Nearly one year ago the Supreme Court issued a decision that stripped Americans of a constitutional right that had been protected for nearly half a century — the freedom to access a safe, legal abortion.
With that decision, the court handed state lawmakers the power to decide if and when the people they serve have the right to make their own personal, private healthcare decisions with their doctors. Since then, 20 states have moved to ban or restrict abortion care. 58% of women of reproductive age now live in a state that has taken away their freedom to make their own decisions about their own bodies.
This grim milestone is a reminder that while The States Project made historic gains in state legislatures in 2022, our work together in the states is far from over. Here’s a state-by-state update of what has happened in our states since the fall of Roe, and a look at the work ahead of us.
In the days after Roe was overturned, rightwing state lawmakers in Arizona rushed to enact more restrictive abortion policies. TSP helped hold one-seat margins in both chambers last November, which did not prevent the rightwing majorities from passing policies aimed at carving away even more abortion protections but newly elected Governor Katie Hobbs used her veto power to strike down harmful abortion policies.
In Maine, where TSP worked to defend the majorities in both chambers, House Speaker Talbot Ross and Senate President Jackson introduced a policy to expand abortion access. If passed, Maine would have some of the strongest abortion protections in the country for patients and healthcare providers.
Michigan, where The States Project helped to flip both the Senate and the House last November, became the second state to pass a policy to protect abortion in the post-Roe era. In November, voters approved a ballot proposal to enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan State Constitution. In addition to repealing a 1931 abortion ban still on the books that criminalized abortion, lawmakers in Michigan’s majorities expanded Michigan’s Civil Rights Act to protect patients seeking abortion from facing retaliation by their employers.
In Nebraska, where TSP helped prevent a rightwing supermajority by one seat, state lawmakers leveraged that critical power to block an extremely restrictive abortion ban in February. Unfortunately, when a less restrictive abortion ban was reintroduced as an amendment to another policy in May, rightwing state lawmakers were able to enact it.
In Nevada, where TSP defended majorities in both chambers, state lawmakers recently passed a policy to protect patients who are forced to cross state lines to access safe abortion from facing criminal charges in their home states.
In New Hampshire, state lawmakers TSP helped elect last November are now just one seat away from ending rightwing control in the State House. While a proposed policy that would have repealed the state’s abortion ban ended in a tie, Democratic state lawmakers were able to navigate these narrow margins in the chamber to work with Republicans on two policies that removed criminal and civil penalties for abortion, and to prevent the state from further restricting safe, legal abortion care.
In North Carolina, TSP helped to prevent a supermajority in the House that we hoped would protect abortion access in the South. Unfortunately, State Rep. Tricia Cotham, who campaigned on protecting abortion access, decided to join the rightwing and create a supermajority, which promptly passed an abortion ban. After Governor Cooper vetoed this bill, the rightwing used every single vote in both chambers to override his veto and strip 2.4 million North Carolinians of their freedom to choose a safe, legal abortion.
In January, Minnesota became the first state legislature in the post-Roe era to codify abortion access into state law — a policy victory made possible because TSP powered a new State Senate majority and protected the House last November. Additionally, because every state that borders Minnesota has an abortion ban in effect right now, state lawmakers also passed a policy called the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act this session, which protects out-of-state patients who travel to Minnesota for care and the healthcare providers who serve them. Thanks to these policies, Minnesota is a haven for safe, legal abortion in the Midwest.
In Pennsylvania, the rightwing indicated that if they won majorities in both chambers, they would attempt to put a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion on the ballot — a tool that could help them circumvent Governor Shapiro’s veto power. TSP helped fuel a new House majority for the first time in 12 years last November — we knew preventing a rightwing majority in at least one chamber was critical to preserve abortion access. Since then, TSP has worked to defend the new House majority in three special elections this year. As long as that majority is intact, patients in Pennsylvania can still access a safe, legal abortion in the state.
Right now, abortion access for millions of people across the South is on the line in Virginia — the only southern state where rightwing state lawmakers haven’t yet restricted abortion since the fall of Roe. State legislative elections happening this November could hand the rightwing the governing power they need to pass an extreme abortion ban.
That’s why we must work to ensure governing power for Virginia state lawmakers who will protect personal freedoms — including abortion. That work, in Virginia and across the country, starts right now.