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Anti-abortion protest. Photo: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

The most restrictive abortion laws in generations are being challenged in courts across America's red states, setting up what could be a precedent-smashing Supreme Court challenge to the abortion status quo.

Driving the news: Mississippi's fetal heartbeat law was struck down on Friday, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 15-week abortion ban was unconstitutional, per AP. The Center for Reproductive Rights, who challenged the ban in court, called the ruling "the first of the recent bans to reach a federal appellate court."

States that have passed abortion restrictions:

States considering abortion restrictions:

  • Pennsylvania Republicans introduced a heartbeat bill, but Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he would veto it.
  • Florida is considering 2 bills — one limiting abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and the second is fetal heartbeat bill.
  • South Carolina has removed exceptions for rape and incest to advance a fetal heartbeat bill.
  • Maryland failed to pass a fetal heartbeat bill.
  • Minnesota is considering a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.
  • West Virginia introduced a fetal heartbeat bill earlier this year.
  • Tennessee has passed a bill that would ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

States enacting abortion protections:

  • Illinois' Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law on in early June to protect the state's abortion rights if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
  • New York passed a bill in January that protects the "fundamental right" to abortions.
  • Virginia expanded in May the range of medical professionals who can perform abortion procedures.
  • The Kansas Court ruled in late April that the state constitution protects a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.
  • The Illinois House passed a bill in May further protecting abortions by removing some of the barriers for abortions and penalties for doctors, positioning Illinois to become a major U.S. abortion destination.
  • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill into law in June that makes it easier to get an abortion by allowing medical professionals who are not doctors to perform the procedure.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed a bill codifying the Roe v. Wade decision and protecting abortion rights in her state.
  • A federal judge blocked an Indiana law in late June that would have banned second-trimester abortion procedures.

Why it matters: Supreme Court rulings have been cited to allow abortions up to 24 weeks during pregnancy when the fetus is not viable — or when a woman's health or life is at risk.

  • But conservatives have been advancing more restrictive policies in the past few years, hoping to spark a fresh Supreme Court case now that Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Anthony Kennedy.

What they're saying:

  • "For pro-life folks, these are huge victories," Sue Liebel, state director for anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, told the AP. "And I think they're indicative of the momentum and excitement and the hope that's happening with changes in the Supreme Court and having such a pro-life president."
  • “The gloves are off” among abortion opponents, NARAL Pro-Choice America's Kristin Ford told Vox.“They feel like they have the wind at their backs and they don’t have to dance around their true intentions anymore.”

The bottom line: We're one major Supreme Court case away from a new era of abortion rights, an unthinkable idea before the election of President Trump.

Go deeper: What happens to abortion access in each state if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Editor's note: This piece is being updated with the latest state-by-state decisions.

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies.

The state of play: Biden also raised arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The statement said Biden and Putin agreed maintain "consistent communication," and that Biden stressed the U.S. would "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies."

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.

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