Analysis

Where does your state stand on abortion after Roe?

states

With Roe v. Wade officially overturned, abortion is no longer considered a constitutional right. Since Roe’s enactment in 1973, abortion’s legality was mandated through all 50 states; Roe’s fall now allows each individual state to once again determine its own laws regarding abortion. But what does that mean for your state?

States listed below are subject to change as pro-abortion groups sue and judges choose to block various protections put in place.

States protecting all

Thirteen (13) states had “trigger laws” on the books making abortion illegal once Roe was overturned. While the timing of the implementation of these laws vary from state to state, many abortion facilities have already ceased operations. Other states did not have trigger laws, but have passed laws protecting preborn children.

Some of these trigger laws have already been put on hold by the courts.

  • Alabama: There was no trigger law in effect for Alabama. However, a 2019 law signed by Governor Kay Ivey bans all abortions with the exception of a lethal birth defect or if the mother’s life is in danger. Abortionists who violate the law face being charged with a Class A felony, and being given a $100 to $1,000 fine, as well as up to 12 months in prison.
  • Arkansas: The Arkansas Human Life Protection Act was passed in 2019, and included a provision activating the law when Roe was overturned. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified the Supreme Court decision on June 24th, making the law official. Committing, or attempting to commit, an abortion is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
  • Idaho: Idaho’s trigger law was written to take effect 30 days after Roe is overturned. Abortionists who commit an abortion could face felony charges, two to five years in prison, and a six month revocation of their medical license for the first offense. After the first offense, the abortionist will have their license to practice revoked permanently.
  • Kentucky: Attorney General Daniel Cameron affirmed that the state’s trigger law had gone into effect, with abortionists facing a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison for committing, or attempting to commit, an abortion. The state Supreme Court, however, quickly stepped in and blocked the law from taking effect.
  • Louisiana: The trigger law in Louisiana took effect immediately after the fall of Roe, with possible jail time of one to 10 years, along with $10,000 to $100,000 in fines. However, the law was temporarily blocked by a district judge following a lawsuit from one of the state’s abortion facilities, but another judge recently overturned that decision and allowed the ban to take effect.
  • Mississippi: Attorney General Lynn Fitch was required to certify the Supreme Court decision within 10 days for the trigger law to take effect; Fitch did so on Monday, two days after the decision was announced. The law takes effect 10 days after the certification. Abortionist who commit, or attempt to commit, an abortion will be charged with a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
  • Missouri: Governor Mike Parsons and Attorney General Eric Schmitt took action Friday as soon as it was announced that Roe had been overturned. Under the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, Schmitt needed to issue an opinion to activate the law, which he did, followed by a proclamation being issued by Parsons announcing the law had taken effect. Abortionists who violate the law face a class B felony, resulting in five to 15 years in prison, as well as a suspended or revoked medical license.
  • North Dakota: The 2007 trigger law bans abortion after the state attorney general certifies that Roe has been overturned. Attorney General Drew Wrigley did so Tuesday, with committing an abortion punishable with a class C felony, five years in prison, and a $10,000 fine. The ban takes effect on July 28.
  • Oklahoma: The trigger law in Oklahoma went into effect nearly immediately, when Attorney General John O’Connor certified the Supreme Court decision. Committing an abortion is now a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • South Dakota: South Dakota’s trigger law took effect immediately upon Roe’s reversal, with no additional action needing to be taken. It makes committing an abortion a Class 6 felony.
  • Tennessee: The trigger law takes effect 30 days after Roe’s overturn, though some want it to take effect sooner. The Tennessee Human Life Protection Act was passed in 2019, making committing an abortion a Class C felony. An injunction on the state’s six-week abortion ban was lifted Tuesday, in advance of the trigger law taking effect.
  • Texas: The Texas Heartbeat Act, which allowed people to sue those who commit abortions, had been in place for 10 months when Roe fell. But the state also has a trigger law in effect, in which abortionists face life in prison or a $100,000 fine for violating the law, which takes effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues a judgment on the decision.
  • Utah: Utah’s abortion ban became enforceable Friday evening, after the general counsel certified the Supreme Court decision. Committing an abortion would be a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine; however, Planned Parenthood sued, and a judge temporarily halted the law, allowing abortions to continue for the moment.
  • Wisconsin: Though not specifically a trigger law, a law from 1849 bans abortions within the state of Wisconsin, though Gov. Tony Evers has been attempting to have it repealed. Under that law, which is now in effect with Roe having fallen, abortionists face a felony charge, and up to six years in prison. Abortion facilities have already stopped committing abortions.
  • Wyoming: A trigger law in Wyoming was passed in March. It takes effect five days after Governor Mark Gordon certifies that Roe has fallen, which he did on Friday.

Each of these states has exceptions if abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, such as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. (Read more here about why such lifesaving procedures are not legally considered abortions.)

Abortion remains legal, but with specific gestational limits

  • Arizona: There is much confusion surrounding the state of abortion in Arizona. A 158-year-old law banned abortion, with a mandatory prison sentence of up to five years for abortionists, but it is inactive. However, a newer law was passed earlier this year protecting preborn children after 15 weeks, and the governor said the 15-week protection takes precedence. The state could still ask a court to allow them to enforce the total ban, but for now, the 15-week ban will take effect on September 29 at the latest. Additionally, abortions based on race or sex are banned, and women must receive counseling and an ultrasound before undergoing the abortion. Parental consent is also required.
  • Georgia: Abortion is banned after a heartbeat can be detected, which is typically six weeks gestation. The ban had been blocked by a judge, pending a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Now that the ruling has come down, Attorney General Chris Carr asked for the injunction on the six-week ban to be lifted, which a federal court granted. Counseling is required before an abortion, and parents must be notified before a minor undergoes a procedure.
  • Indiana: There is a 22-week restriction in Indiana, though lawmakers have indicated they plan to hold a special session putting stricter laws in place over the summer. There is an 18-hour waiting period in place, counseling and ultrasound requirements, and parents must give their consent for a minor to have an abortion. A judge also recently lifted the injunction against a law banning D&E, or dismemberment, abortions.
  • Iowa: Like Indiana, Iowa protects preborn children after 22 weeks. The state has also implemented counseling and ultrasound requirements, and parents must be notified if a minor undergoes an abortion.
  • Kansas: Abortion has been enshrined as a right in the state constitution, though voters will decide on an amendment affecting that issue later this summer. In the meantime, preborn children are protected after 22 weeks, with parental consent, ultrasound, and counseling requirements.
  • Massachusetts: Preborn children are protected after 24 weeks gestation, and parents must consent to a minor undergoing an abortion.
  • Nebraska: Abortion is legal through 20 weeks of pregnancy, though Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he plans to request a special session to enact stricter laws. Dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions are banned, and women are required to undergo counseling before getting an abortion. Parental consent is required for minors.
  • Nevada: In Nevada, abortion cannot be committed after 24 weeks, and a voter-affirmed law protects this. The law can only be changed through a voter referendum.
  • New Hampshire: New Hampshire had a ban on abortion from before Roe, but it was repealed in 1997, and is now legal through 24 weeks. Parents must be notified if a minor has an abortion, and women must undergo an ultrasound prior to the procedure.
  • North Carolina: Originally, abortion was banned before Roe, but in 1973, it was changed to allow abortion through 20 weeks. However, a federal judge struck down the ban in 2019, saying it violated Roe v. Wade. The state is looking to have the ban reinstated; for now, abortion is banned after viability. Additionally, there is a 72-hour waiting period, as well as ultrasound and parental consent requirements. Sex-selective abortions are also banned.
  • Ohio: At first, Ohio had a 20-week abortion law. However, the state had also previously passed a law protecting preborn children after six weeks, which was able to take effect after Roe was overturned. The law was previously enjoined, but Attorney General Dave Yost successfully fought for the injunction to be lifted. Abortion facilities in Ohio are required to perform an ultrasound before the abortion, and parental consent laws are in place for minors. Eugenic and discriminatory abortions are banned.
  • Pennsylvania: Abortion is permitted through 24 weeks of pregnancy, and there are requirements for counseling and parental consent. Sex-selective abortions are banned.
  • South Carolina: A federal court ruled South Carolina’s protecting preborn children after six weeks can take effect. The law was passed in 2021, but an injunction was placed against it; that has now been lifted. Parental consent is also required.
  • Virginia: Abortion is banned in the third trimester, and parents must consent for a minor to undergo an abortion. Governor Glenn Youngkin is pushing for legislation protecting preborn children after 15 weeks, however.
  • West Virginia: Another state without a trigger law, abortion was banned here in a more unusual way. Voters approved an amendment to the state constitution denying a right to abortion, and a previous law from before Roe was not repealed while abortion was federally legal, making it go into effect now. The state has not made it clear whether or not they intend to enforce the law, but the only abortion facility in West Virginia is not committing abortions. The law has since been blocked by a circuit court judge. In the meantime, the state bans abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization, and requires a 24-hour waiting period before undergoing the procedure. Dismemberment, or D&E abortions, are also banned.

There are exceptions in each state for life of the mother/serious medical emergency.

Abortion is legal through viability

The “viability” framework was enacted in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which was struck down along with Roe by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs decision. The notion of banning abortion after viability, considered to be the point when the child can survive outside of the womb, is not a standard based in science; it was created as a purely political decision. Medical advances have allowed premature babies as young as 21 weeks to survive, meaning “viability” is an essentially meaningless term, an inconsistent, unconstitutional moving target.

Abortionist Colleen McNicholas testified under oath that viability is subject to the abortionist’s determination, saying, “So, viability is a complicated medical construct. There is no particular gestational age. There are some pregnancies in which a fetus will never be viable. There are a number of different factors that we think about when we’re considering if a pregnancy is or isn’t viable.”

Carolyn McDonnell, staff counsel for Americans United for Life, explained what viability laws mean post-Roe. “Dobbs notably did not change the states’ existing laws. However, by overturning Roe, it has permitted states to enforce pro-life laws that were previously unenforceable,” she told Live Action News. “In Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act, there technically is a viability limit, but the law provides a broad exception for the “life or health’ of the mother. In other words, the exception is so broad that it essentially permits abortion throughout pregnancy. California and New York have similar laws to Illinois’ law. They permit abortion through fetal viability but have broad ‘life or health’ exceptions that also essentially permit abortion throughout pregnancy.”

  • California: California continues to make itself into an abortion haven; currently state law permits abortion to “viability.”
  • Connecticut: Abortion is restricted after “viability.”
  • Delaware: Abortion is only permitted through” viability,” and the parent of a minor under 16 must be notified if the minor undergoes an abortion.
  • Florida: Currently, abortion is legal through “viability,” though a law protecting preborn children at 15 weeks was slated to take effect on July 1. Planned Parenthood of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union all sued, and a judge blocked the 15-week law. On July 6, after an appeal by the state, the law went into effect until the case is decided. Ultrasounds and counseling are required before an abortion, and parental consent for minors is also required.
  • Hawaii: The only restriction on abortion is a ban on the procedure after “viability.”
  • Illinois: The state constitution recognizes abortion as a fundamental right, and a state law also protects it. Technically, the law states abortion is only legal through “viability” but a “health” of the mother exception essentially allows for unrestricted abortion.
  • Maine: The only restriction in Maine is that abortions cannot be committed after “viability,” which is not defined in terms of gestation, and is broad and subjective.
  • Maryland: Parents must be notified if a minor undergoes an abortion, and abortions cannot be committed after “viability.”
  • Michigan: There is a 1931 abortion ban on the books in Michigan, but the state is currently not enforcing it. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has even filed a lawsuit to prevent it from taking effect. Otherwise, the state bans after after “viability,” and there are requirements for counseling and parental consent.
  • Minnesota: Abortion is banned after viability, and there are requirements for counseling and parental consent. The state constitution also recognizes the so-called “right” to an abortion.
  • Montana: The only restriction on abortion in Montana is that abortions cannot be committed after viability. However, the state has put a preemptive hold on abortion pill distribution to any out-of-state clients.
  • New York: Though New York has taken many measures to protect abortion, it is only legal through viability.
  • Rhode Island: State law protects abortion in Rhode Island, where it is legal through viability. Parental consent for minors is also required.
  • Washington: Abortion is legal through “viability.”

Again, each state provides exceptions to these restrictions, but some are so vague that abortion is essentially legal up to birth for reasons of the mother’s “health,” which may even include financial health.

Abortion is legal with no restrictions

  • Alaska: There is no gestational limit on abortion in Alaska. The only requirement is for a woman to undergo counseling before the procedure.
  • Colorado: There is only one restriction on abortion: that parents must be notified when a minor undergoes an abortion.
  • District of Columbia: There are no restrictions on abortion.
  • New Jersey: There are no restrictions on abortion.
  • New Mexico: There are no restrictions on abortion.
  • Oregon: There are no restrictions on abortion.
  • Vermont: There are no restrictions on abortion.

This article was compiled using data from the Guttmacher Institute, as well as information from Politico and the New York Times.

Editor’s Note: This post will be updated as necessary.

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