The push for abortion legislation after ‘Dobs’ is unique, legal and political

The end of abortion protection across the country has been met with a wave of calls from at least a dozen state legislators and governors for special legislative sessions that will reshape the state-by-state patchwork of legislation that now regulates abortion in the United States.

“I have not seen so many states so quickly focus on one subject,” said Thad Kauser, a professor of state politics.

Paverill Square, a professor who specializes in law enforcement, agrees. “The number of special sessions may be held this year as a direct response Dobbs This is out of the ordinary, “he said, referring to a June decision by the Supreme Court that overturned his 1973 ruling. Rowe vs. Wade.

But Kauser, Square and Mary Ziegler, a legal historian, said the rush to call lawmakers was predictable of what would otherwise happen when legislation was enacted.

After the Supreme Court gave states uninterrupted powers to control abortion, experts said, many wanted to deal with older laws, clarify conflicting laws, and create or expand enforcement processes. And, Ziegler says, calls for limiting or expanding abortion rights may be politically expedient for lawmakers, especially in deeply conservative states.

Kauser, a professor of political science at the University of California-San Diego, said the court ruling would result in an upcoming law-making bing. Dobbs vs. Jackson’s Women’s Health Agency, Unusual, even compared to past Supreme Court cases. “Almost all the judgments of the Supreme Court on social issues have taken away power from the states, and so there was no reason to call a special session after the states. Overfell vs. Hodges Because they have lost their sanity, or later Griswold vs. Connecticut“The decision to legalize same-sex marriage and contraceptive use across the country,” Kauser said.

But DobbsThe court overturned the constitutional right to abortion nationwide and in doing so gave states more authority over the practice.

Square, a professor of political science at the University of Missouri, said there are real reasons for the state legislature to respond. Dobbs Decision with special session. “Given that most controversial U.S. Supreme Court cases are handed out at the end of their term, in May or June, at a time when many state legislatures are no longer in regular session, there is no need to call a special session to resolve court decisions. Amazing, ”he said.

Ziegler is a professor of law at the University of California-Davis and studies the history of abortion. He said state lawmakers who want to further limit abortion face complex legal questions, such as whether they can prevent people from traveling to other states for abortions or taking matching abortion drugs.

“How can anyone prevent this from happening?” He said.

Special sessions are “a product of our contemporary politics of abortion,” Ziegler said, and differ from the response to the Supreme Court decision 49 years ago. Rowe vs. Wade. “Of course there were some special sessions that didn’t happen much later Rowe To limit access to abortion in a limited way, but abortion was not a political hot-button then, it is now. “

Ziggler said there are many calls for special legislation in “politically unrivaled states” where the Republican majority controls. “I think in some cases, even if the polls suggest that people in that state don’t want more abortion restrictions, Republicans don’t really have to worry about it because they’re not really worried about the general election,” he said. “So perhaps, from their point of view, there’s nothing wrong with doing it.”

Supporting anti-abortion legislation during special sessions can be politically advantageous for lawmakers, Ziegler said, especially in Republican primary elections.

Only a few states have full-time legislatures. In 14 states, only the governor can call a special session; At 36, either the governor or the legislators can.

At least a dozen state governors and politicians have responded Dobbs Rule including call for special session. Most conservative states sought to limit access to abortion; Lawmakers in several liberal states want to protect the right to abortion.

Lawmakers in Indiana, South Carolina, West Virginia and South Dakota are planning sessions to ban or further limit abortion.

In South Dakota, Governor Christy Noyem and legislators have announced they will convene a special session, although abortion was immediately banned there. Dobbs Decided by the state’s “trigger law”. Republican John Hansen, a supporter of the speaker of the state House of Representatives, has vowed to seek a litany of additional abortion restrictions.

In a May Twitter thread, Hansen outlined half a dozen measures the legislature could consider, including criminalizing the use and shipment of abortion drugs, banning advertising of abortion services in the state, and banning companies from paying travel expenses to employees seeking abortions. Out-of-state physicians will need to refer them to third-party counseling before seeing South Dakota abortion patients.

Leaders of several other states where abortion has been restricted have discussed it, but are not committed to holding a special session. At least two Republican governors who have spoken out in favor of further limiting abortion have given priority to abortion cases over special sessions.

Other states have recently taken steps to increase the right to abortion or plan to do so during special sessions.

At least nine states have recently enacted abortion rights or extended access and protection codes. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has called a special session of the legislature to strengthen the law in his state. Pritzker, a Democrat, promised that Illinois would also be prepared for the arrival of people for abortion from states that are now banned.

And on July 1, New York lawmakers enacted legislation to give voters the opportunity to install protection for abortion and contraception in the state constitution.

Less pronounced after the onset of rush-Rowe Legislation calls for increased support for women who no longer have the opportunity to have an abortion. In South Dakota, a statement from Noam’s office called for a special session to “help mothers affected by the decision.” But Nome has not released a list of what, if any, social programs offer to add or expand.

Reporting and academic studies show that many states have limited participation in government assistance programs and high rates of poor health, economic and social indicators, including laws that restrict abortion. South Dakota, for example, with high infant and maternal mortality rates and racial disparities, has not extended Medicaid eligibility or postpartum coverage, does not require paid family leave, and does not offer universal pre-kindergarten. According to a 2021 survey by researchers at the University of Tulane, abortion restrictions are associated with higher maternal mortality rates.

Ziegler questioned that states claiming interest in banning abortion would also demand a government obligation to support pregnant women, suggesting they would “outsource” that role instead.

“Would anything be done other than telling women to just go to religious charities and go to the pregnancy crisis center?” He asked.

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