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On Friday, the US Supreme Court , the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. While the decision in doesn’t criminalize abortion, it eliminates the federal right to an abortion and leaves the decision about its legality to each US state.”It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.
A leaked in May has spurred action by state legislators over the past month. Some states passed laws to protect reproductive rights, while others passed even tighter restrictions on abortion. In 13 states, “” banning nearly all abortions go into effect immediately or within the next month. Other states have abortion bans that have previously been ruled unconstitutional and are now expected to take effect after court challenges.
In a , President Joe Biden described the decision as “a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.” Biden followed by saying, “the only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose and the balance that existed is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law.”
Read on for the status of abortion in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the wake of the court’s pivotal new decision.
Understanding state abortion laws
To understand the abortion laws in each state, it helps to understand frequently used terms and legal provisions as defined by the Supreme Court.
“Fetal viability” is the ability of a fetus to live outside of the uterus. The Supreme Court and the consider a fetus to be viable starting at between , though there’s no hard line. A fetus at any stage that can’t live independently is considered “non-viable.”
Most states restrict or ban abortion after fetal viability with some exceptions for “fatal fetal anomalies.”
Almost all state laws banning abortion make exceptions for “life-threatening pregnancies” or medical emergencies. Several with more restrictive abortion laws require that two physicians must diagnose the pregnancy as life-threatening. Few state abortion bans include exceptions for rape or incest.
“Weeks of pregnancy” and “gestational age” are both generally defined as the time since the . Some states ban abortions after a certain number of weeks “,” meaning the time period after a and created a zygote.
The defines the start of pregnancy not at fertilization but when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, which occurs about a . It’s very difficult to determine the exact time of fertilization, per the , which is why most medical providers use the last menstrual period to determine gestational age.
According to , 79% of abortions in the US in 2019 occurred before nine weeks and 93% before 13 weeks. Some state laws outlaw abortion at six to seven weeks, before many women are aware they’re pregnant.
In addition, while the abortion debate is often framed as a woman’s right to choose, and many abortion laws refer to exceptions when “the life of the mother” is at risk, access to abortion doesn’t only concern women: It impacts anyone whose body is capable of getting pregnant, which includes trans men, intersex people and individuals.
What are trigger laws and which states have them?
The 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade established an absolute right to an abortion during the first trimester, or first three months of pregnancy. It also determined abortions could be regulated but not banned before fetal viability, when a fetus can survive outside the womb.Since then, state legislatures have passed many laws restricting abortion access, some of which have been struck down by the courts.
Abortion-related “trigger laws” avoid lawsuits by delaying their effective dates until after a theoretical Supreme Court ruling returns jurisdiction of abortion to the states. With the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization doing just that, these laws will now go into effect, though many will likely face almost immediate legal challenges.Read more:
Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming all have trigger laws that will automatically ban abortion in the first and second trimesters.
South Dakota‘s 2005 banning abortion except to save the life of the mother was written to take effect “on the date that the states are recognized by the United States Supreme Court to have the authority to regulate or prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy.”
Louisiana‘s , passed in 2006, bans all abortions except to prevent “substantial risk of death or permanent impairment under certain circumstances.”
Mississippi‘s law , except in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.
North Dakota‘s trigger law makes punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.In 2009, Missouri passed that bans abortions after six or seven weeks.
Arkansas‘ law also , punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $100,000.
Kentucky lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Bashear’s veto and passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, even in cases of rape or incest. That law, which also requires the cremation or burial of fetal remains, by a US District Court, in May.
Utah’s , passed in 2020, prohibits abortion at any stage of pregnancy, except in the case of rape, incest, serious medical complications or if the fetus has a fatal defect or a “severe brain abnormality.”
Tennessee‘s trigger law except in the case of life-threatening pregnancies. It’s set to go into effect 30 days after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Idaho (), Oklahoma () and Wyoming () all passed similar trigger laws in 2022 that ban abortion in almost all cases. Texas’ trigger law () prohibits all abortions, making the procedure a first-class felony if it results in the death of a fetus. It will take effect 30 days after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
At least two other states have attempted trigger bans: In January, Nebraska Republicans proposed a , but it was in a 31-15 vote.
The Ohio legislature’s trigger ban, , is still in committee, with no scheduled vote. It goes further than the Texas ban, banning all abortions regardless of pregnancy timeline, medical emergency or if the pregnancy was the product of rape or incest. It also allows citizens to sue anyone helping someone receive an abortion.
What other states restrict abortion access?
In addition to those states with trigger laws, other states have abortion restrictions or bans that are now enforceable. Most abortion laws address providers, not individuals seeking abortions.
- Alabama‘s bans all abortions, regardless of reason or timing.
- Arizona‘s bans abortion after 15 weeks.
- Florida‘s , scheduled to take effect on July 1, also bans abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions to prevent serious harm or death of the mother. It doesn’t have exceptions for cases of incest, rape or human trafficking. It’s been which argues that the law violates Jewish teachings on reproductive rights.
- Georgia‘s bans abortions once cardiac activity has been detected in an embryo, generally at about six or seven weeks. There are exceptions for victims of rape or incest who’ve filed a police report, and when a pregnancy has been deemed “medically futile” by a physician.
- South Carolina‘s also ban abortions after six or seven weeks, with exceptions for rape or incest.
Three other states have pre-Roe laws banning abortion that are now enforceable again.
- Wisconsin still has an on the books that makes abortion a felony with a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It isn’t clear if a statute unenforced for more than 120 years is still valid, though. State Attorney General Josh Kaul has said he wouldn’t enforce the “draconian” law.
- West Virginia has a statute that’s a holdover from an that makes providing any abortions a felony, though recent state law may supersede it.
- Michigan has a that criminalizes abortion.
Abortion laws by state
With Dobbs overturning Roe v. Wade, access to abortion now varies greatly from state to state. Below are the regulations in all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. New laws and legal challenges are expected, so check with for the most up-to-date information.
Passed in 2019, Alabama’s bans almost all abortions, except in cases of life-threatening pregnancies. The law had been put on hold due to legal challenges but will likely go into effect with Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Until the law’s current injunction is overruled, abortions are prohibited after 22 weeks of gestation. The state also requires counseling, ultrasound, a 48-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors.
Abortions are fully legal in Alaska, though state-directed counseling is required, as is parental consent for minors. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that abortion is protected by the state constitution.Alaskans will whether to hold a constitutional convention as a path toward banning abortion in the state.
With Roe v. Wade struck down, , except for medical emergencies. The law requires state-directed counseling, ultrasound, a 24-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors.Previously, Arizona allowed abortions until fetal viability, approximately 24 to 28 weeks.
A 2019 law, , outlaws abortions entirely except in cases of life-threatening pregnancies.Before Roe was overturned, abortion was legal in the state up to 22 weeks, with mandatory counseling, ultrasound, a 72-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors.
Abortion in California is legal until the point of fetal viability.
In 2002, the California Legislature that prevents the state from denying or interfering with a woman’s right to obtain an abortion up to that point, or when an abortion “is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.”
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to make California an abortion sanctuary state, establishing it as a haven for people who need access to abortion, whether they live in California or not.
He’s also proposed to further protect abortion access.
Colorado allows abortion until fetal viability, though parents of minors must be notified.In 2020, voters rejected a ban on abortions after 22 weeks. In April 2022, Colorado lawmakers passed , codifying protections for reproductive care, including abortion, and ensuring that fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses don’t have the rights of personhood under Colorado law.
Connecticut allows abortions only up to the point of fetal viability unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health. Patients under 16 can obtain an abortion after receiving counseling from a nurse or clinician.
In May 2022, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed first-in-the-nation making Connecticut an abortion sanctuary state. Starting July 1, medical providers in other states that have outlawed abortion, as are patients who travel to the state for abortion services and anyone who helps them.
Delaware law allows abortions until the point of fetal viability.In June 2022, lawmakers introduced, , which would protect Delawareans who obtain, provide or assist others with getting legal abortions from facing civil suits in other states. It would also allow physician assistants and certified nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives to perform abortions.
The right to an abortion was codified into law in 2020 with the passage of , which also prohibits employment discrimination against health care professionals who perform or are willing to perform abortions.
In April 2022, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law . It’s set to take effect July 1 and is not likely to be challenged after the decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.
With Roe now overturned, a banning most abortions in the state after six or seven weeks is now likely to take effect. Exceptions include cases of rape or incest (up to 20 weeks) or life-threatening pregnancies. The state requires counseling, parental consent for minors, ultrasound and a 24-hour waiting period.Previously, abortion was legal in Georgia up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
In 1970, Hawaii became the first state to fully legalize abortion up to the point of fetal viability. In 2006, the state to ensure full access to abortion services no matter what happened on the federal level. It also removed a requirement that individuals seeking an abortion be a resident for at least 90 days and allowed the procedure to be performed outside of hospitals in clinics and doctors’ offices.
In March 2022, Idaho lawmakers banning all abortions after six weeks. The state Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction, but with Roe v. Wade overturned, it goes into effect immediately.
Previously, Idaho allowed abortions up to 22 weeks, with exceptions for life-threatening situations.
Abortion is legal in Illinois up until the point of fetal viability, and that isn’t expected to change.In 2019, the state removed regulations for abortion providers with .
Indiana technically allows abortions up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, but lawmakers have added strict limitations, including bans on abortion medication after 10 weeks and requirements for state-directed counseling and ultrasound at least 18 hours before an abortion.The regulations ensure that most abortions happen in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, NPR .
Iowa allows abortions up to 20 weeks after fertilization and requires an ultrasound and parental notification for minors.In 2019, the state passed , but it was struck down by the Iowa Supreme Court. The status of that law won’t change even though Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land.
Kansas bans abortions after 22 weeks and requires patients to undergo ultrasounds and state-directed counseling.
Republican lawmakers banned in 2019, but the law was struck down by the state Supreme Court.
In August 2022, Kansans are slated to vote on an denying state constitutional protections and government funds for abortion.
In 2019, Kentucky became one of the first states to pass a trigger law now that Roe v. Wade has been struck down.
Previously, Kentucky allowed abortions up to 22 weeks, requiring parental consent for minors, ultrasound, state-directed counseling and a 24-hour waiting period.In November 2022, voters will decide on a referendum declaring nothing that in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion.
In 2006, Louisiana passed except in the case of life endangerment. Before Roe was overturned, Louisiana prohibited abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy and required ultrasounds and waiting periods.
In 2020, Louisiana to remove any language that might imply the right to an abortion.
Maine allows abortions up to fetal viability, and beyond that in cases of life endangerment.In 2019, Maine and passed legislation allowing people other than doctors to perform the procedure. In April 2022, the state passed a law at abortion clinics.
Abortion is legal in Maryland up until the point of fetal viability, though in the case of a minor, parents must be notified.
In 1992, Maryland voters passed , intended to protect abortion in Maryland in case the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Massachusetts allows abortion until fetal viability. In 2018 the state passed .
In late 2020, the state also passed legislation called the , which expanded access to abortion and made it explicitly legal in the case of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Abortions in Michigan are legal until fetal viability, though state-directed counseling and a 24-hour waiting period are required.
With Roe v. Wade overturned, will likely take effect, making all abortions illegal. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has sued to block the law, saying that the due process and equal protection clauses of the state constitution make it invalid.
Minnesota’s abortion restrictions are similar to Michigan’s: Parents of minors must give consent, and patients are required to undergo state-directed counseling and a 24-hour waiting period regardless of age. However, Minnesotans’ right to abortion is protected by , and Gov. Tim Walz has declared that “no abortion ban will ever become law” during his term.
Mississippi has some of the strictest limits on abortion in the US. Its of 2018 is the subject of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court case that’s led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Though the 2018 law restricts abortions to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
Following the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs, Missouri invoked a trigger law banning all abortions in the state, except if the life of the pregnant woman is at stake, with no exceptions for rape or incest.The law makes inducing an abortion a class B felony, with a possible prison sentence of five to 15 years. Abortion providers can also have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.
Previously, abortions were banned after 20 weeks’ gestational age and required state-directed counseling, ultrasound and a 72-hour waiting period.
Abortion in Montana is protected by a 1999 state Supreme Court decision that isn’t affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, state Attorney General Austin Knudsen has asked the Montana Supreme Court to overturn the 1999 decision.
Several state abortion restrictions that were passed in 2021 are being challenged in court by Planned Parenthood. Pending legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks’ gestational age and block providing abortion medication through the mail.
Abortions in Nebraska are legal up to 22 weeks. The state requires mandated counseling and a 24-hour waiting period, as well as parental consent for minors and a ban on telemedicine for abortion medication.
In February, the state failed to pass a that would’ve banned all abortions when Roe v. Wade was overturned. Nebraska legislators have indicated they may call a special session to try again to pass the bill.
Nevada allows legal abortions up until 24 weeks. In 1990, were passed by referendum and can’t be changed by the legislature without a repeal from state voters. Only physicians can perform abortions, and parental consent is required for minors.
New Hampshire has no specific laws protecting abortion. A 2022 state law made abortions after 24 weeks illegal and added several requirements, like ultrasound and parental consent for minors.In May 2022, Gov. Chris Sununu allowing abortions after 24 weeks in the case of fatal fetal anomalies.
Abortion remains legal in New Jersey. , passed in January 2022, protects the right to abortion and removed several restrictions from the law, including the requirement that only physicians provide abortions.In 2000, the state Supreme Court struck down a law requiring parental consent for minors.
In 1969, New Mexico passed a law criminalizing abortion, but the in February 2021. The repeal also removed requirements for parental consent for minors.There’s no law protecting abortion in New Mexico, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade doesn’t immediately impact abortion access in the state.
New York state legalized abortion in 1970, three years before the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, and a 2019 law lifted several restrictions, including a requirement that only physicians could provide abortions.A 2019 law, , removed abortion from the New York state criminal code and allowed abortion after 24 weeks in the case of a life-threatening pregnancy or a nonviable fetus.
Before Dobbs, abortion was legal in North Carolina until fetal viability, considered approximately 22 weeks. But a law banning abortions after 20 weeks is now in effect. The state also mandates several restrictions, including parental consent for minors, ultrasound, mandatory state-directed counseling and a 72-hour waiting period.
The North Carolina General Assembly has passed several other restrictions, but they’ve all been vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
North Dakota’s trigger law, , outlaws abortions six weeks after a woman’s last menstrual cycle. The state also has several restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period, parental consent for minors and no telemedicine for abortion medication.
Abortions are legal in Ohio up to 20 weeks after fertilization, though they require mandatory counseling, a 24-hour waiting period and an ultrasound.
A would outlaw all abortions in the state except in the case of a life-threatening pregnancy. A would allow private citizens to sue anyone performing abortions and to receive a minimum of $10,000 if they win their case.
A now-enforceable trigger law signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 25, 2022, .Stitt has also signed separate bills that ban abortion after fertilization and that make it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine for doctors to perform the procedure.
Like Texas’ standing ban, Oklahoma’s new law attempts to avoid constitutional challenges by relying on enforcement via civil lawsuits by private citizens.
Oregon has enacted laws in the past decade to expand access to abortion: In 2017, the state allowed nonphysician health professionals to provide abortion care and passed a that requires private insurers to cover the costs of abortion.In 2018, voters also rejected a ballot measure to restrict use of state money for abortion.
Pennsylvania allows abortions up to 24 weeks after the last menstrual period. In 1982, the state legislature including state-directed counseling, ultrasound, a 24-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors.
Abortion has been legal in Puerto Rico since 1937. Before Roe v. Wade, some Americans living in states where they couldn’t legally get an abortion would travel to the US territory to obtain one.In 2019, Puerto Rico passed some of its first restrictions, including the requirement of parental consent for minors.
Proposed in April 2022 and now under debate, would restrict abortions to 22 weeks after fertilization.
Abortions are legal and minimally restricted in Rhode Island. Parental consent is required for minors and only physicians are allowed to perform the procedure.In 2019, state lawmakers a law criminalizing abortions after 12 weeks and replaced it with a measure that added statutory protections but didn’t guarantee the right to abortion in the state constitution.
South Carolina’s 2019 law was suspended pending the ruling in Dobbs. It’ll now go into effect.
Under Roe, abortion was strictly limited in South Carolina, with mandatory state-based counseling, a 24-hour waiting period and a ban on abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization.
A bans abortions except in the case of life-threatening pregnancies.
Under Roe, South Dakota banned abortions after 22 weeks, requiring counseling and mandating a 72-hour waiting period. A law signed in March 2022 further restricted abortion medication.
A now effectively bans all abortions in Tennessee.Previouly, Tennessee had severe restrictions on abortion, including mandated counseling, a 48-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors. Voters amended the state constitution in 2014 to remove abortion protections granted by a state Supreme Court ruling in 2000.
Texas has some of the most severe restrictions on abortion in the country: In May 2021, lawmakers passed , which prohibits abortion after six weeks but leaves enforcement to private individuals in the form of civil lawsuits.
In December, the US Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against the legislation.
A Texas judge ruled that , but the judge didn’t enjoin the law, which remains in effect while the case is appealed.
Texas also passed , with possible life sentences and fines of up to $100,000. The measure is set to go into effect 30 days after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
With Roe v. Wade overturned, a will likely take effect, making performing an abortion a second-degree felony in Utah, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
There are exceptions in the case of rape, incest or a life-threatening pregnancy. Abortion is also permissible in the case of a fatal defect or “severe brain abnormality” in the fetus, not including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or other conditions that don’t result in a vegetative state.
Women seeking abortions performed before the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization had to agree to state-based counseling, a 72-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors.
Vermont has no major restrictions on abortion. An abortion ban was ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in 1972 and repealed by the legislature in 2014.
In 2019, Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed , a sweeping reproductive rights law that established the right to abortion without government interference.
Abortion is generally legal in Virginia up until 25 weeks of gestation. repealed several restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period and a requirement that only physicians provide abortions.
In 2021, the state removed a prohibition on state exchange insurance covering abortion.
In 1971, Washington state repealed criminal penalties for terminating a pregnancy, and abortions are legal up to the point of fetal viability, somewhere between 23 and 24 weeks.
In 2018, the right to abortion was that also requires insurers that provide maternity care to cover abortions.In March 2022, the state that shields both patients and providers from out-of-state prosecution, in response to laws in Texas and elsewhere .
West Virginia bans abortions after 22 weeks except in cases of . It also requires a 24-hour waiting period, counseling and parental notification for minors. In 2018, West Virginia voters agreed to amend the state constitution to specifically declare that it doesn’t include any right to abortion.
A law signed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice in March 2021 prevents women from getting an abortion because they believe .A makes it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by three to 10 years in prison. It’s unclear, though, if the statute is still enforceable.
Until now abortion in Wisconsin has been legal up to the 22nd week, though state regulations require counseling, parental consent for minors, a 24-hour waiting period and mandatory ultrasound. They also prohibit telemedicine for abortion medication.
A law makes abortion a felony, but it’s not clear if the 173-year-old ban will now go into effect. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to repeal that law, but it isn’t expected to do so. In anticipation of the US Supreme Court ruling, Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin stopped scheduling abortions after June 25.
In March, Wyoming passed , a trigger law that outlaws all abortions except in the case of life-threatening pregnancies.
Correction, June 24: An earlier version of this article misidentified the Texas trigger law. It’s House Bill 1280.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.