After Tough Legislative Session, State Legislators Remain Steadfast in Commitment to Reproductive Freedom
After anti-abortion state legislators broke records by introducing 561 abortion restrictions, including 165 abortion bans, in 47 states, enacting 83 of these restrictions, members of the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC), the only nationwide pro-abortion network of state legislators, have finished a majority of their legislative sessions even more determined to to make sure that everyone is able to access the abortion care they want
“RFLC members have long been aware of the critical power states have in securing access to abortion. We all know the legal protections Roe offered, but that has never been enough and was not a reality for most. These state legislators are on the front lines of defending, protecting, and expanding abortion access,” says Jennifer Driver, Senior Director of Reproductive Rights at SiX. “When U.S. Supreme Court granted Mississippi’s request to review a case challenging the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, our 400+ member legislator network responded, knowing this case is about so much more than one state.”
So far this year, state legislators have enacted 50 provisions that improve abortion care access, including states like Vermont where lawmakers like Sen. Kesha Ram advanced Proposition 5, a proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution that would guarantee reproductive liberty.
“We in Vermont often think, let’s just do things quietly, let’s just do the right thing,” says Sen. Ram. “With the explosion of anti-abortion legislation introduced across the country and Jackson Women’s Health, we’ve realized we have to support abortion just as loudly as they oppose it. We will provide abortion access regardless of what happens to the rest of the country.”
If Roe falls or is weakened, abortion rights would be protected in less than half of the U.S. states. Ten states have post-Roe laws to ban all or nearly all abortions that would be triggered if Roe were overturned.
Anti-abortion senators in Ohio, already a state hostile to abortion access, introduced a trigger ban this session. “As the nation’s eyes turn to the Supreme Court, we need to remember that while ensuring abortion remains legal is critical, we also need more than Roe offers.” says OH Sen. Tina Maharath. ”With the patchwork of restrictive bills passed in Ohio, Asian American, Black, Indigenous, and people of color do not have equal access to health care, from abortion to prenatal care to preventive care, because of white supremacy, racism and structural inequality. As a reproductive champion in a hostile state, my allies and I are in this for the long term and will not back down.”