(The Hill) — Abortion access has been a patchwork of policies across the U.S. since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. New restrictions are taking effect in some states, while others are increasingly taking actions to strengthen access.
Here’s some of what’s happened this week.
North Dakota bans almost all abortions
Republican Gov. Doug Burgum on Monday signed into law one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans. The law will ban abortion at every stage of pregnancy, with some exceptions for victims of rape or incest — but they must get the procedure within six weeks of gestation.
The law takes effect immediately, though the state no longer has any abortion clinics.
North Dakota was one of the states with a “trigger law” that was enacted when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The trigger law banned nearly all abortions and would have made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion even during medical emergencies and in cases of rape or incest.
The trigger ban is temporarily blocked in state district court amid an ongoing lawsuit.
Nebraska, South Carolina fail to pass restrictions
The South Carolina state Senate rejected a near-total abortion ban on Thursday after the chamber’s five female lawmakers led a multi-day filibuster against the bill.
The Republican-led House passed the bill in February, but there weren’t enough votes in the Senate to break the filibuster.
The Senate did pass a six-week abortion ban earlier this year, and there’s still a chance it passes the House, which is in session for just the next two weeks. The state Supreme Court struck down a very similar version of the bill in January.
Meanwhile in Nebraska, a six-week “heartbeat” abortion ban bill failed by just one vote. The bill will not be rescheduled for debate, effectively killing it for the rest of the year.
Abortion remains legal in both states until 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Washington protects reproductive health data
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a first-of-its-kind law that protects individuals’ reproductive health data. The law responds to concerns that some of the personal data bought and sold by tech companies could be used to help prosecute abortion cases.
The law requires companies to get explicit consent from a consumer to collect, share or sell the consumer’s health data. Consumers can sue organizations that don’t get their explicit consent to use their data, and the attorney general can also take legal action on behalf of consumers.
Minnesota, Washington become abortion sanctuaries
Inslee and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed into law similar bills that will protect people traveling to their states for abortion or gender-affirming care.
The Washington law is aimed at protecting people from nearby Idaho, which bans abortion and also recently made it illegal for an adult to help a minor get an abortion without parental consent.
In Minnesota, the law is aimed at neighboring states as well as far-flung ones that have seen patients travel to Minnesota for abortion access. It also makes patient data on abortions private and restricts subpoenas from other states.