State Abortion Laws: A Survey

GENERAL ABORTION BANS

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have never repealed restrictive laws ruled unconstitutional by Roe v. Wade (AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, DE, DC, MA, MI, MS, NH, NM, OK, TX, VT, WV, WI). Two states (LA, UT) and the Territory of Guam enacted "test" laws prohibiting most abortions after the Supreme Court's 1989 decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. In 1992, the Court's ruling in PlannedParenthood v. Casey, held that a general abortion ban would fail Constitutional muster under the new "undue burden" test. In 1992 and 1993, respectively, the Court declined to review the cases striking down the laws of Guam and Louisiana. Utah did not appeal a lower court's decision finding its 1991 abortion ban unconstitutional.

POST-VIABILITY ABORTION BANS

Forty-one states have laws banning most post-viability abortions (AL, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY).

PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BANS

At least two states (MI, OH) have passed laws prohibiting partial-birth or "dilation and extraction" ("D&X") abortion procedures, but in Ohio a preliminary injunction has enjoined its enforcement. A third state (UT) has banned the procedure after viability.

LEGISLATIVE DECLARATIONS

Four states have laws declaring that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion is to be prohibited (IL, KY, LA, SD). In addition, five states have laws declaring their intent to ban abortion to the fullest extent permitted by the Constitution (AR, MO, NE, ND, PA), and four other states have declarations stating their policy to protect the unborn as persons under state law (LA, MO, MT, UT). Three states have resolutions in opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act, a proposed federal law that would codify Roe v. Wade (LA, ND, WV).

Four states have laws affirming a right to abortion before viability, and at any time thereafter if necessary to preserve her life or health of the mother (CT, ME, MD, WA). Another state (NV) has a law that provides a right to abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

NON-SURGICAL ABORTIONS

At least two states have laws restricting non-surgical or chemical abortion (RI, TN). A Rhode Island regulation prohibits chemical abortions to licensed hospitals with an approved research protocol, while a Tennessee law provides that no nurse practitioner or physician's assistant may prescribe or distribute drugs or medication intended to cause abortion.

VIABILITY TESTING

Four states have laws requiring physicians to perform tests to determine viability in certain circumstances (AL, LA, MO, OH). The Louisiana law has been ruled unconstitutional. A court has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the Ohio law.

SPOUSAL CONSENT OR NOTICE

Ten states have unenforceable laws requiring spousal consent or notice (CO, FL, IL, KY, LA, ND, PA, RI, SC, UT). The Supreme Court struck down Pennsylvania's mandatory husband notice law in Planned Parenthood v.Casey.

PARENTAL CONSENT OR NOTICE

Twenty-seven states have laws that prevent a minor from obtaining an abortion without parental consent or notice (AL, AR, DE, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, WV, WI, WY). Nine more states have parental consent or notice laws on the books that are not enforced (AK, AZ, CA, CO, IL, MT, NV, NM, SD). Of the 27 laws enforced, 24 contain a judicial by-pass provision (AL, AR, DE, GA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, WV, WI, WY). Two states provide a physician waiver of the notice requirement (MD, WV). Two states require counselors to discuss of the possibility of parental involvement (CT, ME).

INFORMED CONSENT AND WAITING PERIODS

Eighteen states have mandatory waiting periods (DE, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MS, MT, NE, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT). Eleven of these states currently enforce their waiting period laws (ID, KS, LA, MS, NE, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, UT). In three states, the laws have been ruled unconstitutional in whole or in part (MA, MI, TN). Courts in two other states (IN, MT) have issued preliminary injunctions prohibiting enforcement of their laws. Thirty states have an informed consent law for abortion (AL, AK, CA, CT, DE, FL, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, ND, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WI). Such laws were held unconstitutional under Thornburg v. American Col. of Ob. & Gyn., but are generally upheld since the court reversed itself in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

LICENSED PHYSICIAN REQUIREMENT

In 43 states the law provides that only a physician may perform an abortion (AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY). Oklahoma also has a law that provides that no woman may induce an abortion upon herself except under the supervision of a licensed physician. The Minnesota law provides that only a physician or a physician-in-training may perform an abortion. Kentucky has a law requiring that first trimester abortions be performed by a physician or by the woman herself with the advice of a physician, and that later abortions be performed only by a physician. A District of Columbia law requires that all abortions be performed under the supervision of a licensed physician.

CLINIC ACCESS

Some twelve states and the District of Columbia have laws specifically prohibiting clinic blockades and harassment (CA, CO, DC, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, NV, NC, OR, WA, WI). Four states have passed resolutions condemning clinic violence (CA, MI, NM, PA).

CONSCIENCE EXCEPTIONS

Forty-six states have laws that permit certain medical personnel, health facilities, to refuse to participate in abortion on the basis of conscience or religious conviction (AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY). In at least three of these states, the laws have been held unconstitutional as applied to public facilities (AK, MN, NJ).

COUNSELING REGULATIONS

Four states have so called "gag rules" that prevent state funded personnel from counseling abortion or giving abortion referrals (LA, MO, ND, PA). A court has ruled the North Dakota law unconstitutional.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

A single state (MO) has a law prohibiting public employees from participating in abortions.

PUBLIC FACILITIES

Five states have laws prohibiting the use of public facilities for abortion (KY, LA, MO, ND, PA).

PUBLIC FUNDING

Two states prohibit the use of state funds for abortion except when the woman's life is endangered (MS, SD). These states refuse to comply with a federal law requiring states to provide Medicaid funding for abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Twenty-nine states fund abortion in cases of threat to life, rape or incest (AL, AZ, AR, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MI, MO, NE, NV, NH, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, WY). Three states fund abortion in cases of a threat to the woman's life, rape, incest as well as certain other health reasons (NM, VA, WI). Sixteen states and the District of Columbia fund in all or most circumstances (AK, CA, CT, DC, HI, ID, IL, MD, MA, MN, MT, NJ, NY, OR, VT, WA, WV).

INSURANCE REGULATIONS

Five states have laws that prohibit insurance coverage for abortion unless a special premium is paid (ID, KY, MO, ND, RI). The Rhode Island law was ruled unconstitutional. Another state (PA) has a law that requires insurers to provide policy alternatives excluding abortion. Six states have laws that prohibit insurance coverage for abortion in certain circumstances when public funds are used or public employees are insured (CO, IL, MA, NE, PA, RI). The Rhode Island law has also been held to be partially unconstitutional. At least two states exclude abortion coverage from state health care programs (IL, MN).



Back to Abortion Laws