Arizona reinstated a 160-year-old abortion ban this week. What’s happening in other states?

Florida's six-week abortion ban is set to take effect May 1, while Colorado organizers are working to enshrine the right to an abortion.

Arizona's Supreme Court this week reinstated a 160-year-old law that bans nearly all abortions, sending shockwaves throughout the nation as the state joins a list of dozens of others where the procedure is banned or restricted.

Democrats — and some Republicans — slammed the decision, which outlaws abortion from the moment of conception unless the pregnant person’s life is at risk and doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest. The White House called the move devastating,” and the decision prompted Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the Grand Canyon State on Friday. Even former President Donald Trump, who takes credit for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, said it went too far.

Abortion providers in Arizona vowed to continue with services until they’re forced to stop, which could be within two weeks of Tuesday’s ruling.

Here’s what else you may have missed in abortion news this week.

Abortion-rights protesters at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix.
Protesters shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision on June 24, 2022. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Even in states like Colorado, where abortion laws are not as restrictive compared to those of other states (like Arizona), supporters of abortion access aren’t leaving anything to chance.

The Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom coalition is working to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution by gathering signatures to get an amendment on the November ballot.

The organizers said Friday they had collected over 225,000 signatures, surpassing the required 124,238 signature threshold to get the proposal on the ballot. The group says it’s getting close to fulfilling the other requirement, which is to collect enough signatures — 2% of total registered voters — in all 35 state Senate districts.

“The news of Arizona's near-total abortion ban ultimately exposed just how vulnerable every state is, and will remain, without passing legislation that constitutionally secures the right to abortion,” Jessica Grennan, Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom campaign manager, said in a statement.

Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled Maine legislature greenlit a bill on Friday that would shield the state’s health professionals who provide abortion and gender-affirming care from being targeted by legal action from other states that have bans on those treatments. If the measure is signed by Gov. Janet Mills, Maine would join several other states that have passed these types of shield laws protecting abortion and gender-affirming care.

Meanwhile, voters in Maine likely won’t have the opportunity in November to weigh in on a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to protect the right to an abortion.

On Tuesday, the Maine House voted 76-68 in favor of the proposal, but it failed to pass because it fell short of the required two-thirds majority. The same thing happened last week in the Maine Senate, which voted 20-13 in favor of the amendment but fell short of the requirement.

The proposed amendment, known as LD 780, must be supported by each chamber in order for it to be placed on the ballot, which would allow Maine voters to weigh in on whether or not to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

The state House and Senate will get a final vote on the proposal, which is scheduled for next week, though it appears it’s likely to fail in the House without having received any Republican support from the initial vote.

Maine already has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the U.S., allowing for the procedure up until viability. The proposed amendment to the state constitution was an effort to get ahead of any future debates on the issue in the legislature and to record lawmakers’ positions on abortion in an election year.

Florida is preparing for its six-week abortion ban to take effect on May 1. Until then, abortion remains legal in the state until 15 weeks.

Last week, the conservative-leaning Florida Supreme Court upheld the 15-week ban on the procedure, which was enacted in 2022. That decision triggered a six-week abortion ban, signed last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis, to go into effect 30 days from the decision, which is May 1. The six-week ban makes exceptions for rape and incest and for when the life of the mother is in danger.

In an Emerson College poll conducted this week, a majority of Floridians (57% of poll participants) think that a six-week abortion ban is “too strict.” Fifteen percent said the ban isn’t strict enough, and 28% think the ban is on point.

Come November, Floridians will get the chance to invalidate the six-week ban at the ballot box when they decide on a measure that would guarantee the right to an abortion “before viability” by amending the state’s constitution.

But the caveat is that a 60% supermajority of voters need to vote in favor for this to happen. According to the poll, only 42% said they plan to vote in favor of a ballot amendment.

This week Kansas lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature pushed through a bill that would make it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion. People in the state who make physical or financial threats against other people to force them into getting an abortion could face penalties such as a year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The measure goes to the desk of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, a strong abortion rights supporter, who is expected to veto any such anti-abortion measures. However, both the state House and Senate appear to be close to having the two-thirds majority needed to override her veto, according to the Associated Press.

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday over whether the state’s most recent abortion law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, should go into effect.

Abortion is currently banned at 22 weeks of pregnancy in Iowa, and the state requires patients to make two in-person visits: one for in-person counseling and one 24 hours later for the procedure, which must be provided by a physician, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.

The attorney for the state of Iowa asked the court to uphold the so-called “heartbeat law,” which limits abortions after the time around when a fetal heartbeat could be detected through an abdominal ultrasound, or around six weeks. But that’s also at a point in pregnancy when women often don’t even know they’re pregnant.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is suing Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds over the heartbeat law. An attorney for Planned Parenthood argued for the court to uphold a lower district court ruling that said the fetal heartbeat bill was unconstitutional.