Governors

STATE-BY-STATE: How GOP Governors Plan to Criminalize Abortion

With the news breaking tonight that the Supreme Court has decided to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Americans’ right to an abortion now falls into the hands of governors — and with just months before the midterms, gubernatorial candidates. 

Republican gubernatorial candidates this cycle universally support unpopular, undemocratic, and dangerous abortion bans. With the arrival of the post-Roe reality, Republicans will have to own the consequences of their support for complete abortion bans — radical legislation even their own base doesn’t support.

What will happen after Roe in key battleground states like Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere? Here’s a comprehensive breakdown — and where candidates in these states publicly stand:

ARIZONA

If Roe is overturned, abortion will be illegal in Arizona. Arizona’s abortion law from 1901, ARS 13-3063, “provides for a minimum two years in prison, and a maximum of five years, for anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion by drugs or ‘other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life.’” 

  • Frontrunner Kari Lake called for a “carbon copy” of the Texas vigilante-style abortion ban — which does not include exceptions for rape or incest.
  • Karrin Taylor Robson called the Texas abortion ban a “victory” and said ominously that the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade is “just beginning.”

GEORGIA 

If Roe is overturned, Georgia’s six-week abortion ban — which bans abortion before most people know they are pregnant — would likely go into effect. The ban, “one of the most restrictive in the country” and signed into law by Brian Kemp in 2019, is currently being challenged in federal court. Georgia’s Republican legislature would have no barriers to passing even more restrictive legislation, including a total ban. David Perdue also supports the six-week ban and pushed to restrict abortion at the national level

MICHIGAN 

If Roe is overturned, Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban could be enforced. The law “criminalizes abortion for anybody administering the procedure or drug to produce a miscarriage, making it a felony in all cases except when abortion is necessary to preserve the mother’s life.” If Roe is overturned, prosecutors in Michigan’s 13 counties with abortion clinics would have the authority to charge violators of the state’s 1931 ban — allowing the chance that people who get abortions, or who provide abortions, could be sentenced to prison. 

  • James Craig was caught saying in a secret recording that as governor, he would block any attempts by the democratically-elected legislature to protect reproductive rights, as Governor Whitmer is currently doing. Craig also sided with his primary opponent Garrett Soldano – backing the disgusting and disqualifying anti-choice belief that there should be no exceptions to an abortion ban for rape victims.
  • As mentioned above, Garrett Soldano — during an extremist rant, which mirrored the famous “legitimate rape” tirade of Todd Akin — argued life begins “even before the heartbeat” and advocated for a near-total ban on abortion in the state of Michigan. Soldano went on to say that society must “inspire” women who get raped to give birth because “God put them in this moment.” 
  • Tudor Dixon has said outright that she would refuse to allow an abortion procedure even if the pregnant person would die without one — a disturbing and increasingly popular opinion among Republican candidates.

NEVADA

There is good news in Nevada: If Roe is overturned, abortion will still be legal. Nevada has abortion protections enshrined in its state constitution. In 1990, Nevada voters passed Question 7, a statewide ballot initiative that “effectively cemented the right to get an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy in Nevada.”

  • Dean Heller said he admired Texas’ SB8 and that he wants “the most conservative pro-life laws enacted in the state of Nevada” — despite the fact that the right to abortion before 24 weeks is affirmed under the state constitution.

PENNSYLVANIA

Abortion is currently legal in Pennsylvania up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, but is not protected under the commonwealth’s constitution — meaning that an anti-choice governor like Lou Barletta or Doug Mastriano could sign any restriction passed through the state constitution. As the Center for Reproductive Rights called Pennsylvania a “hostile” state and said abortion access hinged on  “a governor who is supportive of abortion rights.”

  • Doug Mastriano introduced a six-week abortion ban in the legislature. As governor, it stands to reason he could use the Republican-dominated legislature to pass that bill immediately. 
  • Lou Barletta has said he will “refuse to speculate” on what an abortion ban would look like in Pennsylvania, only saying that he would enact anti-abortion legislation as governor. 

TEXAS

If Roe is overturned, abortion would be outlawed in Texas “almost immediately.” In 2021, Texas legislators passed House Bill 1280, “which would be triggered if the Supreme Court ‘wholly or partly’ overturns Roe v. Wade. It would make performing an abortion a felony in Texas 30 days after the Supreme Court’s decision.”

  • Greg Abbott signed a six-week abortion ban into law that encourages neighbors to pursue vigilante justice against Texans suspected of performing abortions. He has refused to add exceptions for rape or incest into that law.

WISCONSIN

If Roe is overturned, abortion will be illegal in Wisconsin under an 1849 law that says “‘any person — other than the mother — who ‘intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony, punishable by up to six years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.” 

  • Frontrunner Rebecca Kleefisch spent her time as Scott Walker’s LG working to pass an unpopular abortion ban, which has made performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to three and a half years in prison. She supports banning abortion before most people know they are pregnant.
  • One of her opponents, Kevin Nicholson has close, personal ties with crisis pregnancy centers — fake health care clinics that lie to pregnant people to coerce them out of getting abortions. He has also confirmed that he supports banning abortion in all cases, including in cases of rape and incest.
  • Meanwhile, Timothy Ramthun would ban abortion “regardless the circumstance,” with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the parent.

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