Abortion trigger laws go into effect in several states

Health
Mahayana Landowne

Mahayana Landowne, of Brooklyn, N.Y., wears a “Lady Justice” costume as she marches past the Supreme Court during a protest for abortion-rights, Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(NewsNation) — Abortion trigger laws went into effect in several U.S. states Thursday, with more on the way, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

An abortion trigger law went into effect in Tennessee on Thursday; in conjunction with the state’s so-called “heartbeat law.” Doctors who continue to perform the procedure could face felony convictions and up to 15 years in prison.

The ban, signed into law May 10, 2019 by Gov. Bill Lee, ushers in an era of a near-total ban on abortions in the state following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In Texas, abortion access has been restricted for the past 12 months, and all but nonexistent since June. On Thursday, the cost for violating those rules became even stiffer, as a new law there went into effect.

Much like Texas’ current abortion ban, the trigger law does not include exceptions for rape or incest. Instead, it has a loophole if a woman’s life or health is in danger.

Meanwhile, Texas has challenged a legal interpretation put forth by the federal government that was aimed at requiring Texas hospitals to provide abortion services if the life of the mother is at risk. On Wednesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the government from enforcing that interpretation.

Texas argued that the federal guidance would have required hospitals to provide abortions before the mother’s life is clearly at risk, which would have violated the state’s trigger law.

A similar situation played out in Idaho, but there a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the state’s abortion ban violated federal law. Idaho’s abortion ban makes all abortions felonies but allows physicians to defend themselves in court by arguing that the procedure was necessary to save the life of the mother or done in cases of rape or incest.

In North Dakota, a judge temporarily halted a trigger law that was set to outlaw abortion in North Dakota on Friday. Lawyers for the state’s only abortion clinic, which recently moved a few miles to Minnesota, had asked for a delay as they pursued a lawsuit challenging the ban.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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