By Erin Corbett
Updated: May 17, 2019 12:07 PM ET

Conservative lawmakers have been pushing extreme anti-abortion legislation this year.

On Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion bill in the country, banning the procedure in almost all cases. The only exception to the law would be if the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the pregnant person.

The law includes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, as some pointed out what they say is the bill’s particular cruelty; and doctors who perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison.

Reproductive rights advocates and abortion providers say the country has seen a wave of new laws targeting abortion access, which have been gaining steam especially in the months since Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. They say these are a grassroots effort to target Roe v. Wade.

But the number of bills introduced this year in such a short time has contributed both to widespread fear, as well as a spread of misinformation about the availability of abortion care.

As conservatives continue a full-frontal attack on abortion rights nationwide, many are wondering:

Is abortion still legal?

In short, yes. Abortion remains legal in all 50 states.

Clinics in states where anti-abortion bills are being introduced have reported a surge of calls from constituents wondering whether they can and should still come in for their appointments, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Yashica Robinson, an OB-GYN at one of three remaining clinics in Alabama told Vox that residents began calling the clinic this week to ask whether it was still open and providing abortion care.

Oriaku Njoku, the co-founder of the Georgia-based Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, an abortion fund that serves residents in Southern states including Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, among others, told Fortune last month that the many bills being introduced have “already created a level of fear.”

In Georgia, where ARC-Southeast is based, Njoku said her abortion fund received a number of calls after the six-week abortion ban was introduced. People called to express concern they wouldn’t have enough time to make a decision, or thought the procedure was banned in Georgia and wanted help trying to get an abortion in another state.

Njoku said that sexual and reproductive health advocates would have to educate community members “so people know their rights.”

Even before Alabama signed its anti-abortion bill into law this week, proposals to ban abortions as early as six weeks—also called “heartbeat bills”—have gained steam this year and were enacted in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

As the nation was still reeling from the state’s near-total abortion ban, a six-week ban continued to make its way through the Louisiana state legislature, and the Missouri Senate passed a bill banning abortion at eight weeks on Thursday morning.

These so-called heartbeat bills are not currently in effect, either because they’ve been blocked by courts or are facing legal challenges. Alabama’s new anti-abortion law will face a legal challenge, as well, brought forward by the ACLU of Alabama, the National ACLU, and Planned Parenthood.

But you can still currently, legally get an abortion in all of these states.

Even so, people have long struggled to obtain the care they need, even when the procedure is legal. Many reproductive rights advocates have pointed out that low-income residents, black people, and people of color in these states have been and will continue to be disproportionately affected by the many restrictions to abortion access that have long been in place.

Reproductive rights advocates are fighting conservative efforts, pushing legislation of their own, building their movements, and challenging attacks on abortion rights in the courts.

Abortion funds have received a swell of donations since the restrictive laws were signed in Georgia and Alabama, a sign of hope for some, that as conservatives chip away at reproductive rights, people will continue to help others receive the care they need.

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—Should Title VII civil rights protections include the LGBTQ community?

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