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.
For almost 50 years—from January 22, 1973 until June 24, 2022—abortion was a federally-protected practice in the United States. When the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion was not thereby outlawed—that would require a constitutional amendment—but jurisdiction was returned to the states. Prior to the passage of Roe, most abortions were illegal in most states. In the late 1960’s, California and Colorado became the first states to legalize abortion in limited circumstances—such as rape, incest, or severe handicap. In 1970, New York, Alaska, Washington, and Hawaii became the only states to offer an "unrestricted" abortion policy similar to the one eventually established in Roe. Now that the Supreme Court has conceded that there never was a constitutional right to abortion, the practice has again been banned in a number of states. The information below provides an overview of current state-by-state abortion restrictions.
Parental Involvement Laws
Parental notification laws require that at least one parent be notified before a minor daughter can have an abortion. Parental consent laws require at least one parent to give permission for an abortion to take place. Currently, twenty-one states and the District of Columbia allow minors to get an abortion without a parent’s consent.1 Fourteen of those states, plus DC, allow minors to get an abortion without a parent’s knowledge.2 Nationally, less than 3% of abortions are performed on minors.3
Mandated Counseling Requirements4
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia don’t require a woman to be offered any counseling prior to having an abortion or to be informed of its potential risks. Eighteen states, plus DC, don’t require her to be told the age of the baby. Seventeen states and DC don’t require mothers to be given a description of the abortion procedure.
Mandated Waiting Periods
Before an abortion can legally occur, formal consent must be given—by the mother herself or by a parent (if she is a minor in a state that requires parental consent). Most states mandate that once consent is given, a specific waiting period must elapse before the abortion takes place5—typically 24 hours. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia do not require a mother to wait at all before obtaining an abortion. Among states where abortion is still legal, only four require that consent be given in person. (Arizona, Florida, Iowa, and Ohio)6—necessitating two trips to the abortion clinic. All four of these states have abortion percentages below the national average.
Sixteen states allow public Medicaid funds to pay for abortions. The remaining states only do so when federally mandated.7 This would be when the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy resulted from rape. Twelve states do not allow private insurance plans to cover abortion, unless the mother’s life is in danger. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia allow family planning funds to be paid out to abortion providers.8
State-by-State Abortion Restrictions:
|State||Abortion is Banned||Parental Consent Required||Counseling Required||Mandatory Waiting Period||Does Not Publicly Fund Abortion|
This page was last updated on January 06, 2023. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."
- The Guttmacher Institute. “An Overview of Consent to Reproductive Health Services by Young People,” (January 1, 2023) https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-minors-consent-law.
- Among reporting states and districts, 606,753 abortions occurred in 2020; only 13,346 were performed on girls aged 17 or younger: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6713a1.htm#F2_down (Tables 3 & 5)
- The Guttmacher Institute. “Counseling and Waiting Periods for Abortion,” (January 1, 2023) https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/counseling-and-waiting-periods-abortion.
- The Guttmacher Institute. “State Family Planning Funding Restrictions,” (January 1, 2023) https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/state-family-planning-funding-restrictions.
- The Guttmacher Institute. “State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid,” (January 1, 2023) https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/state-funding-abortion-under-medicaid.
- U.S. Abortion Law: An overview of federal abortion rulings in the United States.