California and More States Pledge to Protect Abortion Rights

Out of 50 states, there are 13 that have passed so-called trigger laws that would outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. But what’s happening in states that do not have a trigger law?

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, have laws that protect the right to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights.

Here’s what lawmakers have specifically pledged in their efforts to reinforce protections for people seeking an abortion.

California: Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, tweeted less than an hour after the Supreme Court memo was leaked, emphatically supporting the right to an abortion. In March, Mr. Newsom signed legislation to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for abortion services. Though abortion rights are already protected by a right to privacy in the State Constitution, Mr. Newsom and other lawmakers proposed an amendment to bolster said protections that would be put in front of voters in the November election. The state has positioned itself as a “refuge state” of abortion rights, including more funding for abortion providers and improving access for those seeking abortion services.

Connecticut: Lawmakers passed a bill to allow health professionals beyond doctors, nurse-midwives and physician assistants, to perform certain types of abortions. Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, says he intends to sign it. The proposed legislation would also protect abortion providers and patients from lawsuits from states that have banned or are planning to ban abortions. The law would allow the abortion provider or patient to countersue in Connecticut court, and be reimbursed for legal fees or costs after a successful suit.

New York: New York lawmakers condemned the Supreme Court news. Four bills have been introduced in the State Senate to further strengthen abortion rights, including protecting doctors who perform abortions and creating an abortion access fund and allowing taxpayers to contribute to it. In 2019, Andrew M. Cuomo, the governor at the time, signed the Reproductive Health Act, securing New Yorkers’ access to abortions regardless of the status of Roe v. Wade.

Vermont: In February, Vermont lawmakers voted to move forward on an amendment in the State Constitution to guarantee the right to an abortion, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.

Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law in April, protecting a Coloradan’s right to an abortion regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.

New Mexico: In February 2021, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, repealed an abortion ban from 1969.

Maryland: Maryland became the 15th state to allow medical professionals, other than doctors, to perform an abortion through the abortion protection bill, which will take effect on July 1. The law also requires most insurance providers in the state to cover the costs of the abortion and will provide $3.5 million in training. State lawmakers overrode the veto of Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican.

Oregon: The Legislature approved $15 million in March to help pay for abortion expenses for patients coming from outside the state.

Washington: Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed a law in March protecting anyone seeking an abortion or providing an abortion from a lawsuit, in response to the Texas ban.



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