Of the 195 state-level abortion restrictions adopted since 2000, one-quarter were enacted in 2005 alone. Although the nation is currently focusing its attention on the implications of the changing composition of the Supreme Court for the future of abortion rights, it is important to recognize that an increasing number of state-level restrictions already jeopardize access to safe abortion.
- Twenty-nine states mandate that a woman seeking an abortion be given counseling including information intended to discourage her from obtaining the procedure, such as a purported link with breast cancer; 24 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when she receives counseling and when the procedure is performed.
- Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of public funds to pay for abortion for low-income women, even when it is medically necessary, generally making exceptions only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Only 17 states use their own funds to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions for Medicaid enrollees.
- Thirty-four states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion: Twenty-one states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, while 13 require that a parent be notified.
Given the increasing volume of state legislation around reproductive health issues enacted in 2005 compared with previous years, it is important to keep close watch on what happens in the states in 2006. A new State Policies in Brief from the Guttmacher Institute, “An Overview of Abortion Laws,” which is available online and will be updated monthly, pulls together all of the abortion-related policies currently in effect in the 50 states and District of Columbia—including policies on who can perform abortions, when and where abortions can be performed, public funding and insurance coverage for abortions, provider refusal, parental involvement, and mandatory counseling and waiting periods. To learn more about abortion policy in your state, click here.
For a summary of major trends in reproductive health legislation in the states in 2005, click here.