Trigger bans took effect on Thursday, August 25, 2022, in Tennessee, Idaho, and Texas, banning abortion from conception in Tennessee and Idaho and enacting harsher penalties for providers in Texas.
These trigger bans are among the final trigger bans to take effect following the Supreme Court’s decision in June to officially reverse Roe v Wade.
Tennessee’s trigger ban went into effect Thursday—banning abortion in nearly all cases with no exceptions of rape or incest. The law primarily targets abortion providers, as performing or attempting to perform an abortion—for any reason—becomes a Class C felony.1
Abortion in Idaho is banned from conception, except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is in danger. Earlier this month, the Biden Administration convinced a federal judge to block the portion of Idaho’s law that criminalized abortions when a woman’s health was in danger.2
While it took effect on Thursday, providers are still permitted to perform the procedure in response to all medical emergencies. The Biden Administration sued Idaho earlier this month, citing the trigger ban’s conflict with federal law that requires abortion to be permitted in cases of medical emergency that are not life-threatening. A federal judge agreed to uphold federal law and blocked the portion of Idaho’s law that criminalized performing an abortion to protect a woman’s health. Enforcement of the state’s ban will remain paused until a lawsuit challenging the ban is resolved.2
Texas has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, where it is now a felony to provide an abortion for any reason, except for life-threatening cases. Doing so could mean 5 years to life in prison, as well as civil penalties of $100,000 for abortion.3
Abortion providers aren’t the only targets of the state’s new law. In cases of medication abortion, said Elizabeth Sepper, law professor at University of Texas at Austin, “Anyone who hands a medication abortion pill to another person could be subject to this criminal ban.” In addition to Texas criminal law, the private right of action still stands. Citizens are still incentivized to report people who they believe had an abortion or took part in the process.4
In Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas, abortion trigger laws are in place that fully ban abortion with few exceptions. Trigger laws in Utah and Wyoming are blocked while litigation continues. Bans in Kentucky and Louisiana that were previously blocked have since gone into effect. North Dakota’s trigger law was blocked temporarily in July and set to take effect Friday unless a state court intervenes and blocks it again.4
All abortions are banned in Alabama, with exceptions in cases of serious health risk to the mother, ectopic pregnancy, and lethal anomalies. In Ohio and Georgia, abortion is banned at 6 weeks—a law that is currently blocked in South Carolina—and Florida bans all abortion at 15 weeks.5
In Wisconsin and Arizona, abortion trigger bans predating Roe v Wade in 1973 have also been resurrected. Although their validity is unclear, many abortion clinics have ceased to perform the procedure.5
Indiana’s abortion ban will go into effect September 15, which restricts nearly all abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has requested a state court to reimpose the state’s 6-week abortion ban, but no ruling has been declared.5