Abortion Laws in America: 16 New Datasets Explore U.S. Legal Landscape

Abortion is one of the most heavily regulated medical procedures in the United States.

A new series of 16 legal datasets on LawAtlas.org captures U.S. abortion regulations, relevant court cases and Attorneys General opinions that directly impact the provision of abortion services.

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The datasets look at laws that restrict abortion advertising, abortion bans, establish provider qualifications, reporting requirements for adults and minors, and waiting period requirements, provisions that protect access to clinics, the ability for providers to refuse to perform abortions, set restrictions on insurance coverage and public funding for abortion, statutory and constitutional rights to abortion, and targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP).

A few key findings include:

  • In 46 states, providers may refuse to perform an abortion.
  • Waiting periods for obtaining abortions vary from 24 to 72 hours.
  • 18 states ban abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization (22 weeks since last menstrual period).

And there’s far more online – these datasets capture 700 variables across the 16 datasets.

The datasets were created through a collaboration between the Policy Surveillance Program at Temple University’s Center for Public Health Law Research, Guttmacher Institute, Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Explore the data at the Abortion Law Project. 

Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research

Based at the Temple University Beasley School of Law, the Center for Public Health Law Research supports the widespread adoption of scientific tools and methods for mapping and evaluating the impact of law on health. It works by developing and teaching public health law research and legal epidemiology methods (including legal mapping and policy surveillance); researching laws and policies that improve health, increase access to care, and create or remove barriers to health (e.g., laws or policies that create or remove inequity); and communicating and disseminating evidence to facilitate innovation.

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