State bills that impose broad bans on abortion come in several different forms. Such bans, which affect a large number of safe and commonly provided abortion procedures, have been struck down as unconstitutional in dozens of court cases. However, they continue to be a popular form of legislation that anti-choice legislators attempt to pass in their states.
In 2006, 14 states proposed broad bans on abortion in direct opposition to the Roe v. Wade decision. Anti-choice forces in Louisiana successfully enacted an abortion ban that would take effect if Roe were overturned. In South Dakota, the legislature enacted an outright challenge to Roe through a ban on all abortions in the state except to save the life of the woman. Read more about the fight to repeal the South Dakota abortion ban!
In recent years, bills which are frequently entitled "partial-birth abortion" or "partial-birth infanticide" have been introduced across the country, mirroring the federal ban passed by Congress in 2003.
Abortion bans in other forms are introduced as state legislation every year. Some states attempt to pass complete bans on abortion. Other states have introduced bills banning abortions without adequate health exceptions or have tried to ban abortions in outpatient clinics. Some states have even enacted broad bans in the event that Roe v. Wade is struck down.
Abortion ban bills pose serious threats to women since they generally do not include exceptions for a woman's health. The language in these bills is often so vague that the bans can be interpreted to encompass the most commonly used methods of abortion as early as thirteen weeks.
In addition, by imposing criminal penalties on abortion providers, these bills would have a chilling effect on reproductive health care. Only health care providers, in consultation with their patients and based on individual circumstances, are qualified to make decisions regarding the most medically appropriate care.