What are Abortion Laws in the United States? Share Introduction Abortion in the United States was made legal by action of the Supreme Court, although there are some distinctions that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
An overview of the history and legality of abortion in the United States. Abortion Law An overview of the history and legality of abortion in the United States. The single decision of seven, non-elected justices has defined federal abortion policy in the United States.
It was a decision explicitly defended on the basis of ignorance, under the claim that "no one knows when life begins. The history of abortion in the United States is far more complicated than most people imagine.
It has been an issue of varying contention for more than years. Nevertheless, abortion has never enjoyed such universal protection under the law as it has since As it stands today, American women have the legal right to obtain an abortion in all 50 states, through all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason at all.
This has been true since the Supreme Court declared that autonomous abortion rights are built into the Constitution, and that legal barriers to abortion are unconstitutional.
The opportunity to make such a sweeping declaration came via two cases which both presented constitutional challenges to state criminal abortion laws. One case came from Texas and the other from Georgia. The Texas case, Roe v. Since her life was not threatened by her pregnancy, she had no legal basis for aborting in Texas prohibitive abortion laws had existed in Texas with very little change sincebut had always included an exception to save the life of the mother.
The Georgia case, Doe v. Boltoninvolved a married woman who was also denied an abortion for not meeting the necessary state requirements Georgia law allowed for abortion if the life or health of the mother was threatened, if the baby was seriously deformed, or if the pregnancy was a result of rape.
A three-judge District Court ruled that Roe did have basis to sue, and declared Texas abortion law void for being "vague" and "overbroad. It ruled that there were some unnecessary bureaucratic burdens that might hinder someone from receiving a due abortion, but they still held that the State had a right to restrict abortion according to the princliples already in place.
Both decisions were appealed, both decisions ended up before the Supreme Court, and both verdicts were handed down on the same day: Roe ruled that though states did have an interest in protecting fetal life, such interest was not "compelling" until the fetus was viable placing viability at the start of the third trimester.
Third trimester abortions were declared to be legal only if the pregnancy threatened the life or health of the mother. The Doe verdict, however, defined "health of the mother" in such broad terms, that any prohibitions to 3rd trimester abortions were essentially eliminated.
Inabortion again made its way to the Supreme Court, in Planned Parenthood v. Danforthwhere all state laws requiring spousal or parental consent were thrown out. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologistsa case that was splitstruck down all manner of abortion restrictions including the requirement to inform women about abortion alternativesthe requirement to educate women about prenatal developmentthe requirement to inform women of the potential risks of abortionthe requirement to keep records of abortionand the requirement that 3rd trimester abortions be performed in such a way as to spare the life of the viable child.
Inhowever, in Webster v. Reproductive Health ServicesRoe was dealt a serious blow.
The court, in a opinion, let stand a Missouri statute stating that human life begins at conception, and declared that the state does have a "compelling" interest in fetal life throughout pregnancy. As such, federal abortion laws remained largely unchanged, but the rationale for such laws began to crumble.
Many states took this opportunity to put more restrictive state measures in place. Intwo cases Hodgson v.
Minnesota and Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health ruled that states requiring parental consent before a minor could have an abortion must allow for a judicial bypass.
InPlanned Parenthood v. Casey reached the Supreme Court. The right to legal abortion was upheld in the Casey decision, but a hour waiting period was put in place, as well as an informed consent requirement, a parental consent provision, and a record keeping mandate.
States were also given more discretion as to when viability begins. Casey was decidedbut the opinion of the Court was essentially divided into three factions.
Justices Rehnquist, White, Scalia and Thomas dissented altogether, believing Roe had no Constitutional basis to begin with and thereby felt no obligation to uphold it.While there is very little relationship between abortion legality and abortion incidence, there is a strong correlation between abortion legality and abortion safety.
Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the United States during the s and s range from , to million per year. Four legal abortion methods—medication, 3 aspiration, dilation and evacuation (D&E), and induction—are used in the United States. Today, aspiration is the most common abortion method used in the United States, accounting for almost 68 percent of abortions performed overall in Abortion in the United States is legal, via the landmark case of Roe v.
Wade. Specifically, abortion is legal in all U.S. states, and every state has at least one abortion clinic. The state's legislature subsequently passed five laws curtailing the legality of abortion in The majority of a legislative "task force".
The Guttmacher Institute is a primary source for research and policy analysis on abortion in the United States. In many cases, Guttmacher’s data are more comprehensive than . In the United States, abortion was widely practiced before about , by which time most states had banned it except to save the life of the woman.
Anti-abortion legislation was part of a backlash against the growing movements for suffrage and birth control — an effort to control women and confine them to a traditional childbearing role.
Most states allow the purchase of additional abortion coverage at an additional cost. Refusal: 45 states allow individual health care providers to refuse to participate in an abortion.
42 states allow institutions to refuse to perform abortions, 16 of which limit refusal to private or religious institutions.