In the year since the Supreme Court plunged reproductive rights into chaos with its decision on Dobbs, a lot has gone down—much of it dismaying, dangerous, vile, problematic, and…dare we say…shitty. Alongside the devastation, though, there have also been hopeful developments, which prove that when people are unwilling to give up the fight, there is room for light, possibility, and collective power.
But who among us can stay on top of everything that’s happened since SCOTUS overturned Roe?! Because keeping up with every bill, vote, and constitutional amendment pertaining to your bodily autonomy would probably require you to quit your job and read the news full-time, we’ve put together an easy-to-digest guide for you.
Here, you won’t find every single thing that’s happened in the past 365 days—otherwise, you’d be reading this until June 2024. But we did aim to chronicle all the major stuff—legislative and otherwise—so you can take stock of the reproductive rights landscape today. Read on to feel all the feelings—encouraged, mad, sad, need-to-smash-something—and get fired up to add some achievements to the “hopeful” list for next year.
California becomes a safe haven for folks seeking abortions from out of state, with Governor Gavin Newsom signing legislation intended to shield both providers and patients from being sued in states with abortion bans. Delaware and New Jersey take similar actions.
Governors in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania sign executive orders attempting to shield patients and abortion providers from legal action. The specifics of each law vary, but in general, they work to restrict cooperation if another state tries to prosecute providers or patients in a state where the procedure is legal. The order in Massachusetts, for example, aims to protect abortion providers from disciplinary action and makes it so the state wouldn’t have to comply with out-of-state abortion-care-related investigations.
Trigger bans in several states, such as Utah, Kentucky, and Louisiana, begin to be blocked (at least temporarily) by the courts, which stops them from going into immediate effect and allows thousands more people to access abortion should they need it.
Florida’s 15-week ban is enacted (despite attempts to block it, a court decides it will remain in effect as the case progresses)
The story of a 10-year-old rape victim who was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant and had to travel from her home state to Indiana for abortion care captures national attention—showing people the true, grotesque impact of abortion bans.
In a monumental and resounding victory, Kansas voters keep abortion legal by rejecting a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have explicitly said there was no right to abortion in the state. Had the constitutional amendment passed, it would have paved the way for GOP lawmakers to ban the procedure entirely. This is huge news in a red state that remains a bulwark for abortion rights in the region.
President Joe Biden (although he’s been known to be shy about saying the word “abortion”) issues an executive order to protect reproductive health care, although many say it doesn’t go far enough. The executive order pushes the secretary of Health and Human Services to “consider actions” to expand access and health care coverage for those traveling out of state for abortions.
The only British royal I acknowledge, Harry Styles, tells his audience at a concert in Texas, “No one can tell you what to do with your own body.”
Ohio’s 6-week trigger ban is blocked by the courts, after being in effect for 10 weeks.
Senator Lindsey Graham proposes a nationwide 15-week abortion ban, shocking even his Republican colleagues who would prefer to run away from the issue.
Planned Parenthood announces it is opening its first mobile abortion clinic, which will travel and provide care near the borders of red states where the procedure is banned.
The Pentagon says it’ll pay for service members who need to travel for abortions.
Democrats prevent the expected “red wave” during the midterms and hold on to the Senate. This is thanks to many voters motivated by the Dobbs decision, who saw Republicans as too extreme on the issue and brought their anger to the ballot box.
Across the country, abortion is literally on the ballot and secures several decisive wins. In casting votes on repro-rights-related ballot measures in states as diverse as Kentucky, Montana, Michigan, California, and Vermont, folks affirm bodily autonomy and show their dislike for draconian bans.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer—a staunch champion of reproductive rights—is reelected, and both chambers of the state legislature flip blue in the Great Lakes State, paving the way for the state to officially repeal an abortion ban passed in 1931.
Donald Trump announces his 2024 presidential run. The twice-indicted, twice-impeached former president has implied he’d consider signing a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks if elected president again.
Georgia’s 6-week abortion ban is reinstated.
An appeals court says that doctors in Arizona cannot be prosecuted under an old-as-hell ban (from 1864!!) that outlawed nearly all abortions.
A 6-week abortion ban in Iowa will remain permanently blocked, a state judge says.
After Dems take control of both houses in the legislature, Minnesota becomes the first state to codify abortion rights via legislative action post-Roe, passing a bill that guarantees “a fundamental right” to access abortion. Slay.
The House passes the inflammatory and unnecessary so-called Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requiring doctors to provide care following an abortion attempt—a scenario that is exceedingly rare and already covered under existing law. It’s yet another attempt to demonize abortion providers and hamstring evidence-based health care.
Kentucky Republicans propose that abortion be prosecuted as homicide. Very cool time we’re living in.
Wyoming passes a law outlawing the use of abortion pills (but right now, the law is being challenged in the courts, and for now, abortion remains legal in the state until “viability”).
The Supreme Court deals another blow to the abortion rights of minors when it quietly invalidates a lower court ruling that held a minor does not have to notify her parents before requesting permission from a court to have an abortion. The case involved a 17-year-old in Missouri. It’s already extremely difficult for minors to access reproductive health care.
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee signs unprecedented legislation that prevents our health data from being collected—by telehealth companies, period-tracking apps, and other entities.
Wisconsin voters flip their state Supreme Court blue, meaning the court will likely reverse the state’s abortion ban next year. (Fingers crossed.)
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs uses badassery and veto power to block dozens of anti-choice bills from going into effect, specifically refusing to codify a bullshit “fetal personhood” bill into state law.
North Dakota’s governor signs a law banning nearly all abortions.
Idaho passes a bogus “abortion trafficking” bill that essentially makes it illegal for an adult to help a minor find an abortion without parental consent.
In an asinine and almost unbelievable (yet in 2023, somehow also totally believable) instance of saying the white supremacy part out loud, Nebraska State Senator Steve Erdman implies an abortion ban is needed to ensure white people continue to dominate state demographics: “Our state population has not grown except by those foreigners who have moved here or refugees who have been placed here.”
In a much-needed win for students: New York passes a law requiring the state’s public universities to help students access medication abortions.
In a poignant and rare show of bipartisanship, the “Sister Senators” block multiple near-total bans on abortions in South Carolina, even after being subjected to horrific harassment…
…However, after three successful blocks, a 6-week ban finally passes in May despite a filibuster from the five women.
Nevada’s governor signs new abortion protections for out-of-state patients and in-state providers into law, becoming one of the first Republican governors to do so.
Vermont becomes the first in the country to sign into law a “shield” bill explicitly including medication abortion (even more astounding because it was signed by a Republican governor!).
In horrifying news out of Texas, a man reportedly murders his girlfriend because she had an abortion.
In North Carolina, state Representative Tricia Cotham switches parties, becoming a Republican and giving the GOP supermajority in the legislature the ability to override Governor Roy Cooper’s vetoes. They use it almost immediately to ram through a 12-week abortion ban, which will go into effect in July.
Nebraska bans abortion after 12 weeks, despite intense and valiant filibustering efforts from Democrats including Omaha Senator Machaela Cavanaugh, who previously succeeded in defeating a proposed 6-week abortion ban.
The doctor who spoke out about the 10-year-old rape survivor who had to travel to Indiana for abortion care is reprimanded by her state’s medical board…
…Although she’ll keep her license.
If you need an abortion, check out the resources at INeedAnA.com or AbortionFinder.org. You can also dive into the Guttmacher Institute’s resources for more detailed info on the policies in your state.
Molly is an investigative and freelance journalist who loves to tell stories at the intersection of health and politics. Molly enjoys hiking, public records, and looking at cow videos on Instagram. She's originally from Sidney, Iowa.