Roe v. Wade

A surge of restrictive state abortion bans take aim at Roe v. Wade

Pro-choice and abortion rights activists protesting outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pro-choice and abortion rights activists protesting outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Energized by the Supreme Court's solid conservative majority, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion measures into law on Thursday, criminalizing the procedure after the first detectable fetal heartbeat — which can be as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy.

The big picture: The "fetal heartbeat" measure, approved by the GOP-controlled legislature on Wednesday, prohibits abortion at a point when many women aren't even aware they are pregnant. The passage comes as a growing number of Republican-led state legislatures are unleashing a fierce assault on abortion rights by adopting similar bans.

Go deeper: Meet Planned Parenthood's new president, Dr. Leana Wen

A Planned Parenthood clinic.
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Dr. Leana Wen, 35, a former emergency room doctor and Baltimore City commissioner of health, was named Planned Parenthood's next president on Wednesday, The New York Times reports.

The big picture: Wen's appointment is set against the debate over whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who critics fear would chip away protections under the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. Organization officials expect Wen to "be a powerful advocate for protecting women's freedom," per the NYT. She is the sixth president of Planned Parenthood and the second doctor to lead the organization.