The Latest: 2022 State Abortion Legislation Updates

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade (RvW) that women have the liberty to abort a fetus before viability without undue government restrictions. But multiple state governments can and have passed legislation in 2021 limiting access to abortion services. In some areas, individuals involved in an abortion could face legal and civil repercussions. 

Conversely, some states are protecting and attempting to expand abortion rights. As a result, pregnant women in abortion-restricted states often travel to abortion-supportive ones to seek care. Federal and state pro-life/choice laws challenge each other, leaving many residents in a blurry legal area.

Federal and State Abortion Bans and Laws

The most common abortion laws are gestational bans that restrict the timeline to get an abortion, as well as waiting periods that require patients to wait hours to days before undergoing the procedure. Late-term abortions (22+ weeks after the last menstrual period) may only be available in cases of life endangerment or severely compromised physical health. 

Here are the gestational bans and waiting periods in hours, if applicable, in each state: 

  • 6 weeks – Texas (24)
  • 20 weeks – Alabama (48), Arkansas (72), Georgia (24), Indiana (18), Iowa, Kansas (24), Kentucky (24), Louisiana (24), Mississippi (24), Nebraska (24), North Dakota (24), Ohio (24), Oklahoma (72), South Carolina (24), South Dakota (72), West Virginia (24), and Wisconsin (24)
  • 24 weeks – Arizona (24), Connecticut, Florida, Idaho (24), Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (24), Missouri (72), Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina (72), Pennsylvania (24), Rhode Island, Tennessee (48), Utah (72), Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

RvW does not let states set prohibitions during the first trimester, but they can set local abortion regulations during the second trimester. The federal court also allowed for prohibitions in the third trimester, providing some exceptions for the mother’s health.

However, pro-life administrations still push their agendas. For instance, in 2021, several states signed laws that made abortions illegal in almost any instance. However, federal courts deemed these laws unconstitutional.

Below are some other examples of restrictions on abortions:

  • Coverage restrictions, such as an abortion may not be covered by public or private health insurance. Health plans offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act and public funding may only cover abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
  • Medically unnecessary requirements, like mandatory state-directed counseling to discourage abortion or offering the patient the option to view the ultrasound image.
  • Provider restrictions, such as prohibitions on clinic facilities, medical professions, and procedures to perform the procedure. Similarly, most states protect medical professionals who refuse to perform an abortion.
  • Parental involvement laws, such as a minor’s parent must consent to an abortion prior or be told of it within a certain period.
  • Trigger bans that make abortion almost completely illegal should the Supreme Court overturn RvW. Other states simply did not remove legislation outlawing abortions, which would go back into effect. Equally, some states have passed abortion laws to maintain its legality should the government overturn RvW. 

Some states – like California and Vermont – have not adopted additional abortion legislation and defaulted to the federal laws. For instance, RvW states that a provider cannot perform an abortion after 24 or 28 weeks after postfertilization.

Newest Proposed Abortion Laws

Pending in 2022 – The U.S. Supreme Court hears the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. Many state abortion regulations are waiting on the outcome. 

April 2022 – The Oklahoma House voted in favor of making abortion illegal and a felony. The pregnant woman and person who performs an abortion could face up to 10 years of incarceration and a $100,000 fine. Private citizens can also file civil lawsuits against abortion providers. 

March 2022 – The Florida Legislature approved a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy unless to save the mother’s life. September 2021 – Texas limits the ability to provide abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women must visit the clinic twice before the procedure. Private citizens can also file civil lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone who helped facilitate.

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