Baptist Press: Pro-life gains made in state-by-state abortion battle

 By Tom Strode

Published July 19, 2023

NASHVILLE (BP) – The state-by-state battle to protect preborn children and their mothers has continued in the first full legislative year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision that prevented abortion bans for nearly half a century.

Iowa became the latest of seven states to enact prohibitions in 2023 when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Fetal Heartbeat Act July 14. As a result, half of the 50 states now have what Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America, described as “strong pro-life protections on the books.”

More than 10 other states, however, have acted this year to protect or expand access to abortion.

The conflicting actions regarding abortion policy across the country have occurred as a result of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022. The justices reversed the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion, which struck down state restrictions and legalized the lethal procedure nationwide. The high court’s ruling freed states to regulate abortion again.

In anticipation of the decision, some states had enacted “trigger bans” before last June that went into effect after the high court’s ruling. Legislatures in other states have approved abortion bans since the decision, including those that have acted in the first full year post-Roe. Legal challenges have been mounted to some of those laws, and courts have blocked enforcement of some while the cases proceed.