Republican-controlled states across the nation are in a race to be declared as the most restrictive state on abortion in the country.
In March, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a “heartbeat” abortion law — banning abortion around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even realize they are pregnant. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a similar bill in April, and so did Georgia’s governor earlier this month. An eight-week ban passed the Missouri Senate.
This week, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama, signed into law a bill that makes administering or attempting to administer an abortion a felony with sentence of up to 99 years in prison. The only exception to the bill is when the abortion is conducted to “prevent a serious health risk.”
Also new this week: In Pennsylvania, State House Republicans passed a bill that would ban abortions based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis. Last year, he House passed a similar bill only for it to die in the senate. Gov. Wolf opposes the bill and said he would veto it if it arrived at his desk.
The timing of this rush to ban abortion is not random.
Last summer, after President Donald Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh, who has taken anti-choice positions as a judge on lower courts the past, as his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, many reproductive health and abortion access advocates worried that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would be the end of Roe v. Wade, the case that took away the ability of states to ban abortions in 1973.
Since the passage of Roe, there have been a steady string of attempts by the anti-choice state legislatures to chip away at abortion rights, and with Kavanaugh’s anti-choice vote in the Supreme Court, those who want to end legalized abortion feel newly empowered to make it happen.
That’s not a theory. That’s what Steven Arden, general counsel of anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, explained to the New York Times: “There are many states that believe that the time is now for the Supreme Court to reconsider the blanket prohibition that Roe v. Wade expressed."