What You Need to Know

Abortion is a safe and common medical procedure, but that hasn’t stopped anti-choice politicians: for decades, efforts to limit access to abortion have escalated, now reaching an all-time high. On September 1, a law went into effect in Texas banning abortion after six weeks, after the Supreme Court failed to act on abortion providers’ emergency filing to block it. And on December 1, the Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization regarding a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. As anti-abortion policymakers gain momentum across states, providers and activists continue to organize for abortion access.

Texas’ new law, SB8, is the strictest in the country.

This is the first time a six-week ban has actually taken effect—and one of the most extreme laws we’ve seen. At six weeks, most people don’t know they’re pregnant, and over 85% of abortions happen after this time. SB8 allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids and abets” someone in getting an abortion after six weeks, including anyone providing transportation to a clinic or offering financial assistance for the procedure. Laws like these disproportionately harm Black people, people of color, youth, low-income people, and queer people, and threaten abortion providers.

Mississippi’s ban was passed with the intention of escalating the law in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The clinic fighting the ban is Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only clinic left in Mississippi.

This year, 90 different restrictions had been enacted to create barriers to abortion access at the state and local levels—the most in one year since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

The Guttmacher Institute found 11 abortion bans have been enacted in 8 states this year. In Alaska and Oklahoma, laws were passed banning abortion at any point in a pregnancy, with an exception if the patient’s life is endangered; in Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, 6 week bans (with few exceptions) were passed; Oklahoma and Texas also passed total abortion bans that go into effect if Roe v. Wade is reversed; Montana banned abortion after 20 weeks; South Dakota banned abortion specifically in cases of Down syndrome; and Arizona banned abortion in cases of fetal abnormality.

Medication abortion was greatly limited in 8 states.

Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and West Virginia enacted restrictions for medication abortion, including prohibiting tele-health visits for this purpose. Arizona and Arkansas also disobeyed the FDA decision to allow the abortion pill to be mailed during the pandemic. Arkansas, Indiana, South Dakota, and West Virginia now require providers to misinform patients that there is a “reversal” for medication abortion, a claim with little to no evidence.

New TRAP laws restricting access passed in 7 states.

In Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, new TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws include laws requiring fetal tissue to be buried or cremated (AZ and TN) and requiring providers to ensure another physician with admitting privileges at a hospital within 25 miles of the clinic is available if they are unable to obtain a transfer agreement (OH).

However, some states have expanded abortion access this year.

New Mexico repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban; Virginia repealed the law banning abortion from being covered by plans in its state insurance exchange; Hawaii passed a law permitting advanced practice nurses to provide abortion care; Washington passed a law requiring college health insurance plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortion care; and Colorado passed a law ensuring that public funds pay for abortion services.

Join the Fight for Abortion Access

Learn about bringing the Adopt-A-Clinic and/or Expose Fake Clinics campaign(s) to your campus and community!