Despite a recent setback that tanked an effort at a 6-week abortion ban in Nebraska, the state on Monday managed to pass a 12-week abortion ban amid a bill that limits sex-change surgery for those 18 and under. The abortion restriction goes into effect immediately.
Before he signed the bill into law, Republican Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen called it “the most significant win for social conservative agenda in over a generation of Nebraska.”
North Carolina also passed a 12-week ban, though the legislation, which became law last week, doesn’t go into effect until July 1. North Carolina Republicans overrode the governor’s veto of the bill via a supermajority.
North Carolina’s ban is particularly significant, as it increases abortion restrictions from the previous 20-week threshold and means that North Carolina can no longer be a destination in the South for women who seek abortions further along in their pregnancies.
Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee have total abortion bans (with limited exceptions). In Florida, a recently passed six-week abortion ban is pending a state Supreme Court decision. Georgia’s “heartbeat” (or six-week) law is in effect.
Virginia may be the South’s most liberal state on abortion, allowing it through 26 weeks. An abortion activist told NBC News that “she was bracing for more women who are seeking abortions to travel to Virginia, which will likely soon be the last Southern state without abortion restrictions.”
North Carolina was a holdout on passing abortion restrictions, but not anymore. “North Carolina was the last state south of Virginia and east of New Mexico that had not implemented or passed new abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June,” Politico reports.
Now neighboring South Carolina, which allows abortion through 21 weeks, could be next in passing new restrictions. Though five female senators attempted a filibuster to kill the state’s proposed six-week abortion ban, it passed the state Senate on Tuesday. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has pledged to sign the legislation.
With the passage of North Carolina’s recent abortion ban, South Carolina could have become one of the South’s most permissive states on abortion. Before the debate on the bill, Republican Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey lamented that South Carolina had become “the abortion capital of the Southeast.” “The pro-life members of the Senate believe this is unacceptable,” he said.
All of this means that, pending the South Carolina law passing and the other abortion restrictions in Southern states taking effect, pro-life laws are making headway in the South, as the movement continues to celebrate slow but steady policy wins.