Abortion bans continue popping up across the United States, leaving many people wondering where their states stand. Here’s what you need to know.
Abortion is legal in every state
Abortion is legal under Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states.
But most states have set limits in one way or another. This year, a series of strict anti-abortion bills have been passed with the intention to reshape women’s access to the procedure.
The most restrictive abortion law in the country is in Alabama. The ban makes abortion illegal in virtually all cases – including cases of rape and incest – and doctors who perform abortions could face life in prison.
Those bills generally ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant.
Are these abortion bans in effect?
Missouri’s law goes into force on August 28. Alabama’s ban is set to take effect in November and Georgia’s law on January 1.
It’s unclear if those laws will go into effect because they are likely to face numerous legal challenges. The Kentucky and Mississippi bans were blocked by a federal judge and the Ohio ban – set to take effect this summer – is being challenged in court.
Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood argue the laws are unconstitutional.
… but more bans are in the works
There’s a growing list of states seeking to limit abortion rights but at least 10 of them have proposed legislation that specifically mention heartbeat detection.
Some of the proposed bills in Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia are still making their way through the legislative process while others like the ones in Texas, Maryland and Minnesota failed to gain traction.
Other states instead have protections
New York passed a law to protect women’s access to abortion right on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade earlier this year. The law also protects doctors or medical professionals who perform abortions from criminal prosecution. A competing heartbeat bill in New York’s state legislature has stalled.
At least nine other states have laws protecting abortion. Oregon is leading the way with a state law that makes abortion legal throughout pregnancy while others only permit abortion prior to viability or to protect the health and life of a woman.
CNN’s Travis Caldwell and Mirtha Donastorg contributed to this report.