The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search feed instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner
pro-choice demonstrators on what they are fighting for to preserve their Women's rights regarding abortion.

How Do Various States Stand on Abortion Laws?

Every morning in this country, women could wake up concerned about an unwanted pregnancy. Women may decide to terminate a pregnancy due to the mother’s physical health, potential health issues for the unborn baby, a pregnancy caused by rape or another personal reason.

It has been almost 50 years since women in the U.S. were given the legal right to have an abortion through the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade. And it has been almost 30 years since that decision was reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, preventing states from banning abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, generally between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Despite the Supreme Court’s multiple decisions concerning abortion, the issue of whether or not the federal government should protect a woman’s legal right to choose is still being decided in the country’s highest court.

According to a leaked draft opinion, the Supreme Court may reach a new decision on the matter, which could be handed down by the end of June. It could see Roe v. Wade overturned, sending abortion regulation from federal control to the states.

This decision comes from Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. The Mississippi law in question makes most abortions illegal in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which directly opposes Roe v. Wade.

In Texas, anti-abortion lawmakers have already succeeded in pushing through the Texas abortion restriction law known as SB8 or the Texas Heartbeat Act in September. On May 3, Oklahoma followed suit with its own Heartbeat Act, signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. 

Both of these laws restrict abortions before fetal cardiac activity can be detected on an ultrasound, which is typically not before five to seven weeks of pregnancy.

As soon as the draft was leaked, the Supreme Court justices stressed they had not made their final decision on the case. However, with the recent appointments of three conservative justices under former President Trump, followed by the actions in Texas and Oklahoma, abortion providers, women’s health advocates and others have already begun preparing for a future without the federal protection of Roe v. Wade and the reality of having even fewer medical facilities and doctors able to offer legal abortions than there are now.

What Happens If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned and States Govern Abortion Care?

According to recent reports, if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade and allows state governments to decide on the status of legalized abortions, almost half of the fifty states could swiftly move towards halting most abortions.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health, 26 states are in a position of swiftly banning abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Included in these 26 states are nine that already have laws in place that date back before Roe v. Wade was enacted by the federal government. This means that if the protections found with Roe v. Wade are removed, the states with pre-Roe laws banning abortion would likely default to the past laws. These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Additionally, thirteen states have “trigger” laws that would take effect after the justices finalize their decision. This type of law aids in seeing swift anti-abortion legislation (four of these are already mentioned above). The trigger law states are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. 

Four more states currently have leaders whose actions have made it clear they will most likely halt abortions as soon as possible if the Supreme Court rules to overturn Roe. These include Florida (which also has a new law going into effect July 1, banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy), Indiana, Montana and Nebraska. 

Pro-Choice States

On the other side, 15 states have laws to protect abortion rights if Roe v. Wade is overturned. In these states, pro-choice policies prevent the government from interfering with the right to obtain an abortion before viability or to protect the health of the pregnant woman. Of these, four states, in particular, have actions in place to improve the rights of those seeking abortions as well as access to medical care. 

In California, lawmakers recently proposed an amendment to bolster protections found in the state constitution. Further, California lawmakers have created a package of bills to make the state a “refuge” for women seeking abortions. 

In Connecticut, a new law was put in place to shield abortion providers and patients from lawsuits initiated by states that have banned or plan to ban abortion. 

In New York, lawmakers wrote a bill to create an abortion access fund and several other bills to strengthen abortion rights. In Maryland, legislators overrode the governor’s veto allowing trained medical professionals (other than physicians) to perform abortions.

Here is a breakdown of the possible changes for each state if Roe v. Wade is overturned this summer (compiled by U.S. News and World Report): 

State (Abortions With Roe / Abortions Without Roe)

Alabama – Available up to 20 weeks / Banned (pre-1973 abortion ban in place)

Alaska – No gestational age restrictions / Unclear

Arizona – Abortion available up to viability (New law pending, banning after 15 weeks) / Banned (pre-1973 abortion ban in place)

Arkansas – Available up to 20 weeks / Banned (pre-1973 abortion ban in place)

California – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

Colorado – No gestational age restriction / Protected by state law throughout pregnancy

Connecticut – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

Delaware – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

District of Columbia – No gestational age restrictions / Protected by district law through pregnancy

Florida – New Law July 1-ban after 15 weeks / Likely banned 

Georgia – Available up to 20 weeks / Likely banned (ban after six weeks pending)                                                    

Hawaii – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

Idaho – Available up to viability / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

Illinois – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

Indiana – Available up to 20 weeks / Likely banned

Iowa – Available up to 20 weeks / Likely banned (new law pending, banning after six weeks) 

Kansas – Available up to 20 weeks / Unclear

Kentucky – Available up to 20 weeks / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

Louisiana – Available up to 20 weeks / Post-Roe trigger ban to take effect

Maine – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

Maryland – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

Massachusetts Available up to 24 weeks / Protected by state law prior to viability

Michigan – Available up to viability / Pre-1973 ban in place

Minnesota – Available up to viability / Unclear

Mississippi – Available up to 20 weeks / Pre-1973 abortion ban in place

Missouri – Available up to viability / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

Montana – Available up to viability / Likely banned

Nebraska – Available up to 20 weeks / Likely banned

Nevada – Available up to 24 weeks / Protected by state law prior to viability

New Hampshire – Available up to 24 weeks / Unclear

New Jersey – No gestational age restrictions / Protected by state law throughout pregnancy

New Mexico – No gestational age restrictions / Unclear

New York – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

North Carolina Available up to viability / Unclear

North Dakota – Available up to 20 weeks / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

Ohio – Available up to 20 weeks / Likely banned (new law pending, banning after six weeks)

Oklahoma – Prohibited at fertilization / Pre-1973 abortion ban in place

Oregon – No gestational age restrictions / Pregnancy protected through state law 

Pennsylvania Available up to 24 weeks / Unclear

Rhode Island Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

South Carolina – Available up to 20 weeks/ Likely banned (new law pending, banning after six weeks)                                              

South Dakota – Available up to 20 weeks / Post-Roe trigger ban expected      

Tennessee – Available up to viability / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

Texas Available up to six weeks / Pre-1973 abortion ban in place

Utah – Available up to viability / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

Vermont – No gestational age restrictions / Protected by state law throughout pregnancy

Virginia – Available up to third trimester / Unclear

Washington – Available up to viability / Protected by state law prior to viability

West Virginia – Available up to 20 weeks / Pre-1973 abortion ban in place

Wisconsin – Available up to 20 weeks / Pre-1973 abortion ban in place

Wyoming – Available up to viability / Post-Roe trigger ban expected

The Supreme Court issued opinions in five cases Monday morning, but not Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court is next scheduled to release opinions on Wednesday.