Abortion has been in the news for months–most recently thanks to a Supreme Court case that could dramatically restrict abortion rights, or even reverse Roe v. Wade. Anti-choice forces have capitalized on this, and done what they do best: lie. Thanks to their self-congratulations and false advertising, many people who want an abortion now believe that abortion is now illegal, or that they can even be punished for having an abortion.
Rest assured: abortion is legal for now, and will likely remain legal in some form even if the Supreme Court does the worst. If you’re planning an abortion, here’s what you need to know.
Legal Status of Abortion
Abortion is legal in all 50 states right now, and Roe vs. Wade limits the ability of states to enact abortion restrictions. In the most restrictive states, restrictions begin in the second trimester, except for minors, who may need permission to get an abortion. Some states have waiting periods or require doctors to give patients inaccurate information. Even so, abortion remains legal for the entire first trimester and some portion of the second.
How State Laws Might Change if Roe Falls
The current challenge to Roe would ban abortion at 15 weeks. Depending on how the Supreme Court rules, this ban could be reversed, preserving Roe. Or it could stand, making 15-week bans legal. The Court might even allow more restrictive bans.
While this would allow such bans, it would not require them. So states that want to ban abortion at a certain stage might be able to, but more liberal states would continue to be able to offer abortion. The only caveat here is that this might change if Republicans seize control of Congress and ban abortion at the federal level. For now, though, an end to Roe v. Wade does not mean an end to safe and legal abortion–just abortion in right-leaning and moderate states.
Finding a Real Clinic
One of the most harmful ways the far right has constrained choice is by setting up fake clinics, telling women they can get abortions there, and then delaying until a woman is past the legal limit for abortion. These fake clinics have devastating impacts, and have even stalked women and released their private healthcare data. If you need an abortion, make sure you choose a real clinic. You can begin your search here.