LIFE’S NATIONAL SNAPSHOT
Momentum for overturning Roe has been building since the 1973 case legalized abortion and established the trimester framework governing when and why states could regulate it.
In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey came close to overturning Roe, but instead significantly modified it instead and continued to prohibit a state from banning abortion before viability.
In 2007, the Court upheld the federal ban on partial birth of abortion, inspiring States to enact a wave of new pro-life laws.
As of March, over 250 bills restricting abortion have been filed in 41 states during 2019. Nearly half are aimed at banning abortion in some or all circumstances.
Forty-three states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy. Fourteen draw the line at viability, the earliest point allowed; six do so at the earliest ages of viability; and at least 24 draw the line before viability in a direct challenge to Roe.
Kentucky is proving to be a key player in state law trends:
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Bills – Kentucky and at least 15 other states have enacted legislation prohibiting abortion after the unborn child is 20 weeks old, when science indicates they may feel pain.
Fetal Heartbeat Bills – Kentucky was this year’s first state to ban abortion after the unborn child’s heartbeat is detectable (usually six weeks gestation). Five other states followed and similar bills were introduced in multiple other states. (Two others did so previous years.)
Unborn Nondiscrimination Acts – At least 13 states have enacted laws meant to prohibit abortions sought because of the characteristics of the unborn child.
Live Dismemberment Ban – Kentucky and at least 10 other states have enacted laws prohibiting the live dismemberment of an unborn child after a certain age.
In fact, states are beginning to ensure they have a policy in place for if Roe is overturned and authority is returned to them. Kentucky and at least 18 others have laws in place that will place restrictions on abortion if that occurs.