By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – New abortion bans take effect in five U.S. states this week, adding to the restrictions states have imposed after the U.S. Supreme Court ended nationwide abortion rights in June.
Here’s the latest access to abortion in the United States:
So-called activation bans went into effect Thursday in Idaho, Texas and Tennessee. These laws were designed to ban abortion once the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established the constitutional right to abortion.
All three states already either banned abortion or severely restricted access. The new laws include criminal penalties for abortion providers.
In Texas, abortion providers could face up to life in prison for helping patients end a pregnancy. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration from implementing new guidelines advising that hospitals are required by federal law to provide emergency abortions to women regardless of state bans on the procedure.
In Idaho, abortion providers can be charged with a felony and face two to five years in prison. But a federal judge on Wednesday sided with the Biden administration and barred Idaho from enforcing the ban to the extent it conflicts with federal law requiring doctors to intervene in medical emergencies, meaning those doctors they could not be blamed.
In Oklahoma, where abortion was already banned with few exceptions, a law that took effect Thursday makes providing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
A triggering ban is also set to go into effect in North Dakota on Friday, although a state court judge could issue a last-minute injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by abortion rights advocates challenging the law. The law makes it a felony to provide abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or a medical emergency. The state’s sole provider is moving operations to Minnesota.
TOTAL ACCOUNT OF PROHIBITIONS
By the end of the week, 12 states will likely impose near-total bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
STRETCH ACCESS PATCH
An uneven and tenuous patchwork of abortion access remains in other parts of the country. Even where abortion is still legal, courts have tightened restrictions, and Republican lawmakers have pushed for further restrictions on abortion rights.
In Wisconsin, abortion providers have stopped services because they are unsure whether the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban can be enforced, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research group.
In South Carolina, abortion is currently legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, after the state Supreme Court on August 17 temporarily blocked a ban on abortions after six weeks.
A federal judge in North Carolina on Aug. 17 ruled that the state could enforce a law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in medical emergencies that endanger the mother’s life.
Abortion is legal in Indiana up to 22 weeks. However, from September 15, it is to be banned except in medical emergencies or cases of rape and incest before the 10th week of pregnancy.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman)