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Abortion has always been a hot-button issue. But, recently, the debate has become even hotter. Under Roe v. Wade, women are permitted to get an abortion until the fetus is viable, which occurs at about 24 to 28 weeks.
It appears that several states are seeking to challenge this Supreme Court decision, as they have passed -- or are in the process of passing -- bills restricting women's access to abortions. While these new laws will certainly be challenged in court (and some already have been), it can be concerning for women living in states will new anti-abortion laws.
Louisiana's New Abortion Laws
Louisiana is one of the many states that have passed a so-called "fetal heartbeat" bill. On May 30, 2019, the Democratic governor of Louisiana signed a bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. This can occur as early as six weeks into a woman's pregnancy, which is often before she even knows she's pregnant. The new law also prohibits abortions even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The law will go into effect only if the law in Mississippi is upheld by a federal appeals court.
Although it's surprising that a Democrat would sign such a bill into law, it's not surprising that this type of law would be passed in Louisiana. After all, Louisiana has a provision in its statutes indicating that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortions in the state would automatically be prohibited.
Nevada's New Abortion Laws
On the other side of the spectrum, the governor in Nevada signed two bills into law that expand reproductive rights for women and remove criminal penalties on abortion. While signing the bills, the governor stated, "I am especially proud to be a Nevadan where we protect a woman's right to make her own decisions about her own body."
The "Trust Nevada Women Act" decriminalizes certain actions that are related to abortion drugs, performing abortions, and abortion prosecution. It also removes the requirement that physicians certify a woman's age and marital status in writing before performing an abortion. The new law additionally rewrites existing state law by requiring physicians to tell a woman about the "nature and consequences" of an abortion, instead of the "emotional implications" of one. The second bill the governor signed allocates $6 million in funding to nonprofits and local government agencies for family planning services. This funding will help cover the costs associate with birth control, emergency contraception, and immunizations.
If you have questions about how the abortion laws may affect you, it's best to speak to an experienced family law attorney near you today.