The US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization put the onus on states to define laws around access to abortion-related services. As expected, the two largest sources of action following the decision—beyond US President Joe Biden’s July 8 executive order on abortion access—have been state-level litigation challenging abortion restrictions and executive actions in states that support abortion access.
State injunctions blocking the enforcement of laws in Louisiana and Florida were lifted, a new injunction against enforcement was issued in Idaho, and the Texas Supreme Court upheld part of a temporary injunction against enforcement of the state’s pre-Roe criminal ban. Litigation continues in nearly every state where these bans are in place, and we expect the status of these laws to remain in flux for several months.
Democratic governors in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island issued executive orders protecting abortion providers in their states and barring state agencies from cooperating with out-of-state investigations into persons who seek abortions or abortion services.
In addition, the White House released an order directing
Indiana plans to hold a special session considering abortion legislation and inflation relief measures on July 25, 2022. The governor of South Dakota also announced plans to pursue a special legislative session on abortion restrictions, but did not specify a date for convening. The governor of Virginia further declared that he would introduce and support a 15-week ban on abortion during the next legislative session.
The Pennsylvania legislature approved a number of changes to the state constitution on July 8, including language saying the state constitution does not grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion. The measure does not require the approval of the governor but would need to be voted on by the public and then reapproved in a following session to be ratified.
Additionally, Ohio Rep. Gary Glick introduced a bill on July 11 that would require Ohio law to recognize the personhood and constitutional rights of all persons from the moment of conception. The level of support for this effort is unclear, but Ohio’s legislature is in session year-round, so action could occur at any point.
We will continue to monitor developments in this area and provide updates as new information becomes available. Please feel free to reach out with specific questions or for more tailored advice regarding specific state prohibitions.
Our Reproductive Rights Task Force is closely monitoring and analyzing the impact of state laws regulating abortion access to advise clients on how best to respond. Visit our centralized portal, which aggregates our insights and analyses of Dobbs and its subsequent influence on state laws throughout the United States.
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