Abortion is banned or severely limited in a number of states. Here’s where things stand
Laws that ban abortion or severely restrict the procedure have gone into effect in about a dozen states after the US Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to abortion on June 24.
In several of these states, abortion rights advocates and providers have taken legal action to challenge abortion restrictions and have seen some success in temporarily blocking bans.
Here are the states that have enacted restrictions on abortion or face legal challenges over their bans:
States where abortion bans or limits are in effect
Alabama: abortion banned
A federal judge on June 24 lifted an injunction against a 2019 state law that bans abortions, allowing the law to go into effect.
The law allows exceptions to prevent a “serious health risk” to the mother, for ectopic pregnancy and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly.”
Arizona: abortion banned
An Arizona Superior Court judge ruled on September 23 that a 1901 ban on nearly all abortions in the state could be enforced. The judge granted a request by Arizona’s Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich to lift a court injunction that had barred enforcement of the pre-statehood ban on abortion after the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
In addition to barring abortion in all cases except when “it is necessary to save (the mother’s) life,” the pre-statehood law carries a prison sentence of two to five years for abortion providers.
Arizona has a separate law banning abortion after 15 weeks that takes effect on September 24.
Arkansas: abortion banned
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified the state’s trigger ban, allowing it take effect on June 24. The law bans abortions except in the case of a life-threatening emergency.
Florida: 15-week ban in effect but being challenged in court
In Florida, a law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy took effect on July 1. The law has exemptions involving “serious risk” to the pregnant person and for a fatal fetal abnormality if two physicians confirm the diagnosis in writing.
A state judge on June 30 said he would issue a temporary statewide injunction and signed a written order on July 5. But the state also filed an appeal, a move that automatically stayed the judge’s order that temporarily blocked the ban.
With the appeal, the law remains in effect while litigation continues.
The plaintiffs in the case, Florida abortion providers, asked the state Supreme Court in August to put the 15-week ban back on hold while the appeal plays out.
Georgia: 6-week ban in effect but being challenged in court
A state law that bans abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy took effect on July 20, after a federal appellate court allowed the law to be enforced immediately.
After the Supreme Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (which overturned Roe), the Georgia ban remained on hold for several weeks, until the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a lower district court’s order that had blocked the law.
Abortion providers and advocates filed a new challenge against the Georgia law in state court, arguing that it violates the state constitution and cannot be enforced because it went against federal constitutional precedent when it was enacted in 2019 and can’t be revived. The judge, however, declined in August to halt the law’s enforcement while the lawsuit played out, because he concluded he did not have the authority to issue the preliminary order.
Idaho: abortion ban in effect but parts of it blocked by court
Idaho’s trigger law banning most abortions went into effect August 25, but litigation continues around certain aspects.
The ban prohibits abortions unless necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant person, or in situations of rape or incest that have been reported to law enforcement.
The law was designed to take effect 30 days following the US Supreme Court’s transmission of its judgment overturning Roe v. Wade.
A federal judge on August 24, however, blocked enforcement of the ban in certain medical emergencies, after the Biden administration sued the state, arguing that the law opened doctors up to prosecution for abortion care they were obligated to offer under federal law.
The case could be appealed, potentially leading to the Supreme Court being asked to weigh in.
Kentucky: abortion bans in effect while court challenge unfolds
A Kentucky state court of appeals on August 1 reinstated the state’s so-called trigger law banning abortion as well as a separate law banning the procedure after roughly six weeks of pregnancy, siding with Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron and allowing the laws to temporarily be enforced while the case proceeds in the courts.
On August 18, the state Supreme Court allowed the laws to remain in effect, as it plans to hear oral arguments on the appeal of the temporary injunction in November.
Louisiana: abortion ban in effect but being challenged in court
Louisiana’s abortion trigger ban went into effect again on August 1 while a legal challenge to the law continues.
The law had been temporarily blocked by a state judge in July but is again in effect after a ruling from a state appellate court allowed the law to be enforced.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is challenging the law, has filed a request with the state Supreme Court to reinstate the temporary order that had blocked the law’s enforcement. The Supreme Court has not acted on that request.
Mississippi: abortion banned
Mississippi’s trigger law went into effect on July 7, after the last abortion clinic in the state was unsuccessful in its attempts to get the law blocked. The trigger ban prohibits abortions in the state with exceptions only in cases of rape or if the pregnant person’s life is endangered.
Missouri: abortion banned
Missouri’s law that bans abortion except in medical emergencies went into effect on June 24.
North Carolina: 20-week ban in effect
A US district court judge in North Carolina on August 17 allowed a state law that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy to be reinstated, lifting an injunction he had placed on the law prior to the US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
In 2019, District Judge William Osteen had stopped the law from being enforced and declared the ban unconstitutional based on Supreme Court precedent.
But in his August 17 order, Osteen wrote that “under Dobbs, there is now no constitutional right to a pre-viability abortion, thus depriving the injunction of any constitutional basis from which to enjoin the challenged North Carolina laws regulating abortion.”
Oklahoma: abortion banned
Abortion had been unavailable in the state since May, after the governor signed bills into law that allowed civil enforcement of abortion restrictions.
After the Supreme Court overruled Roe, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said that the state may enforce its 1910 pre-Roe abortion ban, under which abortion is a felony up to five years in prison except to preserve the woman’s life.
The attorney general’s office had said that SB 612, which goes into effect on August 27 and enacts harsher penalties for performing an abortion, would become the primary prohibition on the procedure.
Abortion providers had challenged Oklahoma’s pre-Roe abortion ban and the abortion statutes signed by Stitt, calling the laws overlapping and contradictory.
South Dakota: abortion banned
South Dakota’s trigger law, which makes it illegal to perform an abortion except in life-threatening medical emergencies, went into effect on June 24.
Tennessee: abortion banned
Abortions up to six weeks of pregnancy had been available in Tennessee, but the trigger law that took effect on August 25 bans abortions at all stages of pregnancy, except when necessary to prevent the pregnant woman’s death or serious risk of “substantial and irreversible impairment” of a bodily function. It does not allow for abortions in cases of rape or incest.
Texas: abortion banned
Texas’ trigger law went into effect on August 25, putting in place new criminal penalties for abortion and offering an exemption only for certain health emergencies. The state additionally has a civil enforcement law — authorizing private citizens to bring lawsuits against alleged violators in state court — for abortions performed after around six weeks into the pregnancy.
West Virginia: abortion banned
West Virginia’s governor on September 16 signed a bill into law that prohibits abortion except in certain medical situations or in cases of rape or incest.
House Bill 302, which was passed in a special session, allows exceptions for cases of rape or incest up to eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and the first 14 weeks of pregnancy for minors — and needs to be reported to law enforcement.
It also allows exceptions if the embryo or fetus is nonviable, a medical emergency exists or in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.
Between July and now, abortion had briefly been available up to 20 weeks, after a state court judge blocked a West Virginia abortion ban dating back to the 1800s that was in effect in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs.
Wisconsin: pre-Roe ban in effect but being challenged in court
Democratic state officials in Wisconsin have asked a state court to block Wisconsin’s pre-Roe abortion ban, which was allowed to take effect after the high court overturned the federal holding. The 1849 law criminalizes abortion in the state, including in cases of rape and incest.
The lawsuit asks a state court to “clarify that Wisconsin’s 19th century abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest has not gone back into effect,” and to deem it unenforceable.
States where abortion bans or extreme limits are on hold due to court order
Indiana: ban blocked while lawsuit continues
Indiana was the first state to pass a restrictive law against abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned, doing so during a special legislative session.
Senate Bill 1 provides exceptions for when the life of the mother is at risk and for fatal fetal anomalies, up until 20 weeks post-fertilization. It also allows exceptions if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest during the first 10 weeks post-fertilization.
The judge on September 22 issued a preliminary injunction requested by plaintiffs, saying that they are likely to succeed on the merits as to their claim that the law violates the Indiana constitution’s liberty guarantees.
Iowa: GOP governor asks court to revive state’s 6-week abortion ban
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds asked a state court on August 11 to revive a six-week abortion ban that had previously been halted in 2019.
In her brief filed in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Reynolds pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe in June, as well as the Iowa Supreme Court’s separate reversal earlier that month of its own 2018 decision that had interpreted the state constitution as extending protections for abortion rights.
Michigan: ban blocked
In Michigan, the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban — a 1931 abortion law, which was invalidated by the decision in Roe v. Wade but remained on the state’s books — was deemed unconstitutional by a state court judge in September. The judge’s September 7 order permanently enjoined the Michigan state attorney general, a Democrat, and county prosecutors from enforcing the law.
The court had temporarily put the law on hold in May, before the US Supreme Court decision was handed down. After an appellate court said that order applied only to state officials, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer successfully sought an order from a separate court halting the ban’s enforcement by county officials as well. There are also pending requests before the state Supreme Court asking the court to declare definitively that the pre-Roe ban violates the state’s constitution.
North Dakota: judge blocked trigger ban day before it would take effect
The state’s trigger ban was blocked a day before it was set to go into effect on August 26.
A state judge granted a preliminary injunction on August 25, blocking the law while a legal challenge plays out.
The abortion ban would make it a felony to perform an abortion in the state with exceptions to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.
Ohio: 6-week abortion ban temporarily blocked
A state judge on September 14 temporarily blocked Ohio’s law prohibiting abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, restoring abortion access in the state for now.
With the judge’s ruling, abortion is again available up to about 22 weeks after a person’s last menstrual period.
The temporary restraining order is in place for the next 14 days, and the plaintiffs have requested a preliminary injunction while the case plays out.
On September 2, Ohio abortion providers filed a new challenge against the law in Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, arguing that the law violates the state constitution. The groups said they withdrew their initial challenge to the law that was before the state Supreme Court, which had denied their request for an emergency hold.
South Carolina: 6-week abortion ban temporarily blocked
The South Carolina Supreme Court on August 17 temporarily blocked the state’s six-week abortion ban from being enforced, granting a request from state abortion providers for a temporary injunction while their challenge to the law continues.
South Carolina’s law, S.1, had been in effect since June 27, when a judge lifted a federal court’s hold on the ban days after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. A circuit court judge in late July declined to block the ban and recommended the lawsuit move to the state’s high court.
Utah: trigger ban blocked while court challenge continues
Abortion services have remained available in Utah, after a state judge blocked the state’s trigger law while litigation continues.
The law would ban abortions with exceptions for cases of rape or incest, detection of severe birth defects, or prevention of the death or serious injury of the person giving birth.
For now, abortions up until 18 weeks of pregnancy have been able to continue.
Wyoming: trigger ban blocked while lawsuit continues
Wyoming’s abortion ban was blocked on July 27, the day it was set to go into effect.
A state court judge issued a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit brought by abortion providers, an access fund and two women, who argue that the ban violates Wyoming’s constitution.
The law — which includes exemptions for incest, sexual assault or “serious risk of death or of substantial and irreversible physical impairment” — was a trigger law set in motion by the Dobbs ruling. Under the law, the ban could be implemented five days after certification from the governor, which happened on July 22. The judge has placed a preliminary injunction on the ban while the lawsuit continues.
This story has been updated with additional developments.
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