USA – Round up of national action and state laws and action from Massachusetts, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Wyoming, Idaho, Guam, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maryland


Reproductive Freedom Coalition of 22 states

Lt Gov. Susan Bysiewicz of Connecticut launched a Reproductive Freedom Coalition composed of lieutenant governors from 22 states and territories who plan to act as a “firewall” against diminishing reproductive freedoms in the US. The initiative will drive model legislation, executive orders and policy aimed at protecting abortion providers from prosecution, maximizing federal funds for reproductive care, and defending abortion medication and contraception manufacturers.

SOURCE: Yahoo News, by Alison Cross, 27 March 2023


The right to choose is wildly popular with voters 

The Republican Party has a problem: individual freedom for women to choose how they handle their reproductive health is wildly popular with voters. In November 2022’s mid-term elections supporters of reproductive rights won every abortion-related state ballot measure, even in Republican states. With 13 states banning nearly all abortions, dissatisfaction with Republican abortion policies is soaring; 60 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

SOURCE: Mother Jones, by Madison Pauley, 26 March 2023


Physician’s concerns about publicly supporting abortion at Wisconsin’s largest medical school. 

Many physicians supportive of abortion reported concerns over publicizing their support for this health care service. These concerns may render physicians less likely to refer patients for needed abortion care or weigh in on abortion policy.

SOURCE: Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, by Abigail S Cutler, Laura T Swan, Madison Lands, Nicholas B Schmuhl, Jenny A Higgins, 11 January 2023


Conservatives lose control of Wisconsin Supreme Court ahead of likely decision on abortion

Liberal judge Janet Protasiewicz defeated conservative Dan Kelly in a key race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, moving the partisan balance of the powerful court away from conservatives and increasing the likelihood it could declare the state’s 1849 ban on abortion invalid.

SOURCE: 19th News, by Grace Panetta, 4 April 2023


Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban repealed

A 1931 Michigan law made it a felony to administer most abortions, with no exception for rape or incest. It came back into effect with the loss of Roe v. Wade. A Michigan Court of Claims judge issued an order temporarily blocking the law to ensure continued legal access to abortion in the state. Then, Michigan voters took the matter up directly during last year’s mid-term elections by supporting an amendment to the state constitution, enshrining an explicit right to seek abortions. This allowed Governor Gretchen Whitmer to permanently repeal the 1931 law with the stroke of her pen.

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, by Clara Hendrickson, 5 April 2023


Florida Senate passes abortion ban from 6 weeks of pregnancy

One year after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban into law, Florida’s Senate passed a bill on 3 April 2023 that would ban most abortions in the state after four weeks of pregnancy. The bill still needs to pass the state’s Republican-led House. It burnishes the conservative credentials of DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate. It was met with outrage by state Democrats, two of whom were arrested during a protest near the state Capitol that night.

SOURCE: CNN, by Shawna Mizelle, 5 April 2023


Abortion clinics regroup, rebuild after violent attacks

As a detective led her through the charred remains of the clinic, Julie Burkhart was heartbroken. Everything was black and melted. The smell was overwhelming. Fire and smoke damage had engulfed the building from the basement to the attic. “I knew then that we were going to have a long road ahead,” said Burkhart, president of Wellspring Health Access in Casper, Wyoming.

SOURCE: USA Today, by Christine Fernando, 25 March 2023


Hospital maternity services closing down due to Idaho’s abortion ban

An Idaho hospital is closing its maternity services in the wake of a near-total abortion ban signed into state law in 2022. Citing the state’s “legal and political climate,” Bonner General Health plans to stop delivering babies and providing other obstetric services in May 2023. Their press release doesn’t explicitly blame Idaho’s restrictive abortion laws for the decision, but the implication is clear: “Highly respected, talented physicians are leaving, while the state legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care.”

SOURCE: Mother Jones, by Abigail Weinberg, 25 March 2023


Federal district court preserves abortion access in Guam 

A federal district court in Guam denied a request to lift a decades-old permanent injunction so as to allow a total abortion ban to take effect. This means abortion care will remain legal and accessible on the island. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and two attorneys filed a brief to oppose reinstating the ban on behalf of three Guam-licensed physicians, who include the only two abortion providers in Guam, and Famalao’an Rights, a Guam-based reproductive justice group.

SOURCES: ACLU, 24 March 2023 ; The Hill, by Nathaniel Weixel, 24 March 2023


House of Representatives votes to codify abortion rights, remove penalties from 24-week ban

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to protect abortion rights under state law and remove civil and criminal penalties for doctors from the state’s 24-week ban. The lawmakers also overwhelmingly rejected bills that would have placed new restrictions on abortion in this session, their first since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

SOURCE: New Hampshire Public Radio, by Paul Cuno-Booth, 23 March 2023


Kansas Supreme Court signals continued abortion rights support

Kansas’ highest court signaled that it still considers access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state constitution, as an attorney for the state tried to argue that a decisive statewide vote last year affirming abortion rights didn’t matter. The Court is also still considering exactly how far the Republican-controlled legislature can go in restricting abortion under a 2019 decision protecting abortion rights. They heard arguments from attorneys for Kansas and abortion providers in two lawsuits but aren’t likely to rule for months.

SOURCE: PBS, by AP, 27 March 2023


Volunteer pilots fly patients seeking abortions to states like Kansas where it’s legal

The pilot, clad in a blue windbreaker, recently pulled his single-engine, four-seater prop plane onto the tarmac of a small municipal airport. The airport sits in a state where abortion is now banned in virtually all cases. But a short flight away, in Kansas, abortion remains legal. That has launched a wave of travel from across the South and Midwest in pursuit of pills and procedures that were legal nationally.

SOURCE: NPR, by Rose Conlon, 27 March 2023


New abortion clinic opening in June 2023

A new abortion provider is opening a clinic in June this year in Democratic-controlled Maryland, just across from the deeply conservative state of West Virginia, where state lawmakers recently passed a near-total abortion ban. The Women’s Health Center in Cumberland, 8 km from West Virginia, will provide abortions to patients across central Appalachia, a region with a higher poverty ratio than much of the US, and which clinic operators describe as an “abortion desert”.

SOURCE: Toronto City News, by Leah Willingham/Associated Press, 27 March 2023