Supreme Court

Where Is Abortion Legal? A State-by-State Guide to Current Laws

Since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last June, several states have implemented sweeping bans on abortion

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On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion, leaving the decision to determine the procedure's legality up to individual states.

The ruling by the high court's conservative majority sparked a slew of anti-abortion laws severely restricting the procedure across nearly half the country. At least 12 Republican-governed states implemented sweeping bans on abortion and several others are seeking to do the same.



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Another handful of states have enacted near-total bans or prohibitions after 6 weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

Meanwhile, opponents of abortion have been defeated by ballot measures in Kansas, Michigan and Kentucky, as voters casted their ballots in support of a woman's right to chose. Several state courts have also blocked some of the bans from taking effect.

Here's a breakdown of the status of abortion laws in each state:

States Where Abortion Is Banned in All, or Near-all Cases

Alabama: Abortions became almost entirely illegal in Alabama with the Court's overturning of Roe. A 2019 state abortion ban took effect on June 24, 2022 making it a felony to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. 

Arkansas: Hours after the high court’s ruling, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed certification that Roe had been overturned, allowing the state’s “trigger ban” law to take effect immediately. That law is an outright abortion ban that doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest, but does allow the procedure in cases to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

Idaho: A ban took effect Aug. 25, 2022 that criminalizes all abortions, except to save a pregnant person’s life or because of rape or incest. However, a part of Idaho's law that sought to prosecute physicians who provided abortions unless they can prove in court that the procedure was necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life, was prohibited from taking effect pending the out come of a Justice Department lawsuit. The DOJ sued the state over the measure, arguing it conflicts with a federal law requiring doctors to provide pregnant women with medically necessary treatment. Also currently in effect is another abortion law that bans the procedure once fetal cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks. It allows exceptions in cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies.

Louisiana: Louisiana's trigger law banning nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, took effect on Aug. 1, 2022, after a brief legal battle at the state level in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. There is no exception for rape or incest and physicians who perform an abortion can face jail time and fines. The only exceptions to the law are if the fetus won't survive birth or if the mother miscarries. Doctors are required to prove that the pregnancy has ended, but the law's vague language has many fearful of providing the procedure.

Mississippi: All abortions except for pregnancies that endanger the woman's life or those caused by rape reported to law enforcement are banned in Mississippi.

Missouri: A 2019 law banning abortions “except in cases of medical emergency” was triggered with the Supreme Court's decision. Under that Missouri law, performing an illegal abortion is a felony punishable by 5 to 15 years in prison, though women receiving abortions cannot be prosecuted.

Oklahoma: Abortion services were halted in Oklahoma in May 2022 after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill that prohibits all abortions with few exceptions. The ban is enforced by civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution. Oklahoma also has a “trigger law” that outlawed abortion as soon as Roe was overturned.

South Dakota: The state had a trigger law that immediately banned abortions except if the life of the pregnant woman is at risk.

Tennessee: A law banning nearly all abortions went into effect on Aug. 25, 2022 making providing the procedure a Class C felony in the state. The 2019 law, triggered by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, criminalizes performing or attempting to perform an abortion, only making exceptions for cases where it is necessary to prevent death or serious and permanent bodily injury to the mother.

Texas: A trigger law that bans virtually all abortions in the state went into effect on Aug. 25, 2022. The law makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to life in prison, with only a narrow exception to save the life of a pregnant patient.

West Virginia: West Virginia's legislature passed a sweeping abortion law banning the procedure in nearly all cases. Rape and incest victims would be able to obtain abortions at up to eight weeks of pregnancy, but only if they report to law enforcement within 48 hours of the assault. A patient must present a copy of a police report or notarized letter to a physician before the procedure can be performed. If such victims are minors, they have until 14 weeks to terminate a pregnancy if the rape was reported to either law enforcement or a physician. Abortions are also allowed in cases of medical emergencies.

States Where Strict Abortion Laws Are in Legal Limbo

Kentucky: A 2019 “trigger law” that imposed a near-total ban on abortions went into effect on Aug. 1, 2022. The law carves out narrow exceptions to save a pregnant woman’s life or to prevent disabling injury. In November, Kentucky voters rejected a ballot measure that would have denied abortion rights in the state’s constitution. However, the state's Supreme Court is currently weighing the constitutionality of the statewide ban.

Ohio: A judge has blocked the enforcement of Ohio’s 2019 “heartbeat” ban from taking effect while a constitutional challenge proceeds through the courts, allowing pregnancy terminations through 20 weeks’ gestation to continue, for now.

North Dakota: The state's trigger law effectively banning abortion was blocked by a judge on July 27, 2022, a day before it was set to kick in. That 2007 state law makes it a felony to perform an abortion unless necessary to prevent the pregnant woman’s death or in cases of rape or incest. Violators could be punished with a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. Under current law, abortions are legal in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and after that in the case of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the patient. However, the state's lone abortion clinic relocated to neighboring Minnesota.

Utah: The state's trigger law banning nearly all abortions went into effect and was then was quickly paused by a court amid a legal challenge. The law has narrow exceptions for rape and incest if those crimes are reported to law enforcement, and for serious risk to the life or health of the mother, as well as confirmed lethal birth defects. Currently, a 2021 ban on abortions after 18 weeks is in effect. A court will decide whether the near-total ban is allowed under Utah’s state constitution.

Wisconsin: Providers in the state have stopped performing abortions due to legal uncertainty around the status of a 1849 law banning the procedure that was still on the books. The law classifies abortion as a felony, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The only exception is "to save the life of the mother" and doesn't include exceptions for rape or incest. The law is currently being challenged in courts, with Wisconsin's Democratic attorney general Josh Kaul arguing in a lawsuit that the law shouldn't be enforced because it is superseded by laws that were passed during decades under Roe. But because Republican prosecutors around the state have vowed to enforce the 173-year-old ban, physicians in the state have stopped providing abortions.

Wyoming: Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed a "trigger" ban in March 2022 banning abortion in all instances except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the mother’s life or health, not including psychological conditions. Those who violate the ban would be charged with a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The law was written to take effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision. However, a judge suspended the law from taking effect after a lawsuit contested it. Abortion remains legal in Wyoming up to the point of viability.

States With 'Fetal Heartbeat' Laws or Restrictions Before Viability

Florida: The state's new 15-week ban went into effect on July 1, 2022. The law makes exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape or incest. Violators could face up to five years in prison. Physicians and other medical professionals could lose their licenses and face administrative fines of $10,000 for each violation. The law is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit from abortion providers but remains in effect.

Georgia: A law passed in 2019 that bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, when fetal cardiac activity can be detected, took effect on Nov. 15, 2022 following a ruling the state's Supreme Court which allowed it to be enforced. The law also declares a fetus a person for purposes including income tax deductions and child support. There are exceptions in cases of rape – if a police report is filed – and incest. There are exceptions if a woman’s life or health would be threatened. However, clinics in the state are currently not offering abortions.

States Where the Future of Abortion Access Is Unclear

Arizona: A 15-week abortion ban signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey went into effect in September 2022. However, the state also has a pre-statehood law still on the books that would ban all abortions except for cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy. After a lower court allowed enforcement of that 1864 law on Sept. 23, 2022 the state's largest provider of the service sued and an appeals court blocked it from being enacted. Arizona's attorney general has agreed not to try enforce the near total ban while the case plays out in the courts.  Also in play is a “personhood” law that raised fears by providers that they could face charges under that law before a federal judge blocked it in July.

Indiana: Abortion in Indiana is currently legal up to about 22 weeks, with some provisions for medical emergencies. To obtain an abortion, patients must undergo an 18-hour waiting period, medical providers have to tell patients about the risks involved in abortion and must say the fetus can feel pain around 20 weeks, a claim that is disputed in the medical community. However, the state's Republican-controlled legislature passed a new law after Roe v. Wade was overturned, banning all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly or life endangerment. The state's Supreme Court blocked it from being enacted and agreed to take the case, scheduling an oral argument for January.

Iowa: Current state law bans abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, except to save a patient’s life or prevent a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. An attempt by Gov. Kim Reynolds to revive a law passed in 2018 banning all abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected was struck down by a state judge. Reynolds' administration is appealing the decision to the state's Supreme Court. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood argue there's no legal precedent for reversing a final decision by a judge, saying Reynolds must go through the legislative process to pass a new law.

North Carolina: Abortions are legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks, but require a 72-hour waiting period, bans telehealth for people who take abortion pills, and prevents certified nurse midwives, physician assistants and nurse practitioners from providing abortions, among other restrictions. Attempts by Republicans in the state to enact additional restrictions have been vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is an abortion rights supporter. But GOP legislative seat gains in the midterms have weakened his veto power. Republicans are only one seat shy of a supermajority, meaning they only need to flip a single Democrat's vote to override Cooper's veto power. N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have vowed to consider additional abortion restrictions in the 2023 session, leaving the future of abortion access in North Carolina murky.

States Where Abortion Access Is Currently Protected

Alaska: The Alaska Supreme Court has interpreted the right to privacy in the state constitution as encompassing abortion rights. Recent efforts to advance a constitutional amendment through the Legislature to do away with that interpretation have been unsuccessful.

California: Abortion will remain legal in California prior to the viability of a fetus. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to make California a sanctuary for women who live in other states where abortion is outlawed or severely restricted.

Colorado: Abortion is legal in Colorado at all stages of pregnancy. There are no term restrictions as to when a pregnancy can be terminated and repeated legislative attempts by Republicans to restrict or abolish the procedure have failed.

Connecticut: The state passed a law in 1990 giving women the legal right to abortion. It affirmed a woman’s unqualified right to an abortion “prior to viability of the fetus,” as well as later-term abortions “necessary to preserve the life and health of the pregnant woman.” The law also repealed state laws predating Roe v. Wade that had made it a felony to have an abortion or to perform one and required that patients under 16 receive counseling about their options.

Delaware: In 2017, Delaware codified the right to an abortion before a fetus is deemed “viable," defined as the point in a pregnancy when, in a physician’s “good faith medical judgment,” there is a reasonable likelihood that the fetus can survive outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures. The law also allows abortion after fetal viability if, in a doctor’s “good faith medical judgment,” abortion is necessary for the protection of the woman’s life or health, or if there is a reasonable likelihood that the fetus cannot survive without extraordinary medical measures.

District of Columbia: Abortion is legal in the District of Columbia at all stages of pregnancy, a status that was upheld in the 1971 Supreme Court case United States v. Vuitch. However, the U.S. Congress has oversight power over D.C. laws and Congress has already banned the city from using local funds to pay for abortions for women on Medicaid. However, officials in the District fear Congress could move to restrict abortion access, particularly if Republicans recapture the House of Representatives in midterm elections later this year. 

Hawaii: Hawaii legalized abortion in 1970, when it became the first state in the nation to allow the procedure at a woman’s request. The state allows abortion until a fetus would be viable outside the womb. After that, it’s legal if a patient’s life or health is in danger.

Illinois: Abortion is legal in Illinois and can only be restricted after the point of viability, when a fetus is considered able to survive outside the womb. Medical science determines viability at 24 to 26 weeks, but the Illinois law does not specify a timeframe, saying a medical professional can determine viability in each case. Abortions are also allowed after viability to protect the patient’s life or health.

Kansas: Under current law, abortions are legal until the 22nd week of pregnancy, and are allowed after that only to save a patient’s life or to prevent "a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function." The state Supreme Court granted stronger protections to abortion rights in 2019, declaring that access to abortion is a "fundamental" right under the state constitution. In August, Kansas voters rejected a ballot proposal by the Republican-controlled Legislature to change the state constitution and give lawmakers the authority to restrict or ban abortion. Because of the state's constitutional amendment, any attempts to pass new restrictions on abortion will face legal challenges.

Maine: In 1993, a Republican governor in Maine signed a law affirming the right to abortion before a fetus is viable. After that, abortion is only allowed if the life or health of the mother is at risk, or if the pregnancy is no longer viable.

Maryland: Maryland law prohibits restrictions on abortion prior to viability. Maryland does not have a gestational limit. After viability, clinicians make the determination, based on clinical standard of care.

Massachusetts: Abortion rights are codified into state law, allowing the procedure after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases where the child would not survive after birth, and lowering from 18 to 16 the age at which women could seek an abortion without consent from a parent or guardian.

Michigan: Abortion rights are now enshrined in Michigan's constitution after voters in the state approved a ballot measure protecting reproductive freedom in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Current law allows abortions until "viability," which is around 24 weeks of pregnancy. There are some restrictions: patients must wait 24 hours after counseling to obtain an abortion, parental consent is required for minors and only doctors can provide the procedure and not other qualified health care professionals. Abortions after 24 weeks are allowed in cases where the mother's life is in danger.

Minnesota: Abortion is legal in Minnesota up to the point of fetal viability, around the 24th week of pregnancy. On July 11, a state judge further eased access to abortion by striking down as unconstitutional several restrictions such as a 24-hour waiting period and parental notification amid a surge of out-of-state patients.

Montana: Abortion is legal in Montana up to 24 weeks, generally considered the point of fetal viability as was legal under Roe. The state Supreme Court has blocked restrictions passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, citing the state’s constitutional right to privacy protects a woman’s access to abortion care

Nebraska: Abortion remains legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy in Nebraska. Those seeking an abortion must receive counseling and wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. People under 19 must have parental consent to undergo an abortion.

Nevada: Nevada voters enshrined the right to abortion in the state constitution in 1990. The law says a pregnancy can be terminated during the first 24 weeks, and after that to preserve the life or health of the pregnant person. It would take another statewide vote to change or repeal the law. 

New Hampshire: The GOP-controlled Legislature enacted in January a ban on abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In June, an exemption was added for cases in which the fetus has been diagnosed with “abnormalities incompatible with life.” The majority leader of the New Hampshire House has said the public should not expect Republicans in the Legislature to further tighten state abortion laws.

New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy enshrined abortion rights into state law in January. The measure also guarantees the right to contraception and the right to carry a pregnancy to term. New Jersey doesn’t have any significant restrictions on abortion, such as parental consent or a mandatory waiting period.

New Mexico: Abortion is not restricted based on gestational age, and on Monday, the Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order aimed at protecting abortion providers as the state prepared for an influx of patients from neighboring states set to ban the procedure. The order protects providers from attempts by states to revoke medical licenses or seek extraditions for giving abortions to out-of-state residents.

New York: Abortions are legal within the first 23 weeks of pregnancy, and allowed after 24 weeks if a fetus isn't viable or to protect the mother's life or health. Lawmakers have passed laws extending legal protections for people seeking and providing abortions in New York.

Oregon: Oregon does not have any major abortion restrictions and it is legal at all stages of pregnancy. In 2017, the state expanded health care coverage for reproductive services, including abortions, to thousands of Oregonians, regardless of income, citizenship status or gender identity.

Pennsylvania: Abortions are legal through the 23rd week of pregnancy and after that to preserve the life or health of the pregnant person. Pennsylvania's abortion law has some restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period after biased counseling and parental consent for a minor's abortion.

Rhode Island:  State law says Rhode Island will not restrict the right to an abortion prior to fetal viability or after if necessary to protect the health or life of the pregnant woman.

South Carolina: South Carolina law allows abortions until about 20 weeks beyond fertilization, or the gestational age of 22 weeks. Attempts to ban the procedure after six weeks was struck down by South Carolina's Supreme Court in January, with the justices ruling the restriction enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature violates a state constitutional right to privacy.

Vermont: Vermont does not have any major abortion restrictions and it is legal at all stages of pregnancy. In November, Vermont voters will cast ballots to decide if the state will amend its constitution to codify abortion right protections.

Virginia: Under current law, Virginia allows abortion in the first and second trimesters, up to about 26 weeks, and in the third only if the pregnant person’s life or health is at serious risk, as certified by three doctors. And while Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has backed banning abortions after 15-weeks, the midterms gave Democrats control of the state Senate and they have so far blocked GOP proposals to change the state's abortion laws.

Washington: Abortion is legal until fetal viability, generally 24–26 weeks of pregnancy, and after viability only if the patient's life or health is endangered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBC/The Associated Press
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