Legal Maps

Abortion Laws

This dataset provides a general overview of 12 regulatory areas related to abortion in the United States, and includes laws, case law, and attorney general opinions in effect as of December 1, 2018.

Statutory and Constitutional Right to Abortion

Although Roe v. Wade (1973) currently protects the right to an abortion at the federal level, some states have enacted additional legal protections for individuals seeking abortion. Some states have laws prohibiting any interference with a woman exercising her right to obtain an abortion prior to viability, or when necessary to protect the life and health of the woman. Additionally, there are state court opinions that interpret provisions of their state constitution to similarly protect the right to an abortion up to viability.

Restrictions on Public Funding of Abortion

One way states regulate abortion access is through a patchwork of restrictions on government funding of abortion services. These can include broad restrictions on any funds passing through state agencies, bans on the use of government facilities for abortion or participation by government employees in the providing abortion services, and restrictions on Medicaid funding of abortion, among others. Under current federal policy, states are required to use state Medicaid funds for abortion services in the limited circumstances of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

Abortion Waiting Period Requirements

State abortion waiting period laws require an individual seeking abortion to wait a specified time period after receiving mandatory counseling, usually between 24 to 72 hours, before they can obtain the procedure. The mandatory counseling that must occur prior to obtaining an abortion goes beyond the customary informed consent that is generally required for all medical procedures, and sometimes includes misleading information regarding abortion.

Abortion Reporting Requirements

Most states have laws that require abortion providers to submit one or more of the following types of reports: general reports regarding abortion procedures; reports related to abortion complications; informed consent reports; medical emergency reports; and reports regarding a minor’s abortion. Some of the information that may be required to appear in the reports includes: demographic information about the patient; the gestational age of the fetus; the abortion procedure used; the patient’s reason for abortion; the patient’s pregnancy history; and the method of payment.

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