Updated on May 6, 2022:

This analysis has been updated throughout to reflect counts of state legislation as of May 5. Previous updates since first publication are archived below.

Notable changes since the last update include:

 

In 2021, state legislatures set an alarming record of 108 abortion restrictions enacted in 19 states. With the fate of Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance at the US Supreme Court, 2022 is shaping up to be even more devastating for abortion rights and access.

Among restrictions introduced and moving since the start of state legislative sessions in January, two key themes are anti-abortion policymakers’ continued pursuit of various types of abortion bans and restrictions on medication abortion.

State Policy Developments on Abortion January 1–May 5, 2022

So far this year, 1,991 total provisions related to sexual and reproductive health and rights have been introduced across 46 states and the District of Columbia. This includes both restrictions and proactive measures.

Abortion Bans January 1–May 5, 2022

The May release of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban indicates that a majority of justices are preparing to overturn Roe outright, which could further bolster efforts by anti-abortion policymakers at the state level. Their preemptive actions to flood statehouses with restrictive bills so far this year may accelerate in anticipation that federal protections for abortion rights will soon be gone.

As part of this strategy, anti-abortion policymakers are attempting to pass abortion bans that blatantly violate the core holding of the Roe decision and that would devastate access to abortion care in their state if allowed to be enforced.

Out of all the proposed bans, anti-abortion policymakers have been focusing primarily on four types: 15-week bans, “Texas-style” bans, total abortion bans and bans designed to be triggered if Roe is overturned.

Medication Abortion Restrictions January 1–May 5, 2022

With the US Supreme Court primed to severely weaken or overturn Roe, medication abortion is likely to become even more critical in the delivery of care to many people. Guttmacher research shows that following two decades of safe and effective use, medication abortion accounted for 54% of all US abortions in 2020—powerfully illustrating that the method has gained broad acceptance from both abortion patients and providers.

However, medication abortion has become a primary target of anti-abortion politicians and activists seeking to restrict care in and out of clinical settings. Anti-abortion state policymakers have shown they are focused on further restricting access to medication abortion this year.

Among the total count of medication abortion restrictions that have been introduced are bills that seek to ban medication abortion entirely. Others would make it much harder to administer and access care, including by prohibiting the mailing of pills, limiting provision to physicians (leaving out other qualified medical professionals) and limiting the gestational age for use.

Protections and Expansions of Abortion Rights and Access January 1—May 5

State legislatures across the country have taken steps to protect abortion rights by introducing a range of legislation to repeal existing restrictions, protect the right to abortion and shore up access to abortion care. In states with progressive legislatures, these efforts are designed not only to expand access for their own residents, but also to support people from other states who might be forced to cross state borders because of new restrictions or bans in their home state.

Efforts to protect abortion access include provisions to establish or expand the right to abortion in statute. Other provisions expand the types of health care professionals who can provide abortion care to include advanced practice clinicians, such as physician assistants, advanced practice nurses and certified nurse midwives. In addition, some states have focused on legislation to assist patients with paying for an abortion, either by requiring coverage of abortion in public and private health insurance plans or earmarking state funds for abortion services.

Previous Updates

April 15 update

Notable changes since the last update include:

The total number of sexual and reproductive health and rights provisions that have been introduced through April 14 stands at 1,989 across 46 states and the District of Columbia. This includes both restrictions and proactive measures.

April 4 update

Notable changes since the last update include:

The total number of sexual and reproductive health and rights provisions that have been introduced through March 31 stands at 1,884 across 46 states and the District of Columbia. This includes both restrictions and proactive measures.

March 25 update

Notable changes since the last update include:

The total number of sexual and reproductive health and rights provisions that have been introduced through March 24 stands at 1,885 across 46 states and the District of Columbia. This includes both restrictions and proactive measures.

First published on March 16:

In 2021, state legislatures set an alarming record of 108 abortion restrictions enacted in 19 states. With the fate of Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance at the US Supreme Court, 2022 is shaping up to be even more devastating for abortion rights and access.

Already, a number of state bills have grabbed headlines for proposing outrageous and shocking abortion restrictions. Efforts from banning treatment for ectopic pregnancies to prohibiting people seeking abortions from leaving their home state show just how radical the anti-abortion agenda truly is. While these measures are attracting media coverage, often they are not the main focus of anti-abortion policymakers, but pull attention away from other abortion restrictions and bans that are moving quickly through some state legislatures. Moreover, these types of headline-baiting restrictions can make other devastating provisions, such as Texas-style bans or gestational age bans, seem less radical and harmful than they really are.

In addition, court cases continue to compound the harm of restrictions enacted in previous years, chief among them Texas’ ban on abortions at six weeks of pregnancy. The state’s top court recently rejected a challenge by abortion providers, ruling that there are no public officials who can be sued to stop the law. That decision exhausts the legal options to stop this immensely harmful law that has been in effect for more than six months and may embolden other states to adopt their own Texas-style bans this year.

Among restrictions introduced and moving since the start of state legislative sessions in January, two key themes emerging are anti-abortion policymakers’ continued pursuit of various types of abortion bans and restrictions on medication abortion.

So far this year, 1,844 total provisions related to sexual and reproductive health and rights have been introduced across 46 states and the District of Columbia. This includes both restrictions and proactive measures.