These 6 States Have The Most Restrictive Abortion Laws In The US

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On Tuesday, the governor of Georgia signed an extremely restrictive abortion bill into law, which aims to outlaw all abortions after six weeks, including in cases of rape or incest. The severity of the law is notable, given that many women don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks. If you want to know which states have banned abortion after six weeks, you might be surprised to learn that Georgia is just the latest to do so in recent years.

Though reproductive rights groups have already signaled their intent to fight the law, as they've done in all states with similar laws, the six-week abortion ban is part of a larger trend. Including Georgia, six states have now passed similar laws at some point; though CNN notes that none of these states have been able to put the "heartbeat bill" into practice yet (due to lawsuits), this doesn't mean Republican legislators are ceasing their efforts.

In 2019, 41 states saw more than 250 abortion bills introduced to state legislatures, approximately half of those aiming to ban abortion in some or all circumstances, according to the 2019 Abortion Restriction Snapshot. The study was conducted by Planned Parenthood and The Guttmacher institute, and revealed that states have introduced about 63% more six-week abortion bans than were introduced in 2018. It also notes that six states in the country are down to one abortion provider, too.

Here's what you need to know about the states who have six-week abortion bans on the books, and where those laws stand right now:


Gov. Brian Kemp signed the six-week abortion ban into law on Tuesday, May 7. Per CNN, it will go into effect next January, but the ACLU of Georgia and Planned Parenthood Southeast have already confirmed their intention to challenge the law in court.

Andrea Young, the executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, said to CNN,

Today's women can only thrive in a state that protects their most basic rights -- the right to choose when and whether to start a family. Georgia can't afford to go backward on women's health and rights.We will act to block this assault on women's health, rights and self-determination.


In March, Gov. Matt Bevin signed a six-week abortion ban into law, one which was set to take effect immediately. However, The New York Times reports that a judge halted enforcement of the law within two days of its signing, ruling that the law was potentially unconstitutional and needed to be paused until the judge could hold a hearing.

Later in March, that judge extended his temporary order banning the law from taking the effect, saying that the law would not be enforced until the court issued a final ruling. This ruling will take place in the coming months.


In March, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a six-week abortion ban into law for the state of Mississippi, which already only has one abortion clinic. The law is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2019, but it's already been challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights, among others.

Per The Cut, Hillary Schneller, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in part, “This ban is one of the most restrictive abortion bans signed into law, and we will take Mississippi to court to make sure it never takes effect."


Ohio's six-week abortion ban was signed into law in April by Gov. Mike DeWine. According to NPR, the ACLU of Ohio immediately announced its intention to sue to block the law from going into effect in July.

A statement by Freda Levenson, Legal Director at the ACLU of Ohio, was released by the organization following the announcement. It reads in part, "This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked. SB 23 is one of the most aggressive, oppressive, and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country."


Last May, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a six-week abortion ban into law. However, legal action from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic prevented it from taking effect in July, according to The Associated Press, and a state judge struck down the law in January 2019.

Per The Associated Press, Rep. Sandy Salmon (R-IA), the main sponsor of the bill, expressed her hope that the state would appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court. She also said Republicans would likely work on future legislation “to make corrections to what the courts have done.”

North Dakota

In March 2013, North Dakota passed the first-ever six-week abortion ban. Per The New York Times, then-Governor Jack Dalrymple signed it into law on March 26, saying in part, “Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade."

The law was blocked by a judge in July 2013, two months before it was set to take effect. In 2016, the Supreme Court refused to review the 2013 ruling, and the law was overturned permanently.

If you want to learn more about how these abortion bans negatively impact women's lives, the first thing you can do is read more about it. You can also contact your legislators in Congress (especially if you live in a state where restrictive abortion bills are being introduced or floated through state legislature) and let them know you believe people should have access to safe reproductive care.