The Delaware legislature [official website] approved a bill [SB5 materials] on Tuesday that guarantees access to abortion. The bill, which was previously approved by the state Senate, was approved by a vote of 22-16 after five hours of debate and discussion. The bill ensures that the provisions of Roe v. Wade [LII materials] remain legal at the state level should the historical case be overturned. Under Delaware’s current laws [AP report] abortions are only permitted if the mother’s health is at risk, if there is significant indications that a child will be born with disabilities, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. The new legislation lifts any restrictions on abortions prior to the stage where a fetus reaches viability. A similar bill to protect abortion rights [Reuters report] was approved by the Illinois legislature [official website] in May but the state’s governor, Bruce Rauner, has said he would veto it. New York has also written legislation to protect abortion rights, but it has stalled in the Senate.
Access to abortion has been a recent issue since President Donald Trump vowed to appoint a Supreme Court [official website] justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Also on Tuesday Texas Governor Greg Abbott [official website] signed a series of abortion regulations into law [JURIST report]. In May Trump’s administration announced [JURIST report] plans to expand the so-called Mexico City Policy blocking international family planning assistance through the US Agency for International Development [official website] to any groups or programs that provide abortion or abortion education to women. Also in May Trump signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that scales back an Obama administration regulation that protected certain federal funds for organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood [advocacy website]. In February the US House of Representatives approved a bill [JURIST report] that would overturn the Obama administration’s rule prohibiting states from denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood and passed a bill [JURIST op-ed] that makes permanent restrictions on federal funding abortion. That same month the Florida Supreme Court [official website] blocked [JURIST report] enforcement of the Mandatory Delay Law, which requires that a woman wait 24 hours after receiving counseling from a physician before she can have an abortion. Also in February the Pennsylvania Senate [official website] approved SB 3 [JURIST report], putting Pennsylvania in line to become the seventeenth state to pass a bill banning abortions past 20 weeks.