Here are Texas' rules on abortion -- how do they compare to other states?

By Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group
pexels.com

The recent passing of a measure in Alabama that would ban abortion, aside from very limited exceptions, has fueled the fire in abortion talks nationwide.

The Alabama Legislature has given final approval to the nation's most restrictive abortion law in the country, a measure that makes performing abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony, with a possible penalty of life in prison for the mother or doctor performing the procedure.

The U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade in 1973 determined women have the constitutional right to access to abortion, but as we've noticed recently, most states have set limitations, some more strict than others.

Texas’ abortion laws are on the stricer side, comparitively, as a woman can not receive an abortion past 20 weeks of gestation. And there are some stipulations.

In order to receive an abortion, the woman must have an ultrasound first. The heartbeat must be made audible and the image available to the mother.

On another note, if the woman is any further along than 16 weeks, she must have the abortion done at an ambulatory surgical center or hospital, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

If a minor is seeking an abortion, it can’t be performed until a parent of legal guardian has been notified.

With these laws, Texas women only represent 6% of abortions in the United States.

In Alaska, Colorado, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont, officials don't set a specific cutoff point in the pregnancy, after which abortion is banned. Our other 43 states do. Scroll over the following map to get details on what your state will or won't allow: 

 

There are many states that will allow abortions up until the pregnancy is considered viable -- when there is a chance the baby could survive if delivered, usually between 22-24 weeks, according to babyMed.

The table below shows which states are banning abortion at particular times of a woman's pregnancy.

States

Abortion banned at

Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Viability

Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia (bans at 25 weeks)

24 weeks

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin

20 weeks

It should be noted that several states take into account the mother's health, along with situations such as rape and incest, when it comes to determining a cutoff date or the terms of what they'll allow. At times, those cases can determine whether an abortion may be done a little bit later into the pregnancy. The rape and incest exemption from the ban failed to pass in Alabama.

Pushing the limits

Amid the tensions stemming from Alabama's measure on abortion, other states are attempting to set stricter limits: 

Georgia: Earlier this month, a "heartbeat" bill that would ban an abortion once a fetus' heartbeat is detected was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp. The law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, according to CNN.

Iowa: A fetal heartbeat bill was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in May 2018, but in January, a state judge struck down the law.

Kentucky: A fetal heartbeat bill passed in March, but a federal judge stopped it from being enforced.

Mississippi: A fetal heartbeat bill was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in March.

Ohio: A fetal heartbeat bill was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in April, one day after the House and Senate passed the law.

Utah: A law that would ban abortions after 18 weeks was passed but was quickly blocked by a federal judge.

Florida: Rep. Mike Hill said a fetal heartbeat bill that was introduced and failed this year will be reintroduced next year.

Louisiana: A fetal heartbeat bill has been passed by the Louisiana Senate, as well as the House Health and Welfare Committee, but it has yet to see Gov. John Bel Edward for a signature.

Missouri: A bill that would ban abortions after eight weeks passed Thursday. It will now need to pass the state House before it goes to the governor.

South Carolina: A fetal heartbeat bill passed the state House in April and has since been introduced in the state Senate.

Texas: A fetal heartbeat bill failed last week after not winning approval by midnight.

West Virginia: A fetal heartbeat bill was introduced in the state House in February.

Other states attempting to add abortion protections include New York and Vermont.

Now what?

As abortion is arguably one of the most divisive topics we face as a nation, abortion laws are up in the air for states across the country, with each side pushing its agenda.

It's yet to be seen if Republicans can get Roe v. Wade overturned, but there are clearly legal battles to be fought. It's likely the issue will be a major one in the 2020 elections.

Graham Media Group 2019