Last updated: March 18, 2016


Current Laws 87

“Personhood” laws seek to classify fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as “persons,” and to grant them full legal protection under the U.S. Constitution, including the right to life from the moment of conception. “Personhood” laws criminalize abortion with no exception, and also ban many forms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, and health care for […]

20-Week Bans

Current Laws 98

Often referred to as “20-week abortion bans,” these laws nominally seek to ban abortion after or around 20 weeks’ gestation, though bills in several states effectively ban abortion at 18 weeks. Legal experts believe these laws are unconstitutional on their face because they undermine a key provision of Roe v. Wade, which established the right […]

Buffer Zones, Bubble Zones, and Clinic Access

Current Laws 6

Since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, abortion providers, their families, clinic employees, and clinics have been the target of harassment and violence. According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF) since 1977, eight clinic workers—including four doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard—have been murdered in the United States. […]

Forced Ultrasound

Current Laws 84

Forced ultrasound laws require that providers perform an ultrasound within a specified period of time before a woman obtains an abortion in order to fulfill state “informed consent” requirements for an abortion procedure. Many ultrasound laws also contain “speech and display” requirements, which require the provider to show and describe the ultrasound image to a […]

Heartbeat Bans

Current Laws 31

Heartbeat bans attempt to outlaw abortions as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, which is often in the embryonic stage, as early as six weeks’ gestation, before many women even know they are pregnant. These laws, some of the most extreme in the country, are flatly unconstitutional because they seek to ban abortion months […]

Insurance Coverage

Current Laws 144

Insurance coverage bans restrict insurance coverage of abortion in order to eliminate access to safe abortion care. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President Obama signed into law in 2010, calls for each state to set up a health insurance exchange or “marketplace” so that people who do not have health insurance coverage through their […]

Medication Abortion

Current Laws 60

Medication abortion, commonly known as the abortion pill or RU-486, is a non-surgical procedure by which pregnancy is terminated through the use of two drugs. The first drug, mifepristone, works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which causes the lining of the uterus to break down so that the pregnancy cannot continue. The second drug, misoprostol, […]

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers

Current Laws 169

Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) bills single out abortion clinics and providers and subject them to regulations that are more stringent than those applied to medical clinics generally. Unlike many restrictions intended to delay or influence a pregnant woman’s decision to obtain an abortion in the name of protecting a state’s interest in potential […]