Summary of US State Abortion Laws

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A series of Supreme Court decisions severly limits what restrictions states can impose on abortion. About the only restrictions the Court will allow states to impose are:
Informed consent
A woman must be given some information about the abortion procedure itself; fetal development, such as the present state of her baby's organs, general physical appearance, or ability to live outside the womb; and/or alternatives to abortion, like help available to her through state and private programs if she chooses to keep the baby.
Parental consent
If an unmarried girl under 18 wants to have an abortion, she must first get permission from one or both parents, just like she would for any other medical procedure. To be acceptable to the Supreme Court, any such law must have the option that the girl can go to a judge who can authorize an abortion without her parents' consent for various reasons.
Parental notice
Similar to parental consent, except that the parents simply have to be told -- their permission is not required. Again, the Court demands a "judicial bypass" procedure to allow the girl to get a secret abortion.
Viability
A baby may not be aborted after reaching "viability", that is, if he or she could survive outside the womb. To the best of our knowledge, no such law has actually been enforced, but the Court did permit it.
This appears to be the present status of state laws.

"+" indicates that a state has a law of this type (of course details vary); "-" indicates it does not. For the consent/notice laws, "*" indicates the law has no judicial bypass provision.

States not listed do not have any of these restrictions. Note that not all of these laws have made it through court challenges.

State Informed
consent
Parental
notice
Parental
consent
Viability
AK - - * -
AL - - + -
AR - + - -
AZ - - + -
CA - - + -
CO - - * -
DE - + - -
GA - + - -
ID - * - -
IL - + - -
IN + - + -
IA - + - -
KS - + - -
KY - - + -
LA + - + -
MA - + + -
MD - + - -
MI + - + -
MN - + - -
MO - - + +
MS + - + -
MT - + - -
NB - + - -
NC - - + -
ND + - + -
NM - - * -
NV - + - -
OH + + - +
PA + - + +
RI - - + -
SC - - + -
SD + * - -
TN - - + -
UT + * - -
WI + - + -
WV - + - -
WY - - + -

Note: The Maryland "parental notice" law allows the abortionist to decide whether or not to notify the parents, and is therefore probably meaningless.


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Written Dec 1996. Posted 25 Jan 2001.

Copyright 1996, 2001 by Ohio Right to Life and Pregnant Pause
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