Thursday, January 17, 2019

A comprehensive suite of 16 legal datasets were published today on capturing 15 different types of abortion regulations, relevant court cases and attorney general opinions that directly impact the provision of abortion services in the United States.

The 13 new and three updated datasets on explore the state of the law in effect as of December 1, 2018:

  • Abortion Advertising Restrictions
  • Abortion Bans
  • Abortion Provider Qualifications
  • Abortion Reporting Requirements
  • Abortion Requirements for Minors
  • Abortion Waiting Period Requirements
  • Medication Abortion Requirements
  • Protecting Access to Abortion Clinics
  • Refusal to Perform Abortions
  • Restrictions on Insurance Coverage of Abortion
  • Restrictions on Public Funding of Abortion
  • Statutory and Constitutional Right to Abortion
  • Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) Laws: Abortion Facility Licensing Requirements (updated)
  • Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) Laws: Ambulatory Surgical Center Requirements (updated)
  • Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) Laws: Hospitalization Requirements (updated)
  • Abortion Laws (This dataset provides a general overview of each abortion regulation listed above, allowing for a snapshot of the regulatory landscape across all topics within every state)

“This collaboration has produced the most comprehensive suite of legal data available on laws regulating abortion in the United States,” said Lindsay Cloud, JD, director of the Policy Surveillance Program at the Center for Public Health Law Research. “Understanding the cumulative impact of abortion laws on health is more important than ever, as abortion procedures, facilities, and providers face ever-increasing regulation throughout the United States”

Key findings from the data include:

  • Eighteen states prohibit abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization (or 22 weeks since the last menstrual period).
  • There are 12 states that prohibit abortion based on the woman’s reason for seeking an abortion. These include race, sex, Down syndrome, and fetal anomalies.
  • In 46 states, providers may refuse to provide abortion services to patients.
  • Laws in 31 states require a waiting period prior to obtaining an abortion.
  • In 15 states, patients are required to receive an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion.

The maps, and the datasets that power them, were created through a collaboration, called the Abortion Law Project, between the Policy Surveillance Program at the Center for Public Health Law Research, Guttmacher Institute, Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“This database will help users better understand the extent of regulations, thereby helping advocates, litigators and lawmakers to devise strategies to counter restrictions, and enabling providers to assist their patients in navigating legal hurdles,” said Elizabeth Nash, Senior State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute. “In addition, this resource will be of great value in informing research projects on abortion access and availability.”

“Accurate and comprehensive information about regulations impacting access to abortion is critical to abortion providers, advocates, and policymakers,” said Janet Crepps, Director of Regulatory Assistance for Abortion Providers at RAD. “Providing ready public access to this information in one place is an exciting new resource for everyone concerned about access to reproductive health care.”


Bethany Saxon