So let’s get right to it. The vast majority of our abortion law structure has been set up by the courts, we’re all familiar with roe v wade, but funny enough. The standard used in roe v wade actually isn’t the one that we use anymore. The working standard set by the court is based on viability, that’s. The point when a fetus is capable of surviving outside the uterus, that’s, usually considered to be at 24 weeks or six months into a pregnancy after the fetus is viable states are allowed to restrict abortions. However, they want, except for cases where abortions are necessary, to protect the health of the woman. One pro life criticism is that the woman’s health has been defined too broadly by the courts. That’S a determination made by a doctor considering all factors: uh physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age before fetus is viable, so conception up to 24 months. The rule is that states can’t impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion. So things get a little bit murky here, because that means you need to weigh the benefits of an abortion restriction against the burden that it creates on abortion access. So, just to give you an idea here are a few things that have been ruled unconstitutional because they create that undue burden, a requirement to inform a spouse prior to getting an abortion requiring doctors who provide abortions that have difficult to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby Hospital and requiring abortion clinics to have costly hospital grade facilities – and here are a few things that have been found to be okay, so these do not create an undue burden, getting information and then having to wait 24 hours a parental consent requirement, abortion clinic reporting requirements And a ban on a specific type of partial birth abortion from the standpoint of laws passed at the federal level by congress.
There are surprisingly not that many abortion restrictions. The hyde amendment was passed in 1980 and that’s always been a hot topic. The hyde amendment says that abortions can’t be funded with federal dollars, except to save the life of the woman or in cases of rape or incest for all intensive purposes. This means low income, women can’t use medicaid dollars to pay for abortions. Also in 2003, the partial birth abortion ban act was signed. This prevents a specific type of abortion that was typically used between 15 and 26 weeks. Partial birth, abortion is actually a political term, not a medical one, but in this law partial birth abortion was defined as half delivering a living fetus and then performing an overt act to intentionally kill that partially delivered living. Fetus there’s always been a tension between the abortion protections established by the supreme court and state laws. Usually, a specific state will pioneer a new abortion restriction and then other states will go and copy it. So in this way i can summarize some of the more common state abortion restrictions to start 43 states ban abortions after a certain point, except to protect the woman’s life or health that cut off is either viability or 20 weeks. In all those states, some states have passed laws going earlier than that or banning abortion entirely, but those have been blocked by the courts, so they aren’t currently enforceable. The idea with those is to have something already on the books.
If roe v wade would ever be overturned after that broad ban on late term abortions, there are lots of doctor and hospital related restrictions. 38 states have laws that a physician has to perform. The abortion 19 states have laws that abortions need to be done in a hospital after a certain point. Typically that’s after viability and 17 states require a second position. If it’s, beyond a certain point in the pregnancy, usually again that’s viability, private insurance, isn’t allowed to cover abortions, except when the woman’s life is at risk in 12 states. So, typically in these states a woman is allowed to buy supplemental abortion coverage for more money. Then there are a number of restrictions related to counseling and wait times. Women have to get counseling and then wait at least 24 hours before she can get an abortion in 25 states and most of those states specify exactly what the doctor needs to tell the patient. Such as saying there’s, a link between abortion and breast cancer, the fetus may feel pain and that there’s long term mental health consequences of having an abortion most states require that parents are involved in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. So 27 states require that a parent consent and the other 10 just require parent notification. Some states have ultrasound requirements too in a few states. If they do an ultrasound, the provider must offer the woman the opportunity to see it. Some other states straight away require an ultrasound and they require the provider to offer the woman an opportunity to see it.
If they do the ultrasound and then in four states an ultrasound must be performed and it must be shown and described to the woman. So because the courts allow states to pass abortion regulations before the fetus is viable as long as it’s on undue burden, you’ve got lots of pro life states doing whatever they can to test that very unclear standard. The supreme court has a challenge in coming up with a clear standard to set policy by, but just looking at the current abortion law, landscape it’s obvious the supreme court’s standards are odd, arbitrary and flowing with the political views of the justices.