While nearly half of the country is poised to ban abortions after Roe v. Wade was overturned, many blue states are already taking steps to expand access and protect abortion rights ahead of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned the 1973 landmark law.
The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, reports that at least 16 states and Washington, D.C. have laws protecting abortion. At least 11 Democrat-controlled legislatures are moving to expand abortion access to prepare for the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision on Friday. This ruling overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving the issue up to the states.
While some blue states like Illinois and New York have made abortion a fundamental human right in recent years, others have intensified their efforts to include abortion rights in state constitutions. Colorado’s Democratic governors and New Jersey’s Democratic Governor signed laws that codify abortion. California’s Democratic Governor has also done so. Gavin Newsom pledged support for a constitutional amendment that voters can decide.
Vermont’s Democratic legislators passed a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right of abortion in February. The Vermont voters will decide on November 11.
Wisconsin and Michigan have Democratic governors that oppose anti-abortion laws. Michigan Governor. Gretchen Whitmer sued the Michigan Supreme Court in April to end the state’s 1931 abortion ban. Tony Evers called for the repeal and revocation of an 1849 state law making abortion a crime.
Evers was part of a group of 17 Democratic governors that included Whitmer. They sent a letter last month to Congress requesting that senators codify Roe v. Wade through the Women’s Health Protection Act. The House passed it last September.
In a show vote, the Senate failed to pass the bill on May 11, in order to draw clear political lines ahead the midterm elections. The bill required 60 votes to pass, but it was defeated in a 51-49 vote with West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin voting no along with all 50 Republicans.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, other measures protecting abortion rights have passed at most one chamber in six states as well as Washington, D.C., while they have been introduced in 29 additional states and Washington, D.C.
Blue states have taken steps to increase abortion access, increasing funding for the government and recognising more providers. For example, Oregon Democrats passed a $15 million bill to cover abortion costs for women from other states. Physician assistants, registered nurses and other health professionals in Connecticut and Washington will soon be able to perform abortions.