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North Dakota passes law banning abortion in most cases, adding to growing list of state restrictions

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will address a convocation Friday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

North Dakota Republican Governor Doug Burgum made national headlines when he signed a bill Monday that would ban abortion in the state, with few exceptions. The new law is just the latest in a series of strict restrictions on abortion passed by individual states since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2022.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe, 18 Republican states in the South and West, such as Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota, passed so-called “trigger” laws banning abortion when the court made its decision. But in recent months, six other Republican-led states, including Florida, have enacted new laws banning abortion at various stages of pregnancy.

Here’s a guide to the new abortion restrictions states have passed since last summer:

Table of Contents

North Dakota

North Dakota passed a law on Monday that almost completely bans abortion, with exceptions in the first six weeks of pregnancy for cases of rape, incest and medical emergencies. After six weeks, only certain medical emergencies, such as ectopic pregnancies, qualify for legal abortions. In March, a previous abortion ban in North Dakota that was almost as far-reaching was temporarily suspended by the state Supreme Court while a legal challenge was underway. There are no more abortion clinics in North Dakota. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, the state’s only abortion clinic moved to Moorhead, Minn.

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A law signed in April. 14 by Governor Ron DeSantis would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, except for victims of rape or incest or for women whose health is at risk. Those desiring one of those exceptions would also need to provide proof. The new law will only take effect if the existing 15-week ban is upheld by the state’s Supreme Court in an ongoing legal process. The state’s Supreme Court has a conservative majority.


Hoosier state became the first in the country to introduce new abortion restrictions following the Dobbs decision. In August 2022, Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, signed a bill banning abortion, with limited exceptions. Abortions are now only allowed in Indiana in cases of rape and incest in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, to protect the pregnant woman’s life or physical health, or if a fetus is diagnosed with a fatal defect. Doctors who perform illegal abortions should be stripped of their medical licenses. Also, abortions can now only be performed in hospital-owned hospitals or outpatient clinics — abortion clinics are no longer legally allowed to operate in the state. However, enforcement of the new law has been stalled pending the outcome of legal challenges. The Indiana State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in January.

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West Virginia

Last September, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a Republican, signed into law a law banning abortion, except in cases of rape or incest, up to eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and 14 weeks for minors. It allows abortions of a non-viable fetus or embryo, and when there is a medical emergency or an ectopic pregnancy. Abortion providers not covered by these exceptions face up to 10 years in prison.

south carolina

The state had a 2021 trigger law similar to the one DeSantis just signed into law in Florida — it banned abortion after heart activity can be detected in a fetus, about six weeks gestation — but the state Supreme Court overturned that law in January, saying that it violated the state constitution. So in February the Senate passed a bill that the Republican majority hoped would be approved by the court: a ban on abortion after six weeks, but one that now allows abortions to be performed up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest , fatal fetal abnormality and when the patient’s health is at risk. However, the state House of Representatives passed an even more restrictive law, which would ban abortion from the moment of conception, with some exceptions. The two houses are at odds and the stalemate puts the state’s current ban on abortion after 20 weeks in place for the time being. A bill in the state House to treat abortion as murder, potentially punishable by death, is also under consideration, though nine of the original 24 GOP co-sponsors dropped their support last month.

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In March, Wyoming became the first state to ban abortions through oral medications, which account for the majority of abortions nationwide. The state already had a full abortion trigger ban on the books, but it is currently under court order to enforce it. The same abortion pill is at the center of federal litigation, as a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas recently overturned the drug’s FDA approval.


Earlier this month, Idaho became the first state to criminalize assisting a minor to have an abortion in another state, with those convicted of violating the law facing two to five years in prison. The law allows the Attorney General to prosecute a case if local prosecutors refuse to do so. It also allows relatives of a pregnant child or the person who got her pregnant to file lawsuits against medical professionals who provide her abortion care, with damages of up to $20,000.

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