Since 2001, states across the U.S. have put 660 limits or restrictions on abortion access
, according to data collected by the Washington Post
. Over 70 percent of those restrictions have come in the past 8 years. Yesterday, Alabama’s State Senate passed a bill, which upon the governor’s signature, will become the strictest abortion ban in the U.S., essentially treating all abortions as a crime.
In the United States, the right to choose to have an abortion is protected by the landmark Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade
which was decided in 1973. Roe vs. Wade determined that whether a pregnant person wanted to terminate their pregnancy was a matter of privacy using the 14th Amendment to come to this legal conclusion. The Court also maintained that states have an interest in legislating around a pregnant person’s health and the “potentiality of human life” up to a point in a pregnancy. Essentially the Court lays out a timeline, allowing states to apply more restrictions as a pregnancy progresses based on the pregnant person’s health and the continuing potential for human life from the fetus.
have not tried to roll back the privacy claim central to abortion’s legality in Roe vs. Wade, but instead, make it virtually impossible to access or perform abortions based on the ground the ruling affords them. Restrictions include required counseling or waiting periods for people seeking abortions, restrictions on Medicaid funding for the procedure, limits or bans on the use of telemedicine for administering abortion pills, mandatory parental involvement for patients younger than 18, strict limits on the types of clinics that can perform abortions, and overall wide-reaching bans on when a person can have an abortion. In putting these restrictions in place, conservative advocates are trying to bring the legality of abortion before the Supreme Court to change the Court’s previous ruling.
While the right to choose is still upheld by the Supreme Court, some states, particularly over the past 2 years or so, have gone an extra step in putting specific protections in place at the state level. These protections include support for abortions in state constitutions, legal standards protecting access, Medicaid coverage, permission for physician assistants or other medical professionals to provide treatment, mandatory private insurance coverage, and protection for clinics performing abortions. As of now, 33 protections have been put in place, with nearly 80 percent of those protections being enacted within the past two and a half years.