Several Republican-led states will ban nearly all abortions this week as their so-called trigger laws go into effect in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. Some of the laws will also increase penalties for those accused of performing the procedure.
Such laws in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas went into effect Thursday. A ban was also set to go into effect in North Dakota on Friday, but a judge issued a temporary block of the law Thursday afternoon while he weighs arguments in a lawsuit from the state’s only abortion clinic, The Associated Press reported.
More than a dozen states had passed laws banning almost all abortions if the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to the procedure. Many began enforcing those laws immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe in late June, while other states had a waiting period.
The laws will have repercussions for millions of Americans, although some of the states with such “trigger laws” already have strict restrictions on abortion.
On Wednesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked part of the Idaho abortion law that went into effect Thursday. The ruling prevents the state from enforcing the new law when it conflicts with federal guidance about emergency abortion care in hospitals.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the lawsuit against Idaho this month, arguing that the state’s law conflicted with a federal statute enacted in 1986 to ensure that patients receive adequate emergency medical care.
The Idaho ruling came hours after a setback for the Biden administration in Texas, where a federal judge prohibited it from enforcing guidance in the state from the Department of Health and Human Services that requires hospitals to provide emergency abortions to women.
In Texas, the state in 2021 effectively banned abortions around six weeks of pregnancy, while its “trigger law” prohibiting nearly all abortions and increasing penalties for performing, inducing or attempting an abortion was set to go into effect Thursday.
North Dakota’s ban was set to be implemented Friday, but lawyers for the only abortion clinic in the state had asked for a delay while they challenge the law.
There have been multiple legal challenges in states with trigger laws since the Supreme Court's decision, often causing confusion.
Voters in Kansas this month overwhelmingly rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that sought to remove language guaranteeing reproductive rights.
Also this month, Indiana became the first state to approve a near-total ban on abortion following the Supreme Court’s decision. The new law is set to go into effect Sept. 15.