticut from being sued in another state.
When will the Supreme Court decide the constitutionality of abortion?
The Supreme Court's final ruling on the Mississippi case — which will determine if abortion is a federally protected right — is expected to come out before the end of the term, in late June or early July.