A complete ban on abortion remains unlawful in the U.S.; however, current state laws reflect the complexity of the varied regulations, limitations, and circumstances involved with a woman having an abortion.
While 32 states, for example, do not require an abortion to be performed in a hospital, 42 states require that an abortion be performed by a licensed physician, reflecting a majority of states’ concerns with abortion and medical risk.3 comments on this story
These numbers also illustrate debates in both the medical and legal communities about how to define a viable pregnancy. In general, health professionals deem a fetus viable at around 24 weeks. Seventeen states prohibit abortion at this catch-all point while six states prohibit it at a precise 24 weeks, one state at 22 weeks, and 17 states at 20 weeks.
The following graphics provide an overview of each state’s abortion laws and reflect only enforceable laws rather than laws passed and then deemed unconstitutional.