- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2022

Several abortion-limiting states are poised to make it even more difficult to terminate a pregnancy now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.

The conservative Family Policy Alliance told The Washington Times in an exclusive report on Thursday that a survey of its affiliated councils in 40 states found that activists expect a further tightening of abortion restrictions in Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

“The end of Roe marks a profound new beginning in the pro-life movement. The states are already drawing their battle lines, fighting for the ability to save or take lives,” Craig DeRoche, CEO and president of Family Policy Alliance, said before the decision.

Florida State University law professor Mary Ziegler, a leading expert on the legal history of the U.S. abortion debate, said the list “seems good but with caveats.”

“Many of these states are politically divided and so whether stricter abortion laws will succeed isn’t clear,” Ms. Ziegler said in an email.

The professor said she would include Iowa and Kansas in the list of states likely to pass stricter restrictions.

But while North Carolina and South Carolina also would be likely to limit the procedure further, she said the efforts would struggle in Democrat-controlled New Mexico and some other states on the list.

“Moderate Republicans in Florida have also been anxious about some of the further-reaching abortion bans and Virginia is a purple state where the dynamics may well be similar,” Ms. Ziegler said. “So, if the question is pursuing such bills, sure. There is more uncertainty about where this will succeed and how far such laws will be able to go.”

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationally, and return jurisdiction over the procedure to state lawmakers.

Minutes after the court’s ruling, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt certified a 2019 “trigger ban” on abortion, making the state the first in the country to “effectively end abortion” in response.

Partisans on both sides of the abortion debate have warned for months that red states may become more restrictive and blue states more permissive in a post-Roe landscape.

On Wednesday, Louisiana’s pro-life Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill that will strengthen the state’s 2006 trigger ban. Louisiana’s new S.B. 342 toughens the penalties for anyone who “commits the crime of abortion,” including up to 10 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines.

Shawn Carney, the Texas-based president of 40 Days for Life, said “it will be up to the states to conform our laws to protect the unborn at every stage” after Roe.

“This is not an ideological effort, but one of basic biology, humanity and common sense,” Mr. Carney said in an email.

According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute‘s interactive Abortion Policies map, all of the states on the Family Policy Alliance’s list had at least “some” abortion restrictions in place as of Tuesday.

Nevada, categorized as having “some restrictions/some protections,” bans abortion starting at 24 weeks of pregnancy and bans most Medicaid coverage. But it also protects patients and abortion clinic workers.

New Mexico, a “protective” state, covers abortion with Medicaid funds and does not restrict it based on the gestational age of a fetus.

Guttmacher moved Oklahoma into a new “most restrictive” category after Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill on May 25 that made the Sooner State the first in the nation to ban nearly all abortions.

“Just last month, Oklahoma became the first state to completely ban abortion with Roe still technically in place. Meanwhile, other states are taking action to protect and expand abortion rights and access, a task that is more important than ever before,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Guttmacher‘s president and CEO.

Michael New, an assistant professor of social research who studies abortion statistics at The Catholic University of America, said Oklahoma is only the beginning.

“These are political and legislative battles that will likely engage pro-lifers for years to come,” Mr. New said.

Update: This article was updated June 24.

• Sean Salai can be reached at [email protected].

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