Glenn just purchased the entire historical Roe v. Wade archive as a solemn reminder of our nation’s past and the vital importance of honoring the sacredness of life. Since Roe was overturned in 2022, many states have been stepping up to protect both their unborn citizens AND the mothers carrying them.
Which states are doing the most to protect their most vulnerable? Here are the top 12 states with the strictest laws against abortion.
Alabama has some of the nation’s most protective pro-life measures, banning all abortions in the case of life-threatening circumstances for the mother. That means abortion is banned at every stage of pregnancy. Health care providers found guilty of performing abortions face a class-A felony, the most serious charge besides Capitol Murder, with the potential of carrying a life sentence in prison. However, the pill, Plan B, is classified as “contraception” rather than abortion. Taxpayer-funded Medicaid does not cover abortion procedures except in very limited circumstances.
Alabama is one of the few states to add protections within its state constitution for the unborn. The state:
Acknowledges, declares, and affirms that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.
Like Alabama, Arkansas bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy except in life-threatening situations for the mother. However, Plan B is still considered “contraception” and is legal. Taxpayer-funded Medicaid does not cover abortion procedures except in very limited circumstances. Additionally, Arkansas added the amendment to its state constitution, declaring:
The policy of Arkansas is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution.
Idaho bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy with the exceptions of life-threatening situations to the mother and instances of rape and incest. The health care practitioner who gave an abortion must prove “affirmative defense,” which means they have to prove in court why the abortion is necessary and meets the legal criteria. Patients approved for abortion must wait 24 hours after counseling to receive the procedure. Anyone who performs an abortion unless it’s in one of the approved cases will face felony charges. Like Alabama and Arkansas, taxpayer-funded Medicaid does not cover abortion procedures.
Unlike Alabama and Arkansas, Idaho law does not include explicit constitutional or statutory protections for abortion.
Kentucky has also banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy except in life-threatening situations for the mother. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. However, abortion providers are fighting the all-out ban on abortion through appealing to the state’s previous abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy. The appeal is ongoing.
Though Kentucky voters voted down a proposal to add an amendment to the state constitution banning abortion, the state adopted the following policy towards abortion in 2018:
Children, whether born or unborn, are the greatest natural resource in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Louisiana also banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. However there is an appeal to allow abortions in the case of rape and incest. Healthcare practitioners who violate this ban are subject to criminal prosecution. Moreover, Louisiana adopted an amendment in their state constitution—specifically, the Louisiana Declaration of Rights, banning the construction of any constitutional right to abortion:
To protect human life, nothing in present constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.
Missouri bans all abortions except in the case of a medical emergency concerning the mother, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Those seeking to get an abortion must prove “affirmative defense,” which means they have to prove in court why the abortion is necessary and meets the legal criteria. Minors seeking an abortion through “affirmative defense” must do so with parental consent. Moreover, those seeking an abortion must be offered an ultrasound.
Moreover, Missouri adopted the following statute protecting the unborn:
It is the intention of the general assembly of the state of Missouri to: (1) [d]efend the right to life of all humans, born and unborn; (2) [d]eclare that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a ‘sanctuary of life’ that protects pregnant women and their unborn children; and (3) [r]egulate abortion to the full extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States, decisions of the United States Supreme Court, and federal statutes.
Oklahoma was the first state to successfully ban all abortions after conception following the overturn of Roe v. Wade and continues to lead the way as one of the toughest states on abortion. Exceptions include life-saving procedures for the mother or pregnancies resulting from “rape, sexual assault, or incest.” Those who perform legal abortions can be reported and prosecuted criminally under state law HB427 and be charged at least $10,000 per illegal abortion procedure. Violations also include insurance companies or private citizens caught funding abortions.
Though Oklahoma has not adopted a state constitutional amendment concerning abortion, its Public Health Code states that it cannot be “construed as creating or recognizing right to abortion.”
9. South Dakota
South Dakota bans all abortions except in life-threatening cases for the mother. There are no exceptions for rape and incest. However, it is legal to travel out of state to get an abortion. There are no state constitutional provisions protecting against abortion.
Tennessee bans all abortions except in life-threatening cases for the mother. There is currently a movement in the Tennessee state legislature to enact exceptions for rape and incest. Like Idaho and Missouri, healthcare practitioners who gave an abortion must prove “affirmative defense,” which means they have to prove in court why the abortion is necessary and meets the legal criteria. Those who provide abortions illegally can be criminally prosecuted.
Tennessee’s state constitution was amended to supersede a 2000 Tennessee supreme court case, which held:
A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution [and that] the right is inherent in the concept of ordered liberty embodied in our constitution and is therefore fundamental.
The new state constitutional amendment reads as follows:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.
Texas bans all abortions except in life-threatening cases concerning the mother. There is a movement in the Texas state legislature to provide exemptions for rape and incest.
Moreover, Texas received a lot of heat for its law not only criminalizing providing illegal abortions but enabled citizens to report illegal abortions. However, several cities in Texas are pushing back against the abortion ban. After Dobbs, Texas increased the penalties for performing an abortion up to life in prison, including a civil penalty of no less than $100,000 per abortion performed.
Attorney General Ken Paxton said the following:
Now that the Supreme Court has finally overturned Roe, I will do everything in my power to protect mothers, families, and unborn children, and to uphold the state laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature.
The cities of Austin and San Antonio passed ordinances preventing city funds from being used to investigate the provision or receipt of abortion care.
12. West Virginia
West Virginia bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy, except in the case of a “nonmedically viable fetus”, ectopic pregnancy, or medical emergency. According to the West Virginia state legislature, “Nonmedically viable fetus” means:
A fetus that contains sufficient lethal fetal anomalies so as to render the fetus medically futile or incompatible with life outside the womb in the reasonable medical judgment of a reasonably prudent physician.
Victims of rape and incest can obtain abortions up to eight weeks after conception, but only if they report to law enforcement first.
In 2018, West Virginians voted to add the following language to the state constitution:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.