A Look at Late-Term Abortion Restrictions, State by State

The Senate is weighing a bill that would ban abortions after the 20-week mark. But plenty of states already do.

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Libby Isenstein
Jan. 21, 2015, 9:23 a.m.

A con­tro­ver­sial abor­tion bill landed in the Sen­ate Thursday af­ter­noon, after passing in the House May 13. The Pain-Cap­able Un­born Child Pro­tec­tion Act seeks to na­tion­ally pro­hib­it abor­tion after 20 weeks of preg­nancy, and is based on the med­ic­ally dis­puted idea that a fetus can feel pain at this point in gest­a­tion.

The bill was dropped earli­er this year in the wake of push­back from sev­er­al mod­er­ate GOP law­makers who wor­ried that the meas­ure was in­sens­it­ive to wo­men who had be­come preg­nant as a res­ult of rape. A new amend­ment strikes the man­date that a rape be re­por­ted to law en­force­ment in or­der for it to be treated as an ex­cep­tion and re­places it with a re­quired wait­ing peri­od.

Abor­tion-rights ad­voc­ates ar­gue that the pro­posed bill vi­ol­ates the Su­preme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade de­cision, which holds that wo­men have a con­sti­tu­tion­al right to abor­tion up un­til vi­ab­il­ity, or the point at which the fetus is cap­able of sur­viv­ing out­side the womb—typ­ic­ally around the 22nd to 24th week.

El­ev­en states have already en­acted so-called “fetal-pain” abor­tion laws sim­il­ar to the Pain-Cap­able Un­born Child Pro­tec­tion Act, re­strict­ing abor­tion at 18 or 20 weeks. Here is a break­down of the re­stric­tions for late-term abor­tion in each state and a look at how the pro­posed fed­er­al bill stacks up against state laws that are already in place.

This story has been up­dated on June 11, 2015.


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