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With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer and strip individuals of their constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years of federal protection, 26 states could quickly move to ban abortion. Many state politicians have already announced or are considering special sessions to start the process of stripping their constituents of their rights. 

Special sessions can cost states millions of dollars and traditionally have been used to address urgent issues like fiscal downturns or natural disasters. But these lawmakers are hellbent on reconvening for the sole purpose of taking away state residents’ access to abortion — and wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars to do that.

There is no state in the country where banning abortion is popular. Nationwide, 80% of Americans want abortion to be legal, and support for abortion rights has reached a two-decade high since the Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked just over two weeks ago.

 Here are the states most likely to hold special sessions to ban or further restrict abortion if Roe is overturned this summer:

  • Arkansas: Last month Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that if the Supreme Court overturns or weakens Roe v Wade, he is open to addressing the decision in a special session. Hutchinson made this assertion despite the fact that Arkansas already has a pre-Roe ban — a near-total ban that makes providing an abortion a felony — and is one of 13 states with an existing trigger law that could ban abortion if Roe is overturned.
  • Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis is already planning to hold a special session to address insurance issues, and lawmakers could decide to also move to further limit abortion access. Florida passed a 15-week abortion ban earlier this year that takes effect on July 1.
  • Idaho: Lt. Gov. McGeachin is calling for a special session to remove exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the pregnant person from the state’s existing trigger law that could ban abortion 30 days after Roe is overturned. This year, Idaho became the first state to pass a Texas-style six-week abortion ban, which is currently blocked by the state’s courts.
  • Indiana: In March, Indiana lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Holcomb asking him to call a special session if Roe is overturned or weakened. Only the governor can call a special session in Indiana and Holcomb has not ruled out the possibility. This year, the legislature passed an anti-abortion bill that limits pregnant people’s ability to receive essential care under the guise of protection from so-called coercion.
  • Montana: Gov. Gianforte has expressed his support for a special session focused on banning abortion if Roe is overturned.
  • Nebraska: This past Sunday during an appearance on CNN, Gov. Pete Ricketts said that if Roe is overturned, he would call a special session for the sole purpose of banning abortion completely with no exceptions. Earlier this year, advocates successfully blocked efforts to pass a trigger ban.
  • South Carolina: The South Carolina Senate adjourned last week, passing a sine die resolution that says lawmakers can return between July 1 and November 13, 2022, to consider legislation related to abortion following a decision in the Supreme Court case. Advocates blocked efforts to pass a proposed trigger ban this session, but lawmakers will likely attempt to pass an abortion ban when they reconvene.
  • South Dakota: While South Dakota already has a trigger ban, following the leaked draft opinion, Gov. Noem said she would call a special session to address abortion.

While legislators have not publicly commented on convening special sessions, additional states to watch include Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and West Virginia.

And keep an eye on Ohio, Oklahoma, and Louisana which are still in session and could advance or pass anti-abortion bills in the coming weeks, as well as North Carolina which reconvenes later this month for its regular session. Lawmakers in Texas and Oklahoma also didn’t wait for a Supreme Court decision on Roe to ban abortion. Abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy has been banned in Texas for the past nine months and a copycat ban in Oklahoma went into effect earlier this month, leaving millions of people who can get pregnant with almost no option for abortion, short of traveling to another state. Both states also have trigger bans that, if put into effect, could ban abortion altogether at any point in pregnancy.


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