Thirteen states have passed so-called “trigger laws” in anticipation of the decision to limit, overturn, or strike down the right to abortion protections. These laws will go into effect after federal protections are struck down. Here's what you need to know.
Abortion is legal in Alabama until 20 weeks, but there are a numerous burdensome requirements: A patient who wants an abortion must have an ultrasound, endure biased anti-abortion counseling, and wait at least 48 hours before they can recieve the procedure. For minors, parental consent is required.
After the leaked draft was published, the Alabama House Majority Leader pledged to push through a trigger ban, which would outlaw abortion in the state following the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Gov. Kay Ivey would likely sign the bill into law. In 2018, voters in Alabama ratified anti-abortion amendment to the state’s constitution.
Access to abortion is protected by the state’s Supreme Court. Patients are required to receive state-sanctioned counseling before they undergo the procedure.
Abortion is effectively banned in the American Somoa. People here have to leave the islands to receive the procedure. This will not change if Roe is overturned.
If and when the U.S. Supreme Court limits or overturns Roe, the state will revert to a 100-year-old law that would ban the procedure. The pregnant person who receives an abortion, or anyone who helps a them could face a prison sentence for up to five years.
Arizonans can travel to New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, or California for access to abortion.
In February 2019, the Arkansas governor signed its trigger ban into law, which will go into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court limits or overturns the abortion protections contained in Roe. It would outlaw all abortions, except in case of a medical emergency.
Arkansas is surrounded by states without access to abortion. People here can travel to New Mexico or Colorado to receive the procedure.
California’s abortion protections pre-date federal protections. In this state, outlawing abortion is banned. The state’s Medicaid program will help cover the procedure and the state requires private insurance to cover it, too.
Abortion is fully protected in Colorado, although parents of a minor must be notified.
Earlier this year, the governor signed bill into law that would ensure abortion protection in the state.
Abortion rights are protected in Connecticut.
In April, the state Legislature voted to further expand these protections by ensuring abortion providers and people who receive abortions are shielded from out-of-state lawsuits and investigations.
Abortion is legal in Delaware, but parents of children under 16 must be notified.
The State’s General Assembly passed a measure in April that would expand access to abortion by letting medical practitioners, like physicians assistants and registered nurses, prescribe medication to induce abortion. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by the Democratic governor.
Abortion is legal in Florida up to 24 weeks. The state has a counseling and ultrasound requirement, and parental consent is mandated for minors.
On July 15, 2022, a 15-week abortion ban will go into effect, which would outlaw the procedure except if the pregnant person’s life is at risk, in case of a serious fetal abnormality, and in cases of rape or incest.
Abortion is legal in Georgia up to 20 weeks. People who wish to receive the procedure must go through state-sanctioned counseling and wait up to 24 hours. Parents of minors must be notified of their child’s intention.
The state is expected to strongly limit access to abortion or ban the procedure outright following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which will likely overturn Roe.
In theory, abortion is legal in Guam up to 13 weeks, but there have been no providers in the territory since 2018, requiring people who want an abortion to leave the island. This practice would continue if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe.
Abortion protections in Hawaii pre-date the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision. People can access the procedure without restriction.
Idaho was the first state to copy Texas in outlawing abortions after six weeks. The state bans all abortions, except in cases of rape and incest. However, the bar for proving either exception would be effectively impossible, because Idaho makes it illegal to release police reports during an open investigation.
Idahoans can travel to neighboring Montana, Washington, or Oregon to receive an abortion.
Abortion access is protected in Illinois through the Reproductive Health Act of 2019. While the law enshrines bodily autonomy for the pregnant person, parents must be notified if a minor chooses to receive the procedure.
People can access abortion in Indiana up to 20 weeks. They must undergo state-sanctioned counseling and an ultrasound, and wait 18 hours before they can receive the procedure. Medication to induce abortion is banned after 10 weeks. Parental consent is required for minors.
While there are strict restrictions to limit access to abortion, it’s unlikely that the state will ban the procedure outright before 2023.
A 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision protects the right to an abortion, and that decision will hold if the U.S. Supreme Court limits or overturns federal protections.
However, the state court is hearing a case that could challenge that earlier decision, though it won’t be determined until 2024. State Republicans are also trying to strip abortion protections by introducing an amendment to the state constitution.
For now, abortion is legal up to 20 weeks, though the patient must undergo an ultrasound.
In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that abortion rights were protected under the state constitution. This could change in August when Kansans will vote on a constitutional amendment that would explicitly state there is no right to abortion.
While abortion is legal in Kansas is legal up to 20 weeks, it is restricted: A pregnant person must undergo state-sanctioned counseling, an ultrasound, and a 24-hour wait period before they can receive the procedure. Parental consent is required.
Kentucky’s trigger law was passed in 2019. It banned all abortions immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to limit or overturn Roe. According to the bill, it would be a class D felony, and any person performing or helping to perform the procedure would face between five and 10 years in prison.
Kentuckians can go to Virginia or Illinois to receive the procedure.
Louisiana has at least 89 laws that restrict abortion, and the state’s trigger law, which passed in 2006, will go into effect as soon as Roe is limited or overturned. It will outlaw abortion, except in cases where the pregnant person’s life is at risk.
People in Louisiana who are seeking an abortion can travel to New Mexico or Virginia.
Abortion isn’t only legal in Maryland, earlier this year the legislature overrode the governor’s veto to make the Abortion Care Access Act state law. The bill will expand the number of people who are trained to provide abortions and earmarks $3.5 million annually for the program.
People who want abortions in this state can get one, though parents of minors must be notified.
People can get an abortion in Massachusetts up to the 24th week of pregnancy, though people under 16 must obtain parental consent.
In December 2020, the state Legislature passed the ROE Act, which protects access to the procedure. This was a direct response to the confirmation of conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Michigan will revert to a 1931 law that would both make performing an abortion punishable by prison time and taking any medicine or drug that would cause a miscarriage a misdemeanor offense.
Minnesota has strong protections for abortion, which will hold even if federal protections are overturned.
The state requires pregnant people to undergo state-sanctioned counseling and a 24-hour waiting period. Parents of minors must be notified.
Mississippi is at the center of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision. Currently, abortion is officially outlawed after 20 weeks and the state has only one clinic that performs the procedure.
A trigger law, passed in 2007, would kick in 10 days after the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision to limit or overturn Roe. It would ban abortions in all cases, except the case of rape or if the pregnant person’s health is at risk. Physicians who perform abortions outside of those narrow exceptions will face one to 10 years in prison.
Mississippians can travel to New Mexico or Virginia to receive the procedure.
If the high court overturns Roe, abortion will be banned in Missouri except in cases of medical emergencies. The state’s trigger law was part of a package of anti-abortion legislation passed in 2019. Outside of narrow exceptions, this law makes it a class B felony to perform the procedure, punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and a 3-10-year prison sentence.
Missourians can travel to Iowa and Illinois to receive abortion services.
Abortion is protected in Montana under at 1999 state Supreme Court decision.
While Nebraska will probably prohibit abortion if federal protections are overturned, a trigger bill that would’ve automatically done it failed to pass the state Legislature in April.
State law makes it legal to get an abortion up to 20 weeks, though there are restrictions including required counseling and a 24-hour waiting period.
Access to abortion is protected by law in Nevada. People can get an abortion legally up to 24 weeks.
People can legally access abortion up to 24 weeks, though they must have an ultrasound first. Right now, third-trimester abortions are banned, but earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a bill that would amend the ban in cases of fetal abnormalities. The governor is expected to sign it into law.
In January, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a bill that would fully protect reproductive rights in the state.
Abortion is accessible and unrestricted in New Mexico, but the state court hasn’t determined if it’s protected by the state’s constitution.
In 2019, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act, ensuring abortion access is fully protected in the state.
Abortion remains legal in North Carolina. A patient must undergo state-sanctioned counseling, an ultrasound, and wait 72 hours before receiving the procedure. Parents of minors have to be notified.
Republican lawmakers in the state have tried to further restrict access, but haven’t been able to whip enough votes to override the Democratic governor’s certain veto.
North Dakota passed a trigger law in 2007. It would outlaw abortions except if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, or in cases of rape or incest.
While neighboring Montana and Minnesota will continue to have limited access to abortion, the closest states with full abortion protections for people from North Dakota would be Washington, Oregon, and California.
Access to abortion is strongly curtailed in Ohio. While it’s legal for up to 20 weeks, pregnant people have to undergo state-sanctioned in-person counseling, an ultrasound, and a 24-hour waiting period before they can receive the procedure.
There are trigger bills making their way through the state’s General Assembly, which is controlled by a Republican supermajority. The bills would outlaw abortion, except in a medical emergency, and will go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court limits or overturns Roe.
The Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, outlaws abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected except in a medical emergency. It also gives private citizens the authority to sue anyone who provides abortion services, helps provide services, or intends to “aid or abet” a pregnant person receive an abortion. The plaintiff can be awarded no less than $10,000 in damages for each abortion the defendant performed or abetted. The law went into effect immediately.
In April, Oklahoma passed a second trigger ban, which would outlaw abortion in the state if Roe is modified but not overturned. This law supplemented a previously passed 2021 bill, which would make abortion illegal if it Roe was overturned.
The Oklahoma legislature also passed a bill in April that would make it a felony for a physician to perform the procedure, punishable by up to $100,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Oklahomans could travel to Kansas and Colorado to receive services.
Abortion is legal and its protections are expansive in Oregon. The state codified abortion protections in 2017, when the Reproductive Health Equity Act was signed into law.
Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania, and while there is a Democratic governor this likely won’t change, there’s an election this November.
Currently, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. Patients have to undergo state-sanctioned counseling and a 24-hour waiting period. Parental consent is required.
While abortion is legal in Puerto Rico, the state Senate pushed through a bill that would ban abortion after 22 weeks, except if the pregnant person’s life is in danger. The bill is expected to be taken up by the House next.
People can access abortion in Rhode Island, though parents of minors must give consent.
In 2019, the then-governor signed the Reproductive Privacy Act, which would ensure abortion rights remain protected in the state even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe.
Abortion is legal in South Carolina up to 20 weeks. The pregnant person must undergo state-sanctioned counseling and wait 24 hours before the procedure can be administered. Parents of people under 17 must be notified, except when a medical practitioner waives the requirement.
The Republican-led state Legislature is set to consider a trigger bill, which goes into effect after the court limits or overturns Roe. This bill would ban abortion, except in a medical emergency, and it defines life as beginning at conception. It would charge abortion providers with murder.
The bill would expand access to contraception by allowing pharmacists to provide birth control pills to customers without a prescription.
South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, said she wants her state to have the strongest anti-abortion laws in the country. She named a so-called “unborn child advocate” to her office to help ensure this happens.
The state introduced a series of anti-abortion bills in January 2022. One was based on the Texas bill, another would make permanent Noem’s executive order to ban medication abortion prescribed virtually or over the phone.
The state’s dedication to restricting abortion access goes back decades: Its trigger law was enacted in 2005, and would make it illegal for a physician to provide abortion except in cases where the life of the pregnant person is at risk. There are no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
While neighboring Montana and Minnesota will continue to have limited access to abortion, the closest states with full abortion protections for people from South Dakota would be Washington, Oregon, and California.
If the U.S. Supreme Court limits or overturns Roe, Tennessee’s trigger ban, which passed in 2019, will go into effect. It ban all abortions except when the pregnant person’s health is at risk.
Tennesseans can go to Virginia to receive the procedure.
Right now, Texas has the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Abortion is illegal after six weeks.
After the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision to limit or overturn Roe v. Wade, it will be a felony punishable by up to $100,000 fine and life in prison for any physician to perform an abortion. This will effectively act as a blanket ban on abortion in the state. The state allows any citizen to sue anyone who helps a person secure an abortion after six weeks.
Texans can travel to New Mexico to receive the procedure.
Utah’s version of a trigger ban was signed in March 2020. It makes abortion illegal, except in cases where the pregnant person’s life is at risk, in cases of rape, incest, child abuse, or if two physicians who practice “maternal fetal medicine” agree, and put in writing, that the fetus has a defect that would lead to its death or a severe brain abnormality. This law will go into effect as soon as Roe falls.
In April, the state Republican Party announced plans to strip the limited protections for abortion and make Utah’s ban complete.
Utahns can travel to Nevada, Colorado, or California for abortion services.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Abortion in the U.S. Virgin Islands is legal, but not protected, up to 24 weeks as long as the pregnant person requests the procedure in writing.
Abortion is and will remain legal in Vermont. There are no restrictions on the procedure.
Access to abortion is legal in Virginia up to the end of the second trimester, after which it’s only available in a medical emergency. Parental consent is required.
While there is access now, abortion rights are not protected in the state constitution.
Abortion access is protected by law in Washington state.
Abortion is legal and protected in Washington, D.C. While U.S. Congress does have authority over the city, it’s unlikely that it would overturn the District’s abortion laws.
Current law in West Virginia protects access to abortion up to 20 weeks. The patient must receive state-sanctioned counseling and wait 24 hours before the procedure. The parent of a minor who wants to receive an abortion must be informed.
The Republican House passed a 15-week abortion ban in January, which would outlaw the procedure, except in a medical emergency or in the case of rape or incest. The Republican-controlled state Senate will now take up the bill, and Republican Gov. Jim Justice will likely sign it into law.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, Wisconsin will revert to a 1849 law that would ban the procedure if it’s performed by anyone other than the pregnant person herself. It would be a felony punishable by up to six years in prison.
The Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has tried to protect access to abortion in the state by repealing the pre-Roe law, but he has been blocked by Republicans in the heavily gerrymandered state.
Wyoming’s governor signed a trigger ban in March 2022 that would prohibit all abortions, except in cases where the pregnant person’s physical health is at risk, and in the case of rape or incest. It will go into effect five days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe.
People here can travel to neighboring Montana or Colorado to receive an abortion services.
This story was originally published on Vice News on May 3.