In only one year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its historic decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the pro-life movement has achieved tremendous victories across the country. Pro-life advocates have fought hard to enact life-affirming laws and to protect life in the courts.

As a result, 23 states have passed or are enforcing an abortion limit at 12 weeks’ gestation or earlier. Additionally, courts have lifted injunctions on pro-life laws, allowing these laws to take effect, and have dismissed numerous pro-abortion cases. The overturning of Roe has also raised new challenges as states grapple with the enforceability of pro-life laws that limit elective induced abortions. At the same time, ballot initiatives that seek to create a state constitutional right to abortion pose a threat to life in various states. 

American United for Life’s policy paper, “One Year Later: The Landscape of America’s Life-Protecting Laws after Dobbs,” provides an overview of the changes in life-protecting laws and abortion litigation in the United States one year after Dobbs. The paper highlights the following significant changes: 

  • Fourteen states have laws in effect that protect life from conception. 
  • Five states have laws that protect life after the detection of a heartbeat, although some of these laws are enjoined due to ongoing litigation. 
  • Two states have laws that protect life after 12 weeks’ gestation. 
  • Six states have defended their pre-Roe laws in court. 
  • At least 30 federal court cases have been dismissed following Dobbs. 
  • Courts in Texas and Louisiana have lifted injunctions against pro-life laws the Supreme Court previously ruled unconstitutional under Roe abortion “right.” 
  • Several pro-life lawsuits have been filed regarding chemical abortion drugs, including one high-profile case challenging the FDA’s approval and deregulation of these risky drugs. 

After a year of dramatic changes in the landscape of life-affirming laws, it is important to pause and celebrate the great accomplishments made by the pro-life movement. Although there have been challenges in a post-Roe world, states have vigorously defended their pro-life laws, and must continue to do so in order to protect women and preborn children from abortion violence.  

“We have had many pro-life victories in the courts and state legislatures since Roe v. Wade was reversed,” said Carolyn McDonnell, AUL Litigation Counsel. “Abortionists voluntarily dismissed dozens of lawsuits in the federal courts, realizing they couldn’t continue litigating after the Supreme Court reversed Roe. Although states are now defending against litigation that seeks to devise state constitutional rights to abortion, the pro-life movement has won many hard-fought legal victories. We are living in a post-Roe world, and the future is pro-life.”

“Now that there is no longer a right to abortion under the federal Constitution, Dobbs has emboldened the pro-life movement in their fight for life and reinvigorated many states’ desires to protect the unborn,” stated Danielle Pimentel, AUL Policy Counsel. “This has led many states to put forth strong pro-life legislation that protects women and their preborn children, as well as the pro-life community rallying together to oppose anti-life bills. As a result, we are seeing more states boldly protecting life. The pro-life movement won the close to 50-year battle against Roe, and will continue to fight until both law and culture protect human dignity throughout life.”