The Latest Point in Pregnancy You Can Get an Abortion in All 50 States
the latest point in pregnancy you can get an abortion

The Latest Point in Pregnancy You Can Get an Abortion in All 50 States

  • The US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
  • Currently, six states have banned abortion with exceptions for a threat to the patient’s physical health. 
  • Here’s the latest point patients can obtain an abortion in all 50 states and DC. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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The US Supreme Court overturned protections in Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 decision in which the court ruled that states cannot ban abortion before the point of fetal viability.

An initial draft, authored by Justice Samuel Alito and obtained by Politico, was leaked in May of this year, but the final decision was released on June 24, 2022.

SCOTUS’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, overturned a nearly 50-year precedent set by Roe.

In taking on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the Court ruled on the question of “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on abortion are unconstitutional.”

Over the past decade, dozens of Republican state legislators have passed laws to severely restrict or ban abortion before fetal viability, which is generally between 24 and 28 weeks, in the hopes of bringing a case before the Supreme Court that could end Roe v. Wade. 

For years, none of these states nor those with previous first-trimester abortion restrictions have laws that have formally gone into effect. But in 2021, Texas passed a six-week “heartbeat” abortion ban that withstood scrutiny in the courts thanks to its novel legal structure of outsourcing enforcement to private citizens bringing civil suits against abortion providers — a model that its neighbor Oklahoma has since replicated. 

Here’s where abortion access in America stands as of right now, according to the Guttmacher Institute:

  • Six states ban abortion altogether, except in cases where the patient’s physical health is threatened.
  • Of the 44 states that have not banned abortions, 37 states restrict abortion at a certain point in pregnancy in some way, either defined in terms of weeks post-fertilization or weeks from the patient’s last menstrual period.
  • One state, Texas, bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks of pregnancy. 
  • 12 states ban abortion at 20 weeks.
  • Four states ban abortions at 24 weeks of pregnancy including Florida, which has a 15-week abortion ban set to take effect in July. 
  • 19 states ban abortion at the point of fetal viability, which doesn’t have a clear scientific definition. While viability varies case by case, most fetuses become viable outside of the womb after about 24-28 weeks of gestation. 
  • Virginia bans abortion at the third trimester, which begins at 25 weeks, with exceptions for the life and general health of the patient.
  • Seven states have no limit.

The Supreme Court overturning Roe doesn’t ban abortion nationwide. The US now reverts to its pre-Roe status, when abortion policy was left entirely up to individual states to legislate. 

To prepare for the overturning of Roe, lawmakers in several Democratic-controlled states have enacted legislation in recent years that explicitly protects the right to abortion in the event that Roe fell.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to ensure abortion remains legal within their borders in the event that Roe does get overturned. Vermont will also vote on an amendment to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution.

New York also expanded the conditions under which a patient can receive an abortion later in pregnancy from protecting the life of the patient to the health of the patient, and re-classified abortion regulations as a public health matter rather than a criminal one.

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