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With new abortion bans, GOP isn’t waiting for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is expected to overturn Roe in a couple of months. Many Republicans are passing new abortion bans without waiting for the justices.


In recent months, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Republican-led legislature have already approved policies to make it easier to ban books from school libraries and classrooms. And made it harder for Floridians to vote. And created restrictions on the right to peaceably protest.

With this in mind, as the GOP governor tries to divide the state and parlay a culture war into a second term, no one was especially surprised to see DeSantis add to the list with a new abortion ban. NBC News reported:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a measure to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy into law on Thursday, making the state the latest to tighten access to the procedure ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could limit abortion rights across the country.... Barring a successful legal challenge, the law, which goes into effect July 1.

Under the new policy in the Sunshine State, women can still have an abortion if it’s necessary to save their lives or prevent serious injury. But if a woman is impregnated by way of rape or incest, they’ll have to go to some other state — if they can afford it — to terminate the unwanted pregnancy.

This comes on the heels of related Republican-imposed abortion bans in Oklahoma, Idaho, and Texas. As Rachel explained in detail on last night’s show, this also coincides with developments in Kentucky. The Associated Press reported overnight:

New abortion restrictions passed by Republican lawmakers over the Democratic governor’s veto will force the only two abortion clinics in Kentucky to stop providing the procedures for women, at least temporarily, while the new law is challenged in court, abortion-rights activists said Wednesday. The law will draw immediate federal lawsuits, and attorneys for the clinics will seek a ruling to block the measure to allow the clinics to resume abortions while the case is litigated, the activists said.

On the surface, Kentucky Republicans approved a 15-week abortion ban, similar to Florida’s new policy, but just below the surface, Kentucky’s new policy includes related regulations that health care providers in the Bluegrass State literally cannot comply with.

As a result, as of this morning, all abortions have stopped in Kentucky. The state’s two abortion clinics, both of which are in Louisville, are no longer able to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

While other states have approved near-total abortion bans recently, Kentucky is the first state since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 to have no legal abortion access.

Much of the country is awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case out of Mississippi in which the justices are expected to overturn Roe, but what we’re seeing in several states is GOP policymakers who are not inclined to wait.

As we’ve discussed, in theory, each of these measures are at odds with the Supreme Court’s Roe precedent. But in practice, that precedent appears unlikely to survive past the summer, and Republicans are optimistic they can now act with legal impunity.

What would a post-Roe United States look like? The future is just now starting to come into focus.