Federal and State Bans and Restrictions on Abortion
Federal Abortion Ban
On April 18, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the first-ever federal law banning abortion procedures and gave politicians the green light to interfere in the private health care decisions of women and families.
The federal abortion ban criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are often the safest and best way to protect women's health. The ban affects more than just the women who need second-trimester abortions and the doctors who care for them, because the Supreme Court's decision abandoned more than 30 years of precedent that put women’s health first when it came to laws that restrict access to abortion.
We must stand up to politicians who want to restrict a woman's ability to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her doctor.
Read more about the history of the federal abortion ban.
State Abortion Restrictions
Attempts to restrict and even ban abortion at the state level are part of an ongoing anti-choice legal strategy to deny women their right to determine whether and when to have children. As state politicians across the country succeed in restricting access to abortion, women are paying the price. Laws that restrict access to abortion hurt women's health and endanger their safety.
Already state legislatures have passed or proposed many dangerous requirements:
- so-called "counseling sessions" for women seeking abortion, which often mandate a woman be told biased information about the procedure
- unnecessary waiting periods — often a whole day — from the time a woman first seeks an abortion to when she may undergo the procedure, even though delays may cause financial and other hardships on women
- onerous and unnecessary regulations on abortion providers — for example, requiring that hallways in a health center measure a certain width — with the goal of shutting down abortion providers when they are unable to comply
Planned Parenthood is committed to helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, but they do occur. And for women facing unintended pregnancies, prompt access to safe, legal abortion is imperative.
Planned Parenthood knows that the only way to reduce the need for abortion is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. The real solution is to increase — not decrease — access to comprehensive sex education and affordable birth control.