Vermont, California, New York and more rush to expand abortion access as other states seek to restrict it

Vermont, California, New York and more rush to expand abortion access as other states seek to restrict it

As most of the country is trying to turn restrictive anti-abortion bills into laws, some states are doing just the opposite, sending out a message about their stand on these "unconstitutional" bans. The so-called 'fetal heartbeat bills', whose bigger agenda is to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade verdict have been pushing these anti-abortion bills, calling it a "pro-life" initiative. However, abortion is still legal in all 50 states of the country until a certain point in the pregnancy.

Now women and rights activists across the country have been holding rallies in support of "Stop the Bans" Day of Action. They are protesting the wave of recent abortion bans, calling it an attack on women's reproductive rights. 

People protest against Georgia's recently passed "heartbeat" bill at the Georgia State Capitol building, on May 21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The bill would ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Alabama abortion law, signed by Gov. Kay Ivey last week, includes no exceptions for cases of rape and incest, outlawing all abortions except when necessary to prevent serious health problems for the woman. Though women are exempt from criminal and civil liability, the new law punishes doctors for performing an abortion, making the procedure a Class A felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

However, all is not lost as there are states that are actually expanding their abortion access, in hopes that if there comes a situation that the landmark verdict that breathed new life into reproductive rights in America is overturned, the government would not be able to interfere with it. They are also working for a longtime solution that would allow abortion to become a fundamental right so that no matter the legislation, the rule would stay.  

These are the states that have expanded abortion access in the United States. 


The state is currently working on amending the Constitution to specifically protect abortion rights. Opposite to the Alabama bill that proposes a near-total ban, apart from cases where the mother's health is at serious risk, Vermont's bill aims to make nil any interference from the government when it comes to abortion. The law in the state already doesn't have legal restrictions in terms of when or under what situation the termination would be taking place but this bill, if passed would protect the existing law. 


 At present, Colorado's abortion law has no restrictions on gestational limits on abortion. In fact, in a symbolic gesture, Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced new restrictions recently forbidding her staff from traveling to the state that just adopted the most stringent anti-abortion law in the nation. Colorado, back in 2008 tried to pass a bill called Colorado Amendment 48, that restricted abortions and was shot down dramatically. It was meant to amend the definition of a person to "any human being from the moment of fertilization." Then, earlier this year, it discussed a bill that was very similar to Alabama's but was shot down. 


Women hold signs during a protest against recently passed abortion ban bills at the Georgia State Capitol building, on May 21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)


Oregon has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country. A pregnant woman in Oregon can get an abortion at any point, including undocumented immigrants. Most of the time abortions are paid for in Oregon through state funding. While some states have “trigger laws” waiting to prohibit abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Oregon is the opposite, with a law waiting to preserve legal abortions in the state. 


In California, minors do not need parental consent for an abortion, based on case law and not on any statute.  Most abortions are paid for in California again because of state funding. In California, you cannot get an abortion once the fetus is viable which is 24 weeks. They've also passed legislation last week that would require public universities in the state to offer students access to abortion pills at no cost in the early weeks of pregnancy. It has also proposed a bill that would give tax incentives to film, TV productions that would leave states banning abortion. The law requires no residency requirements for patients. 


New York

As of January 22, 2019, abortion is no longer in the state's penal code. This means health care providers acting in good faith may not be held criminally liable. The abortion can be done 24 weeks or after 24 weeks if necessary to preserve the mother's health or if the fetus isn't viable. The only person whose consent is required is the woman who is pregnant.

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