When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new abortion restriction into law on May 19, it marked a chilling milestone—a staggering 1,300 restrictions enacted by states since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
I know because I have read and logged all of them—many as they were being enacted—in my 22 years at the Guttmacher Institute tracking state legislation on abortion and other issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. It’s an astounding number, and while many of these restrictions were blocked in court, most of them are in effect today.
But the news from Texas wasn't the only bad news for abortion rights that week. Just two days earlier, on May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments on a Mississippi law—currently blocked from going into effect—that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The news alarmed legal experts and supporters of abortion rights alike, and with good reason.