Special Report

States Where Abortion Will Be Illegal

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16. North Dakota
> Path to abortion ban: Trigger law in existence
> Party control of state legislature and governorship: Republican

Before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, seeking or having an abortion were both criminal offenses in North Dakota, and there were no abortion clinics in the state. With a six-week ban in place since 2013 (which was blocked in court), and a trigger law in place since 2018, North Dakota is poised to immediately ban abortion if the Supreme Court allows it. There is currently only one abortion clinic in the state.

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17. Ohio
> Path to abortion ban: Six-week ban in existence
> Party control of state legislature and governorship: Republican

Although abortion is legal until 22 weeks in Ohio, a 2019 six-week ban is poised to go into effect if Roe is overturned. The state’s heartbeat bill allows for providers who perform abortions after six weeks to be prosecuted. A bill is currently in consideration in Ohio’s legislature that would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers and others who aid someone in obtaining an abortion. A trigger law, House Bill 598, is also being deliberated, but will not go to vote until the U.S. Supreme Court releases their opinion.

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18. Oklahoma
> Path to abortion ban: Trigger law in existence
> Party control of state legislature and governorship: Republican

On May 25, 2022, Oklahoma enacted the strictest abortion law in the country. The law allows for abortions only in medical emergencies to save the life of the pregnant person, and before six weeks in cases of sexual assault – by a family member or otherwise – that have been reported to the police. Otherwise, abortion is illegal from the time of conception. Modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act, Oklahoma’s law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and helpers. Oklahoma also has a trigger law on the books.

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19. South Carolina
> Path to abortion ban: Six-week ban in existence
> Party control of state legislature and governorship: Republican

South Carolina passed a fetal heartbeat ban in 2021. The ban was blocked by a federal judge but could be enacted if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v. Wade. Current South Carolina laws restrict the administration of abortion solely to physicians – explicitly prohibiting nurse midwives from providing abortion services – and exclude the use of telemedicine when providing abortion care. Providers who violate these rules can be prosecuted.  

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20. South Dakota
> Path to abortion ban: Trigger law in existence
> Party control of state legislature and governorship: Republican

South Dakota has a trigger law in place dating back to 2005. In 2006, the state’s legislature passed a law that would make it a felony to provide abortion services except to save the life of the pregnant person. Planned Parenthood challenged the law and secured an injunction. A more lenient law, which passed in 2008, banned abortion except in cases of sexual violence or threat to the health of the pregnant person. It was again successfully challenged by Planned Parenthood. 

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