Last week Arkansas made headlines for banning abortions after 12 weeks, the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. North Dakota may soon snatch away that title: It's legislature has just passed a bill that would ban all abortions after six weeks.
The bill, which now goes to Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, would also be the first in the country to outlaw abortions based on a fetal defect.
Taken together, the Arkansas and North Dakota brand seem to represent a shift in power within the antiabortion movement. Scholars who study social movements, like Ziad Munson at Lehigh University, tend to divide the group into two factions.
There are those who see Roe as the law of the land, and try to work within the confines of the Supreme Court decision. They would prefer that zero abortions occur, but recognize that the current legal landscape is unlikely to yield such a result. So they focus on passing restrictions that would be legal under that Supreme Court decision, such as parental notification laws or waiting periods.
The other faction tends to be more aggressive; they don't accept the Roe v. Wade decision as law and don't use it as a framework for passing legislation. They tend to be more ideological and less pragmatic, thinking about the best ways to restrict abortion regardless of whether they'll be upheld by the Supreme Court.
These include bills to declare life as beginning at conception or, in the cases of Arkansas and North Dakota, abortion bans that clearly conflict with Roe's protection of elective, first trimester pregnancies.
The more aggressive wing of the antiabortion movement up until now, has had difficulty gaining traction with it's "all-or-nothing" approach. A slew of proposed bills to declare life as beginning at conception all failed, most notably in deep red Mississippi.
In 2013, however, they appear to be taking hold. Arkansas and North Dakota have passed abortion restrictions that skew more toward the ideas of those who want to eschew Roe altogether, even if those laws are likely to get struck down in court.
These laws are way more restrictive than those that used to pass, even just a year ago. They suggest that the more aggressive wing of the antiabortion movement might be gaining new traction like never before.