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3 more states are poised to enact abortion trigger bans this week

Abortion rights activists protest after the overturning of <em>Roe v. Wade</em> in downtown Nashville, Tenn., on June 24.
Seth Herald
AFP via Getty Images
Abortion rights activists protest after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in downtown Nashville, Tenn., on June 24.

Updated August 22, 2022 at 2:51 PM ET

By the end of August, nearly all of the abortion trigger bans in the country will have taken effect.

Thirteen states have legislation that was designed to automatically outlaw abortions once the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In some states, the trigger law is written so that abortions are immediately prohibited without needing further action. In others, the policy requires 30 days to go into effect or certification from the state's attorney general. Meanwhile, in Utah, Wyoming and North Dakota, their trigger bans have been temporarily blocked by local courts.

A number of states have codified abortion bans without the use of a trigger law. So far, a total of 14 states have near-total abortion bans or bans after six weeks of pregnancy.

Barring any last-minute court intervention, three of those states are expected to implement even more draconian laws starting Aug. 25.


Since Roe was struck down in June, Tennessee has banned abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is about six weeks of pregnancy. But on the 25th, nearly all abortions will be outlawed, except in cases related to preventing the death or serious injury of a pregnant woman. That law will make no exceptions for rape or incest.


Similar to Tennessee, Idaho has already banned abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy in a law that took effect on Friday.

Barring court intervention, later this week, the state will impose a near-total abortion ban, with the exception of rape, incest or medical emergency. Physicians who perform abortions outside of these circumstances will be at risk of up to five years in prison.

The Justice Department sued Idaho to block this law. During a court hearing on Monday, a federal judge said there seems to be an "absolute conflict" between that law and federal law regulating emergency care. The judge said he would issue a decision by Wednesday over whether or not to block the law.

Yet another law already in effect allows potential relatives of an embryo or fetus to sue abortion providers for up to $20,000 within four years of the procedure. That policy will not be granted for rapists, but still apply for the rapists' family members.


Abortion has already been outlawed in Texas because of a law from before Roe v. Wade that is now being enforced. The current ban makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

The state's trigger law on Aug. 25 will toughen the punishment for those involved in an illegal abortion — putting physicians who perform the procedure at risk of facing life in prison and fines no less than $100,000. It only allows the procedure for pregnant patients in a medical emergency.

States with abortion bans taking effect in September

Indiana became the first state to pass new legislation for an abortion ban since the reversal of Roe. That law is set to take effect on Sept. 15.

Similar to other states, Indiana will ban abortions except in the case of rape, incest or a medical emergency. Even then, the law imposes a complicated process for those abortions to be performed.

Arizona's abortion ban, which would criminalize providing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, is scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 24. But a stricter ban is being considered by the courts, as requested by the state attorney general.

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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.