State Legislators Aim To Restrict Abortion Pills, ‘trafficking’ Next In States With Bans

Kelcie Moseley-Morris, Florida Phoenix

More than half of state legislatures across the country started their 2024 legislative sessions in January, and plenty of abortion-related bills have already been introduced, especially in states where the procedure is already banned. It can be hard to monitor them all, so States Newsroom’s Reproductive Rights Today team will track certain bills that could become law in their respective states in a bi-weekly legislative roundup. Depending on the partisan makeup of a state’s legislature and other state government officials, some bills have a higher chance of passing and becoming law than others.

Iowa

Abortion is legal in Iowa after a court blocked a six-week abortion ban from going into effect in July 2023, but Iowa Capital Dispatch reports some lawmakers are attempting to include material produced by an anti-abortion group in the public school curriculum statewide.

House File 2031According to the bill, a video showing the development of a fetus would be required to be shown in health classes in Iowa schools. Teachers would be required to show students a video displaying an ultrasound and fetal development, and the bill called out the “Meet Baby Olivia” video as an example. That video is produced by Live Action, an anti-abortion organization. Reproductive rights groups say the video contains medically inaccurate information. A similar bill became law in North Dakota in 2023, and proposals have been introduced in Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but only Iowa’s bill has advanced past committee so far.

Status: Passed by subcommittee, 2-1

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Luana Stoltenberg

Indiana

Republicans control both chambers of the general assembly and the offices of governor and attorney general, and Republican legislators have introduced two bills that could have significant implications for the state if they advance. Indiana has a near-total abortion ban with exceptions for rape and incest and fatal fetal anomalies or if the pregnant patient faces a serious health risk.

Senate Bill 217: Prohibits the prescription or possession of an abortion-inducing drug. A practitioner found in violation of the law would be charged with a misdemeanor for the first offense, and a felony for subsequent offenses. Nonprofit organizations would be prohibited from offering any financial assistance for abortion-inducing drugs.

Status: Introduced and referred to committee

Sponsor: Republican Sen. Michael Young

Kansas

Despite Kansas voters’ overwhelming rejection of abortion bans in a referendum shortly after the Dobbs decision in 2022, Kansas Reflector reported a near-total abortion ban bill introduced in the legislature in early January, House Bill 2492. It’s opposed by both abortion rights supporters and opponents, including Kansans for Life, the main proponent of the “yes” side of the referendum. A spokesperson for that organization said legislators should focus on bills that stand a chance of becoming law.

Aside from the ban bill, two other abortion-related pieces of legislation have been introduced but haven’t received public hearings yet. Abortion is legal in Kansas, and six clinics provide in-clinic services.

Senate Bill 354Designating facilities where elective abortions are performed as ineligible to purchase professional liability insurance from the state’s health care stabilization fund, while maintaining the requirement of liability insurance to remain a licensed facility.

Status: Introduced and referred to committee

Sponsor: Republican Sen. Mark Steffen

House Bill 2515Creating a civil cause of action that can be used against a health care provider who injures a child during an attempted abortion, for a minimum of $10,000 in damages. The bill includes so-called “born alive” language, which has been pushed by anti-abortion groups for many years and decried by organizations like Planned Parenthood, who say it is a “problem that doesn’t exist” and doctors are already required to provide adequate medical care.

Status: Introduced and referred to committee

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Brett Fairchild

Missouri

According to Missouri Independent, one abortion-related bill was already withdrawn by its sponsor after backlash because it proposed murder charges for women seeking abortions. But another bill of significance is still pending in the state where a near-total abortion ban is in place.

Senate Bill 1077Prohibits the state from contracting, awarding grants, tax credits, bonding authority, training resources, access to government programs, or other financial benefits to a company or political subdivision that has provided assistance to its employees or another entity on behalf of employees who need an abortion.

Status: Introduced and referred to committee

Sponsor: Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s legislative session doesn’t start until Monday, Feb. 5, but lawmakers have pre-filed bills to be considered as soon as the session gets underway. The state has a near-total abortion ban. Here are a few to keep an eye on.

Senate Bill 1778This bill is nearly identical to a law passed in Idaho in 2023 prohibiting so-called “abortion trafficking,” which is defined as individuals who help a minor obtain an abortion without the permission or consent of their parents. It doesn’t include a civil cause of action, like Idaho’s law, but it does include two to five years in prison as a punishment.

Status: Pre-filed

Sponsor: Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm

House Bill 3013The act of “trafficking” abortion pills would become a felony, punishable by a $100,000 fine, 10 years in prison, or both. It does not apply to pharmacists or manufacturers lawfully distributing abortion-inducing medication.

Status: Pre-filed

Sponsor: Republican Reps. Denise Crosswhite Hader and Jim Olsen

Senate Bill 1729: This bill would expand the existing abortion ban to allow the pregnant person to be prosecuted and charged with murder.

Status: Pre-filed

Sponsor: Republican Sen. Dusty Deevers

Tennessee

House Bill 1895This bill is similar to Idaho’s law but doesn’t hew as closely to the same text as Oklahoma’s proposal. It also includes the act of obtaining abortion pills for a minor, regardless of where the pills were obtained. It does not pertain to parents or legal guardians, but any other violators are subject to a Class C felony, which is punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. It includes a civil cause of action.

Status: Referred to committee and scheduled for hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 6

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Jason Zachary

House Bill 1729Specifies that criminal abortion does not include an abortion performed during a medical emergency affecting the physical or mental health of the pregnant person, or performed on a patient whose pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

Status: Introduced and referred to committee

Sponsor: Democratic Rep. Yusuf Hakeem

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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