States enacted over 100 laws restricting abortion this year, leading one pro-abortion group to dub 2021 the "worst year for abortion rights" since the Roe v. Wade decision.
A report from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute found 19 states enacted a total of 106 abortion laws this year. These restrictions range from Texas's ban on abortion after six weeks to South Dakota's ban on aborting fetuses with Down syndrome. States passed more abortion restrictions in 2021 than the previous record year, 2011, when they passed 89.
The Supreme Court will decide next year on a case regarding a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that could overturn Roe. Opening arguments in December showed a conservative majority that seemed poised to uphold Mississippi's law but undecided on a complete overhaul of Roe. The Court this month also allowed legal challenges to Texas's six-week ban to continue as the law remains intact.
The Guttmacher study says recent moves from the Court’s conservative majority "buoyed" state legislatures, which "raced to enact abortion restrictions" this past year. States enacted nearly as many abortion restrictions this year alone as they did from 2018 to 2020.
Prudence Robertson, a spokeswoman for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said this wave of legislative action shows state lawmakers listen to their constituents.
"In states across the country, the American people, speaking through their duly elected legislators, are modernizing the law to respect the humanity of the unborn," Robertson told the Washington Free Beacon. "The nation is more prepared every day to come alongside families and provide them with the support they need."
States could restrict abortion even further if the Court overturns Roe and clears the way for total abortion bans. At least 21 states still have laws on the books that ban abortion but are superseded by Roe. If the Court reverses its 1973 decision, these "trigger laws" will take effect and ban abortion.
Democrats and pro-abortion groups have pushed to secure access to abortion in the event that the Court overturns Roe. The FDA this month made permanent a temporary measure that allows women to order chemical abortion pills online. In September, House Democrats passed legislation that would codify Roe in federal law.
An AP poll this year found 61 percent of Americans favor legal abortion in the first trimester, but only 34 percent support abortion in the second trimester. Just 19 percent of Americans support third-trimester abortions.