Abortion Laws by State in the United States

Disclaimer: Throughout this article, we will be using the term “female” to describe persons with biological female sex organs who can become pregnant. We understand that not every pregnant individual is female-identifying, but for the sake of simplicity and consistency, these are the terms we will be using. If you would like to learn more about gender identity, visit our Sexual Orientation Gender Identity article.

Although our team has worked to compile a list of the most current and accurate information available, please note that some information may be incomplete or become outdated in the future. With that in mind, we hope this list is helpful and provides insight into the varying laws surrounding the right to legal abortion.

Roe v. Wade was and continues to be the Supreme Court’s most important decision affecting abortion laws in the United States. This case paved the way for females to access safe abortion care and sparked the ongoing debate surrounding the future of abortion laws in America. Although abortion is legal in the US, the degree to its restriction varies by state. The following information is a summary of the individual state abortion laws in the United States.

 

Alabama

Alabama requires patients to undergo mandatory counseling and a 48 hour waiting period before receiving the abortion procedure. The counseling often consists of materials that are designed to discourage the patient from going through with the process. The female must have an ultrasound before becoming eligible for the abortion, and the abortion provider is required to offer the patient the option of looking at the ultrasound before proceeding. Alabama also bans legal abortion after 20 weeks, and exceptions to this law are only made if the female’s life is in danger or her physical health is being severely compromised. A parent or guardian’s consent is required for females under the age of 18. Health plans and public funds for abortion in Alabama may only cover abortions in cases of danger to the female’s life, rape, or incest. Alabama also bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Alaska

Alaska requires patients to receive counseling materials that can contain information designed to discourage them from going through with the process. For females under the age of 17 looking to have an abortion, a parent or guardian’s consent is required. Females who qualify for state medical assistance may receive public funds for the procedure in the case that their health is in danger.

 

Arizona

Arizona requires patients to undergo mandatory counseling in person, parts of which are efforts designed to discourage them from going through with the abortion process. After the counseling, patients must wait 24 hours to undergo the procedure. Arizona also mandates an ultrasound 24 hours prior to the procedure and patients must be offered the option to look at the ultrasound image provided. For females under the age of 18 looking to undergo this procedure, the abortion provider will require consent from at least one parent or guardian. Most health plans in Arizona will only cover abortions in cases of danger to the patient’s life, rape, or incest. Arizona also has a “born alive” provision, which requires doctors to see “all available means and medical skills are used” to save a fetus in the case that an abortion results in a live birth, even if the fetus has no chance of surviving outside of the womb. Arizona bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication. Arizona requires females looking to have an abortion to state if they are seeking an abortion because of sexual assault, trafficking, or domestic violence. This information is then reported to the state anonymously.

 

Arkansas

Arkansas requires patients to undergo mandatory counseling, some of which is designed to discourage the female from going through with the procedure. Afterward, there is a necessary 48 hour waiting period before undergoing the procedure.  In the case that the patient is under 18, the abortion provider will require a parent or guardian’s consent. Abortions in Arkansas are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases where the female’s life is in danger or her physical health is severely compromised. Most health plans and public funds will only cover abortions in the case of imminent danger, rape, or incest. Arkansas bans the common second-trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation, also referred to as a surgical abortion, and also the use of telemedicine which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

California

Females who qualify for state medical assistance in California may obtain public funds to cover the cost of an abortion. All private health insurance plans in California are required to provide abortion coverage. Unlike some other states, California places no restrictions on the medical justification for an abortion. For females under the age of 18 looking to have an abortion, the abortion provider will require written consent from a parent or guardian.

 

Colorado

Public funds are only available for abortion in Colorado in cases of danger to the female’s life, rape, or incest. In most cases, a female under the age of 18 looking to have an abortion will need to provide consent from two parents or guardians, with some exceptions, for the procedure.

 

Connecticut

Females who qualify for state medical assistance may obtain public funds for an abortion. In Connecticut, abortions do not require medical justifications for the procedure.

 

Delaware

Public funds are available for females looking to have an abortion in the case that the female’s life is in danger, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. For females under the age of 16, a parent or guardian must be notified at least 48 hours prior to the procedure. Providers may be at liberty to waive this requirement in certain circumstances.

 

District of Columbia

Public funds are available for abortion in cases of danger to the female’s life, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Florida

In Florida, abortion procedures are banned after 24 weeks, except in cases where the female’s life is at risk or if her health is severely compromised. Females are required to have an ultrasound prior to the procedure and must be offered the option of looking at the ultrasound image. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be notified about the procedure about 24 hours before it takes place. Providers may be able to waive this requirement in certain circumstances, but not in cases of rape or incest. Health plans and public funds can only cover abortions in cases of danger to the female’s life, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Georgia

In Georgia, abortion procedures are banned after 20 weeks, except in the case of a pregnancy that is not viable or is a danger to the female’s life or health. Females must undergo counseling, some of which is designed to discourage the female from going through with the process. Afterward, they must wait a mandated 24 hours before receiving the procedure. If the female is under the age of 18, at least one parent or guardian must be notified of the procedure. Health plans and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

 

Hawaii

Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for an abortion. Unlike other states, there are no medical justifications required to undergo an abortion.

 

Idaho

In Idaho, females looking to have an abortion are required to receive counseling which may contain material designed to discourage them from going through with the process. After the counseling, they must wait 24 hours before being eligible for the procedure. The abortion provider is required to report how many times a patient has terminated a pregnancy, and in the case that the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must consent to the abortion. Health plans and public funding only covers abortions in cases of danger to the female’s life, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Illinois

In Illinois, health plans for females may cover abortions in the case that the female’s life or health is in serious risk. Females on Medicaid are unlikely to receive coverage, even when the procedure is considered medically necessary. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, the abortion provider must notify a parent or guardian about the procedure.

 

Indiana

Abortion procedures in Indiana are banned after 20 weeks unless the female’s life is in danger. Before the procedure, the female must undergo counseling, some of which is designed to discourage the female from going through with the process. After being counseled, the female must wait 18 hours to become eligible for the abortion. Indiana also requires females to have an ultrasound before the abortion, and the abortion provider must offer them the option of looking at the ultrasound image. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required to proceed with the abortion. Health plans and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of Indiana bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Iowa

In Iowa, abortion procedures are banned after six weeks, except in cases where the female’s life or health may be compromised. If the female is under the age of 18, at least one parent or guardian must be notified of the procedure, and public funds are only available in cases where the female’s life is in danger, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. Use of Medicaid funds for an abortion in Iowa must be approved by the government.

 

Kansas

Kansas requires patients to undergo mandatory counseling and a 24 hour waiting period before receiving the abortion procedure. The counseling often consists of materials that are designed to discourage the patient from going through with the process. The female must have an ultrasound before becoming eligible for the abortion, and the abortion provider is required to offer the option of looking at the ultrasound image before proceeding. Kansas bans legal abortion after 20 weeks, after which exceptions are only made if the female’s life is in danger or her physical health is being severely compromised. A parent or guardian’s consent for the procedure is required for females under the age of 18. Health plans and public funds for abortion in Kansas may only cover abortions in cases of danger to the female’s life, rape, or incest. Kansas also bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Kentucky

Kentucky requires patients to undergo mandatory counseling and a 24 hour waiting period before receiving the abortion procedure. The counseling often consists of materials that are designed to discourage the patient from going through with the process. The female must have an ultrasound before becoming eligible for the abortion, and the abortion provider is required to offer the option of looking at the ultrasound image before proceeding. Kentucky also bans legal abortion after 20 weeks, after which exceptions are only made if the female’s life is in danger or her physical health is being severely compromised. If a female is under 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the procedure. Health plans and public funds for abortion in Kentucky may only cover abortions in cases of danger to the female’s life, rape, or incest.

 

Louisiana

In Louisiana, abortion procedures are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases where the pregnancy is not viable, or the female’s life or health is compromised. Louisiana requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage patients from proceeding with the procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Before the procedure, females must have an ultrasound and be offered the option of looking at the ultrasound image. In Louisiana, it is illegal to have the dilation and evacuation procedure, also referred to as a surgical abortion, which is a common second-trimester procedure. Most health plans will not cover abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. In the case that Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is possible that abortion will become illegal in the state of Louisiana.

 

Maine

An abortion in Maine is considered legal before viability of the fetus. A nonviable pregnancy is a pregnancy without a chance of a live infant being born or if the fetus has no chance of survival outside of the womb. Abortion procedures after that time are against the law except in cases in which the female’s life and health are at risk. For females under the age of 18, the abortion provider may require written consent from both the patient and guardian. Public funds are available in cases of danger to the female’s life or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Maryland

Unlike some other states, females need no medical justification to have an abortion. Females under the age of 18 looking to have an abortion must notify at least one guardian about the procedure. Females who qualify for state medical assistance may obtain public funds for their procedure.

 

Massachusetts

Abortions in Massachusetts are banned after 24 weeks, except in cases where the female’s life or health is at serious risk. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, at least one parent or guardian must provide consent for the procedure.

 

Michigan

In Michigan, females must receive mandatory counseling to become eligible to have an abortion, some of which contains material designed to discourage them from following through with the procedure. After the counseling, they must wait 24 hours before having the abortion. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required. Michigan allows abortions to be performed at or after viability only in cases where the female’s health is at risk. Most health plans and public funding only cover abortion costs in cases of severe health risks or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of Michigan bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Minnesota

In Minnesota, females must receive counseling materials before the abortion procedure, some of which is designed to discourage them from following through with the abortion. Afterward, they will be required to undergo a 24 hour waiting period before having the procedure. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be notified of the procedure.

 

Mississippi

In Mississippi, abortion procedures are banned after 15 weeks, except in cases of severe fetal impairment, or the female’s life or health is compromised. Mississippi requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage females from proceeding with the procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Before the procedure, females must have an ultrasound and be offered the option of looking at the ultrasound image. Most health plans will not cover abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female or severe fetal impairment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. Mississippi bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication. In the case that Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is possible that abortion will become illegal in the state of Mississippi.

 

Missouri

In Missouri, females are required to receive counseling in person, which is largely designed to discourage them from following through with the abortion. Afterward, they are required to wait 72 hours before becoming eligible for the procedure. Abortions may be performed at or after viability only in cases where the female’s life or health is at serious risk. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required. Most health plans and public funding to cover the abortion is usually only available in cases of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of Missouri bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Montana

In Montana, abortions are legal before the fetus is considered viable. A nonviable pregnancy is a pregnancy without a chance of a live infant being born or if the fetus has no chance of survival outside of the womb. After that, an abortion may only be performed at or after viability in cases where the female’s life or health is at serious risk.

 

Nebraska

In Nebraska, females must receive mandatory counseling to become eligible to have an abortion, some of which contains material designed to discourage them from following through with the procedure. After the counseling, they must wait 24 hours before having the abortion. In the case that the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required. Nebraska bans abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions only in cases where the female’s health is at risk. Most health plans and public funding only cover abortion costs in cases of severe health risks, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of Nebraska bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Nevada

In Nevada, abortion procedures are banned after 24 weeks, except in cases where the female’s life or health is at serious risk. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Public funding for the procedure is only available in cases of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, if the female looking to have the abortion is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be notified of the procedure. Public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

New Jersey

Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for an abortion. Unlike other states, New Jersey does not require medical justifications to have an abortion.

 

New Mexico

Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for an abortion. Unlike some other states, New Mexico does not require medical justifications to have an abortion.

 

New York

In New York, abortion procedures are banned after 24 weeks, except in cases of serious risk to the female’s life or health.

 

North Carolina

In North Carolina, females looking to have an abortion must undergo a mandatory counseling session, which is partly designed to discourage them from proceeding with the abortion. Afterward, they must wait 72 hours before they are eligible for the procedure.  Abortions are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases where the female’s life or health is severely compromised. The state requires females to have an ultrasound before having the abortion procedure and must be offered the option of looking at the ultrasound image. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is necessary for the abortion. Most health plans and public funding only cover abortion costs in cases of severe health risks, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of North Carolina bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

North Dakota

In North Dakota, abortion procedures are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases in which the female’s life or health is severely compromised. North Dakota requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage females from proceeding with the abortion. Afterward, they must wait 24 hours to become eligible for the abortion procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Most health plans will not cover abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female or severe fetal impairment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. North Dakota requires that all abortion medication be administered following FDA protocol, and also bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication. In the case that Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is possible that abortion will become illegal in the state of North Dakota.

 

Ohio

In Ohio, abortion procedures are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases in which the female’s life or health is severely compromised. Ohio requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage them from proceeding with the procedure. Afterward, they must wait 24 hours to become eligible for the abortion procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. The state of Ohio requires that females have an ultrasound prior to the procedure and that the abortion provider test for a fetal heartbeat. The female must also be offered the option of looking at the image of the ultrasound. Most health plans will not cover abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female or severe fetal impairment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. Ohio requires that all abortion medication be administered following FDA protocol, and also bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma requires females to receive a mandatory counseling session, some of which is designed to discourage them from going through with the abortion process. Afterward, they must wait 72 hours to become eligible for the procedure. Abortions are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases where the female’s life or health is severely compromised. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must consent to the procedure. Most health plans and public funding only cover abortion costs in cases of severe health risks, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of Oklahoma bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Oregon

Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for an abortion. Unlike some other states, Oregon does not require medical justifications to have an abortion procedure.

 

Pennsylvania

Females looking to have an abortion in Pennsylvania must undergo a counseling session, which is partly designed to discourage them from going through with the process. Afterward, they must wait for 24 before becoming eligible for the procedure. Pennsylvania bans abortions after 24 weeks, except in cases of danger to the female’s life or health. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Most health plans and public funding are only available in instances of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, abortion procedures are banned after 24 weeks, except in cases of life endangerment or severe health risks to the female. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must consent to the procedure. Health insurance plans and public funds are usually only available in cases of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

South Carolina

South Carolina requires females to receive a mandatory counseling session, some of which is designed to discourage them from going through with the abortion process. Afterward, they must wait 24 hours to become eligible for the procedure. Abortions are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases where the pregnancy is considered “medically futile”, or the pregnancy poses danger to the female’s life or health. If the female is under the age of 17, a parent or guardian must consent to the procedure. However, abortion providers may be able to waive this requirement, however, in special circumstances. Most health plans and public funding only cover abortion costs in cases of severe health risks, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. The state of South Carolina bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

South Dakota

In South Dakota, abortion procedures are banned after 24 weeks, except in cases of severe risk to the female’s life or health. South Dakota requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to  discourage them from proceeding with the procedure. After counseling, they must wait 72 hours before becoming eligible for the procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Most health plans will not cover abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female. South Dakota bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication. In the case that Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is possible that abortion will become illegal in the state of South Dakota.

 

Tennessee

Abortion procedures are banned after fetus viability, except in cases of severe risk to the female’s life or health. Tennessee requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage them from proceeding with the procedure. After counseling, they must wait 48 hours before becoming eligible for the procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Health insurance plans are unlikely to cover abortion procedures, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. Tennessee bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Texas

In Texas, abortion procedures are banned after 20 weeks, except in cases in which the female’s life or health is severely compromised. Texas requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage them from proceeding with the procedure. Afterwards, they must wait 24 hours to become eligible for the abortion procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. The state of Texas requires that females have an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to the procedure, and that the abortion provider offers the female the option of looking at the image of the ultrasound. Most health plans will not cover abortion, and public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female or severe fetal impairment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. Texas requires that all abortion medication be administered following FDA protocol, and also bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.  In Texas, it is illegal to have the dilation and evacuation procedure, also referred to as a surgical abortion, which is a common second trimester procedure.

 

Utah

Utah requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage females from proceeding with the procedure. Afterwards, they must wait 72 hours to become eligible for the abortion procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian’s consent is required for the abortion. Abortions may only be performed at or after viability in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly, or if the female’s health or life is in danger. Health plans and public funding are only available in cases of life endangerment, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Vermont

Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for an abortion. Unlike some other states, Vermont does not require medical justifications to have an abortion.

 

Virginia

Virginia requires females to receive counseling, some of which contains materials designed to discourage them from proceeding with the procedure. Afterwards, they must wait 24 hours to become eligible for the abortion procedure. For females under the age of 18, a parent or guardian's consent is required for the abortion. Virginia has a “third trimester ban,” which bans abortion procedures after the third trimester, except in cases where the female’s life or health is at severe risk. Females are required to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before the abortion procedure, and the abortion provider must offer them the option of looking at the ultrasound image.  Health plans and public funding are only available in cases of life endangerment, fetal anomaly, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

Washington

Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for an abortion. Unlike some other states, Washington requires no medical justification to have an abortion procedure.

 

West Virginia

West Virginia requires females to receive counseling, which is largely designed to discourage them from going through with the abortion procedure. Afterwards, they must wait 24 hours before they are eligible to have the abortion. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be notified of the procedure, but an abortion provider may be able to waive this requirement in special circumstances. West Virginia bans abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases where the pregnancy is not viable, or if it poses danger to the female’s life or health. Females who qualify for state medical assistance can obtain public funds for abortions in cases of medical necessity, danger to the female’s life, rape, or incest. West Virginia bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Wisconsin

Wisconsin requires females to receive counseling, which is largely designed to discourage them from going through with the abortion procedure. Afterwards, they must wait 24 hours before they are eligible to have the abortion. If the female is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must consent to the procedure. Wisconsin bans abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases where the pregnancy poses danger to the female’s life or health. Wisconsin also requires females to have an ultrasound before being able to undergo the procedure and be offered the option to look at the image.  Health plans and public funds cover abortions only in cases of severe danger to the female’s life, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest. Wisconsin bans the use of telemedicine, which can be used to provide clinical healthcare from a distance in order to obtain abortion medication.

 

Wyoming

In Wyoming, females under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian’s consent to have the abortion procedure. Public funding is only available in cases of life endangerment to the female, or if the female was a victim of rape or incest.

 

References

  1. "Abortion and Young People in the United States." Advocatesforyouth.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2019.

  2. "Abortion Regulations by State." Ballotpedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2019.

  3. "An Overview of Abortion Laws." Guttmacher Institute. N.p., 05 Feb. 2019. Web.

  4. Edwards, Ashley Alese, Andrea González-Ramírez, Natalie Gontcharova, Kate Guarino, and Addison Goff. "How Hard Is It To Get An Abortion In Your State? Here Are The Laws For All 50 States." Refinery29, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2019.?

Last Updated: 6 March 2019.

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