Current Events


Activists hold a National Day of Action as lawyers head to court. With tensions rising on both sides of the abortion debate, we tackle:

How did we get here?
What’s next?
Why It Matters

Current Events

The Backstory

  • A “heartbeat ban” prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected (approx. 6 weeks).
  • First introduced in Ohio in 2011.
  • This year, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio & Miss. passed “heartbeat bans.”
  • Alabama passed a near-total ban.
  • Arkansas & Utah passed 18-week bans.
  • 7 states total have passed laws restricting abortion in 2019.
Current Events

Important Context

None of the laws in the 7 states are in effect (all currently or will likely face legal challenges).

  • Arkansas (2013), Iowa (2018) & North Dakota (2013) enacted heartbeat bans a all struck down by the courts.
  • Iowa (2013) & North Dakota (2018) enacted six-week bans a both struck down by the courts.
Current Events

More Bills On The Way

  • Missouri’s Republican governor is expected to sign an 8-wk ban bill into law soon. Like Alabama’s law, it has no exception in cases of rape or incest.
  • Louisiana’s Democrat governor is also expected to sign a heartbeat ban bill into law once it passes.
  • Meanwhile, other states, like Illinois & Vermont, are working to expand abortion rights.
Current Events


  • The laws passed this year will likely be unenforceable because they contradict Supreme Court precedent (Roe v. Wade).
  • Proponents of the new laws hope they will reach the Supreme Court (which now has a conservative majority) & overturn or change the federal abortion law framework; this could affect state laws too.
Current Events

Roe v. Wade

  • 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalized abortion *with limits.*
  • Legalized abortion in 1st trimester.
  • States can regulate, not outlaw, abortion in 2nd trimester.
  • States can regulate/outlaw abortion in 3rd trimester *except* when health/life of mother threatened.
  • This is why states have different laws.
Current Events

Today, a challenge of Mississippi's heartbeat law heads to court as groups organize nationally to protest the new laws: "Stop the Bans Day."

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