Abortion Laws

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 Abortion Laws

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, states are now free to outlaw abortion. Some states have outright prohibited abortion or put many limitations on it. However, many states still permit abortions, and traveling to another state to obtain one is lawful. Abortion is NOT illegal anywhere.

Laws pertaining to abortion are rapidly evolving. We’re here to explain these new regulations to you and explain how they might influence your ability to obtain a safe, legal abortion.

State-by-State Abortion Laws Following Roe

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, state governments now control abortion laws and reproductive rights. In the days and weeks following the Court’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, half of the U.S. states are anticipated to outlaw the procedure.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, laws regulating the process are now prohibited in at least 13 states. Georgia also forbids abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy, which is before many women are aware that they are expecting.

Advocates have sought to stop the implementation of laws that restrict the practice in several states, where the battle over abortion access is still being fought in the courts.

The Legality of Abortion

It is anticipated that almost half of the states would pass abortion restrictions or other gestational thresholds. While judges decide whether current or new restrictions can go into force, abortion is still permitted in some of these states for the time being. While abortion is legal in the remaining states, access may still be limited, or restrictions may still apply.

Understanding Pre-Roe Bans on Abortion

When Roe rendered abortion bans unenforceable in 1973, most states overturned their existing abortion laws. The pre-Roe abortion laws, however, were never lifted in several states and territories. These states might attempt to reinstate these bans now that the Supreme Court has overruled Roe.

Types of Bans on Abortions

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers(TRAP)
Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) regulations target doctors who offer abortion care specifically and apply a number of regulatory requirements that are distinct from and more demanding than those placed on doctors who do not offer abortions.

TRAP laws can be divided into a number of categories, such as those governing the places where abortions are performed as well as facility regulations, provider certifications, and reporting restrictions. Compliance is frequently expensive and may call for facility upgrades.

Parental Participation
Parental participation laws require clinics or providers to tell parents or legal guardians of minors seeking abortions before the procedure (parental notification) or to record the approval of parents or legal guardians to the minor’s abortion (parental consent).

Laws Requiring Consent
Some laws mandate counseling or ultrasounds before women who are pregnant obtain abortion treatment and, in certain cases, mandate a waiting period between the counseling or ultrasound and the abortion care.

Hyde Amendment
The Hyde Amendment, sometimes known as the Hyde Budget Rider, was successfully introduced in 1976 by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), and it forbids federal funding for abortion. Since its introduction, the Hyde Amendment has been extended by Congress each year.

Access to Abortion

Public Assistance
For abortion care required by life endangerment, rape, or incest, states must provide public funding through the state Medicaid program. Additionally, states may designate state-only financing to provide Medicaid beneficiaries with all or the majority of the medically necessary abortion services.

Required Private Insurance
States have the authority to mandate particular benefits, such as coverage for abortion, in private health insurance plans subject to state regulation.

Clinic Accessibility and Safety
Laws forbid things like physically obstructing clinics, threatening healthcare professionals or patients, trespassing, and harassing the clinic over the phone. Laws designate a safe area around the clinic.

Abortion Provider Requirements

State governments and licensing bodies set restrictions on the range of practice for healthcare professionals. State laws typically do not specify the precise medical treatments that fall within or beyond a practitioner’s scope of practice. However, many states have viewed abortion differently by only allowing doctors to perform abortions.

By repealing physician-only laws or explicitly allowing physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and other qualified medical professionals to provide abortion care through legislation, regulations, or attorney general opinions, other states have taken proactive steps to broaden the types of clinicians who may lawfully provide abortion care.

Interstate Shield

Interstate shield laws shield abortion providers and helpers in states where abortion is protected and accessible from civil and criminal consequences arising from abortion care provided to an out-of-state resident. States hostile to abortion have made it clear that they want to ban abortion outright inside and outside their borders.

Apart from Abortion, What Else did Roe v. Wade Protect?

Since Roe, the Supreme Court has consistently emphasized that the Constitution safeguards abortion as a fundamental liberty connected to other liberty rights to make independent choices about one’s family, relationships, and bodily autonomy. It is crucial to understand all of the rights that Roe v. Wade upheld until it was just repealed.

The Supreme Court granted states complete freedom to impose restrictions on abortion or outright ban it by rejecting Roe v. Wade, a case that had safeguarded the federal Constitutional right to abortion for nearly 50 years. Nearly half of the states are likely to pass new laws that are as restrictive as feasible or work to uphold the status quo of unconstitutional abortion restrictions.

When Does a Fetus Become “Viable” for Purposes of Abortion Laws?

According to the United States Supreme Court, a fetus is viable when it can survive outside of the mother’s womb on its own without the use of technology that maintains life. The courts accepted the fact that a fetus typically becomes “viable” in the third trimester or at 28 weeks of pregnancy. Due to the 28-week definition, there is now a “compelling state interest” in preserving both the mother’s health and safety and the unborn child’s potential life. The state’s compelling interest in protecting the lives of the child and the health of women was found to trump the women’s right to privacy.

Some states don’t have a clear timeline for when the fetus becomes viable and instead let doctors determine through tests and procedures whether the fetus is viable.

States may impose restrictions on abortions to safeguard the mother’s health and safety as well as the unborn fetus’ life, provided that these restrictions do not pose an onerous hardship or a significant barrier to the mother’s right to privacy.

The following is a list of abortion laws that are not deemed to be significant impediments or an excessive burden:

  • State laws may stipulate that women undergo counseling prior to having an abortion. The purpose of the counseling is only to provide knowledge about the risks involved, the fetus’s capacity for pain, the effects on mental health, and other accessible options.
  • Nearly half of the states have a minimum 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. Between the initial consultation and the actual abortion, there is a waiting time. This is done in case the women have any lingering uncertainties.
  • A woman must get an abortion performed by a licensed doctor in practically every state. Many states demand that the abortion be carried out in a real hospital.
  • If a minor is undergoing an abortion, several states mandate that the woman must first acquire parental notification and agreement, or at the very least a court-approved judicial bypass, before the procedure can be carried out.
  • States are not required to pay for or provide funding for abortions. Many states will accept payments for abortions from private insurance.

Do I Need Legal Counsel for an Abortion?

Although a lawyer is not necessary to seek an abortion, there are family lawyers who represent people whose right to an abortion has been refused.

Contact a civil rights attorney to defend your constitutional rights if you feel that the state has restricted your ability to get an abortion and wish to contest the legality of the state’s action.

Save Time and Money - Speak With a Lawyer Right Away

  • Buy one 30-minute consultation call or subscribe for unlimited calls
  • Subscription includes access to unlimited consultation calls at a reduced price
  • Receive quick expert feedback or review your DIY legal documents
  • Have peace of mind without a long wait or industry standard retainer
  • Get the right guidance - Schedule a call with a lawyer today!

16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer