Abort73.com > Facts About Abortion > U.S. Abortion Law > State Abortion Laws (U.S.)

State Abortion Laws (U.S.)

Prior to 1973, abortion was a states issue; most abortions, in most states were illegal.

Page Summary:

Though individual states have retained some narrow, legal outlets for regulating abortion, Roe vs. Wade forbids them from outlawing abortion during the first trimester and binds them to an extremely broad "health" exception during the second and third trimester.

Ever since Roe v. Wade, abortion has been a federal issue. Should Roe be overturned in the future, abortion would not thereby be outlawed. It would simply be returned to the jurisdiction of the states. Prior to Roe, most abortions were illegal in most states. California and Colorado (in 1967) were the first states to legalize abortion in selective circumstances (rape, incest, severe handicap or pregnancies that threatened the life of the mother). In 1970, New York, Alaska, Washington and Hawaii became the only states to offer an "unrestricted" abortion policy similar to the one established through Roe v. Wade. Ever since Roe, the judgment of which was handed down on January 22, 1973, states have been forbidden from outlawing abortion during the first trimester and are bound to offer mental and physical health exceptions during the second and third trimester. Nevertheless, Roe does grant states some narrow, legal outlets for regulating abortion.

Parental Notification and Parental Consent laws exist in many states as a means of limiting abortion among minors. Parental Notification laws require that a parent is notified before their minor daughter can receive an abortion, and Parental Consent laws require that the parent consent to their minor daughter's abortion. The Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) has an entire section of their website devoted to state abortion law. While their agenda is deplorable, the information is helpful. They report that currently (June 2010) 34 states actively require Parental Notification or Consent. Seven states (Alaska, California, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico) have Parental Notification laws that are not being enforced, and ten states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington + Washington D.C.) have no Parental Notification or Consent laws on the books.

Thirty states have bans against "partial-birth" abortion (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Of these bans, only 16 are actually in effect (Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia).

Seventeen states require that women receive counseling prior to their abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the link between abortion and breast cancer, the ability of a fetus to feel pain, the mental health consequences of abortion, or information on the availability of ultrasound (Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).

Twenty-four states mandate that women wait a specified amount of time (usually 24 hours) between receiving counseling and obtaining an abortion (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Only five states require abortion counseling to be done in person: Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah, and Wisconsin

Seventeen states use public funds to pay for abortions (Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montanna, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia). Thirty-three states prohibit using public funds to pay for abortions except in cases when federal funds are available (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).

For more information on individual, state abortion laws, visit the National Right to Life state affiliate websites:

Alabama Citizens for Life
Arizona Right to Life
Arkansas Right to Life
California Pro-Life Council
California Right to Life
Colorado Right to Life
Pro-Life Council of Connecticut
Delaware Citizens for Life
Florida Right to Life
Georgia Right to Life
Hawaii Right to Life
Right to Life of Idaho
Illinois Federation for Right to Life
Indiana Right to Life
Iowa Right to Life Committee
Kansans for Life
Kentucky Right to Life Association
Louisiana Right to Life Federation
Maine Right to Life
Maryland Right to Life
Massachusetts Citizens for Life
Right to Life of Michigan
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
Mississippi Right to Life
Missouri Right to Life

Right to Life of Montana
Nebraska Right to Life
Nevada Right to Life
New Hampshire Citizens for Life
New Jersey Right to Life
Right to Life Committee of New Mexico
New York State Right to Life
North Carolina Right to Life
North Dakota Right to Life
Ohio Right to Life
Oklahomans for Life
Oregon Right to Life
Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Rhode Island Right to Life
South Carolina Citizens for Life
South Dakota Right to Life
Tennessee Right to Life
Texas Right to Life
Right to Life of Utah
Vermont Right to Life Committee
Virginia Society for Human Life
Human Life of Washington
West Virginians for Life
Wisconsin Right to Life
Right to Life of Wyoming

This page was last updated on June 11, 2010. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."

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U.S. Abortion Law

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