For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 9, 2021
Alabama and Arkansas are the third and fourth states where anti-choice lawmakers have introduced bills using Texas’ abortion ban as a blueprint
Washington, DC — This week, anti-choice state legislators in Arkansas and Alabama introduced copycat abortion bans modeled after Texas’ SB 8, the unprecedented vigilante-enforced ban on abortion before many people even know they are pregnant. These efforts to undermine reproductive freedom are part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access across the country.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement:
“Anti-choice extremist politicians in Arkansas, Alabama, and other states across the country are clearly emboldened by the Supreme Court supermajority hostile to reproductive freedom, and these lawmakers will stop at nothing to attack abortion from every angle imaginable. Our fundamental rights are in a state of emergency, and our leaders in the Senate need to act now to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to safeguard the legal right to abortion and stop these attacks in their tracks. Our freedom to make our own decisions about our families and futures depends on it.”
Alabama and Arkansas are two of 14 states where lawmakers have announced intentions to introduce or have already introduced legislation using Texas’ vigilante enforcement mechanism as a blueprint to attack reproductive freedom. They join Ohio and Florida, where anti-choice state lawmakers have already introduced copycat legislation. These bills are anti-choice lawmakers’ latest attempt to undermine reproductive freedom at the state level through a barrage of attacks on abortion access. Over 100 restrictions on abortion access have been enacted at the state level this year, making it the worst year for abortion rights since the landmark 1973 decision in Roe
In September, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ SB 8, allowing this blatantly unconstitutional law to go into effect. On November 1, the Court heard oral arguments in two cases regarding Texas’ ban. The cases—Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas—focus on SB 8’s unprecedented vigilante enforcement mechanism and whether the Department of Justice has the authority to bring a challenge to the Texas law. The Supreme Court has allowed the law to remain in effect while it deliberates in the cases, effectively shutting off access to abortion care in Texas and rendering Roe v. Wade meaningless for tens of millions of people in the state. Texas’ abortion ban has forced Texans who can afford it to travel hundreds of miles and cross state lines to access abortion care. Those who can’t afford to travel can be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.
Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a separate case concerning Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and threatens to end the constitutional right to abortion as we know it.
The Court’s failure to block SB 8 and their decision to take up a direct challenge to Roe has opened the floodgates to an onslaught of attacks on reproductive freedom across the country. These attacks on reproductive freedom and abortion access underscore the urgent need for Congress to pass The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and protect the right to abortion throughout the United States. Every day without action means that more and more people are being denied their constitutional right to abortion—and this disproportionately affects women; Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color; members of the LGBTQ+ community; and those with lower incomes.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.