WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court allowed the most restrictive abortion ban in the country to go into effect in Texas, setting a dangerous precedent and endangering reproductive rights. 2021 was already the worst year on record for anti-choice legislation and Republicans will only be emboldened to push further now that this law is in effect. In stark contrast, Democratic majorities have moved to protect reproductive choice and are now the last line of defense for abortion rights.
“Texas’ anti-abortion law sets a dangerous precedent and imperils abortion rights in this country,” said DLCC executive director Heather Williams. “Abortion access is increasingly decided in the states, and Democratic leaders in statehouses across the country have passed vital legislation to ensure reproductive freedom. If we do not defend our Democratic majorities and invest in Democratic power, progress on reproductive rights can and will be lost.”
Twenty-two states across the country have anti-abortion laws on the books that can be used to restrict legal abortion if Roe is overturned. In stark contrast, 15 Democratic-led states, along with Washington, DC, have laws explicitly protecting the right to an abortion. Here is a round-up of just a few of the vital laws that Democrats have passed at the state level in recent years:
- After gaining a majority in 2019, Democrats in the Virginia legislature defended abortion rights by ending archaic and punitive Republican restrictions on abortions.
- In Nevada, the majority-female, Democratic supermajority legislature passed the Trust Nevada Women Act to defend these fundamental rights.
- In New Mexico, Democrats repealed the law criminalizing abortion to ensure it remained legal if Roe was struck down by the Supreme Court.
- New York Democrats passed the Reproductive Health Act to expand abortion access and ensure that even if Roe is struck down, reproductive rights will be defended. This was made possible after Democrats took full control of the New York Senate, setting a vital example of what Democrats can do in the majority.
- The Illinois Democratic majority passed the Reproductive Health Act, making reproductive health care a fundamental right in the state.
- Democrats in Rhode Island codified abortion rights by passing the Reproductive Health Act.
- In Vermont, the Democratic-controlled legislature protected the fundamental right of reproductive choice.
- In addition to codifying abortion rights into law, Democratic-led states have worked to expand access to abortion care.