A year after Roe's overturning, here are the states working to strengthen abortion access

New York lawmakers just passed a bill protecting telehealth abortion providers.

June 21, 2023, 1:20 PM

As the one-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court approaches this weekend, several states are taking efforts to further strengthen abortion rights and access.

Since the decision handed down last summer, at least 15 states have ceased nearly all abortion services, according to an ABC News tally.

In the face of such harsh restrictions, states where the procedure remains legal are making efforts to help those who may travel to seek abortions.

On Tuesday, the New York State Legislature passed a bill protecting doctors in the state from prescribing pills to patients living in states where the procedure is banned ore strictly limited.

In nearby Massachusetts, a joint hearing in the state House and Senate is scheduled next week regarding a bill that would ban the selling, trading, renting or leasing of cellphone location data.

PHOTO: Used boxes of Mifepristone pills, the first drug used in a medical abortion, fill a trash at Alamo Women's Clinic in Albuquerque, N.M., Jan. 11, 2023.
Used boxes of Mifepristone pills, the first drug used in a medical abortion, fill a trash at Alamo Women's Clinic in Albuquerque, N.M., Jan. 11, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters, FILE

Supporters of the bill -- including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts -- said it would help protect the location data of people who visit abortion clinics, especially those in hostile states.

Additionally, in Maine, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives began voting on a series of abortion bills Tuesday, many of which received initial approval including forbidding towns and cities from enacting their own abortion laws and legal protection for doctors who treat patients from states that ban abortion.

But it's not just states in regions with more access that have passes or are working to pass laws. States in regions with more restrictions are also working to process access.

In January, lawmakers in Illinois passed a measure -- that went on to be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker -- to protect both patients and providers from legal action if they crossed state lines to obtain or provide an abortion, respectively.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis codified legal abortion in state law in 2022. In April 2023, he signed three bills further protecting abortion rights.

One bill would bar courts or judicial officers from issuing subpoenas linked to another state's investigation about a person who performs, receives or aids an abortion.

A similar bill was signed in March 2023 in neighboring New Mexico by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that prohibits local or state governments from discriminating, interfering, denying or restricting a person's access to reproductive health care.

The second Colorado bill requires large employer health care plans to provide coverage for the total cost of abortion care starting in January 2025.

The state's third bill makes it a deceptive trade practice to advertise that an organization provides abortions, emergency contraceptives, or referrals for abortions or emergency contraceptives when it actually does not.

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