While the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, guarantees the right to abortion, each state has the right to enact its own restrictions. This can present a serious problem, since many women do not know they are pregnant until well into the first trimester. Additionally, it can take time to save up enough money to pay for an abortion. Here’s what you need to know about how long you can wait to have an abortion.
How late can I have an abortion in my state?
Every state sets its own limits on abortion. In all states, it is legal to have an abortion through the end of the first trimester (12 weeks after your last period). In most states, it is legal to get an abortion through about 20 weeks, though there may be some restrictions. After 20 weeks, it becomes more difficult to get an abortion, particularly if there is not a medical reason.
You can find a comprehensive list of state-level abortion restrictions here.
Can I go to another state to have an abortion?
It is legal to travel to another state to have an abortion. If you live in a state with very early abortion restrictions, that may be what you have to do. Some states have restrictions on transporting a minor across state lines to have an abortion, but these laws are dubious and difficult to enforce. If the minor is your child, you have the right to help them get quality medical care in another state.
Restrictions on when you can have an abortion have not been proven to lower the abortion rate or offer any health benefit. In fact, recent research suggests that state-level abortion restrictions may actually increase the prevalence of late-term abortions. Abortion is safe, potentially life-saving, and a core aspect of women’s health care.