Deciding to have a termination is not easy for anyone, and, in most cases, the causes are linked to contraception failure or due to socioeconomic issues.
However, in 2022 in the US, Roe vs. Wade was overturned, meaning that overnight, people who were looking to have abortions could no longer access them in some states or there were extreme restrictions put into place. One of the most questionable of these restrictions included the banning of abortions after six weeks gestation, simply because most women are not aware that they are pregnant until they are at six weeks gestation.
So, what do you need to know about accessing terminations in the US in 2023, and how might these bans impact your life? Read on for a quick overview.
States That Have Banned It Altogether
According to websites like gcaus.com.au, states that have imposed complete bans on abortion include Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, and Louisiana, to name a few. There are over ten states in total that have banned access to abortion, meaning that if someone is found to have performed an abortion in these states, they will face up to life in prison, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. In Arkansas, there is also the risk of having a $100,000 fine, as well as prison time.
Access To Abortions
There are, at the time of writing (September 2023), no restrictions on people who want to have abortions traveling to states where abortion is legal.
There are also no restrictions at the present time relating to the access of abortion pills, like mifepristone being accessed via teleassessments, up to set gestational times, depending on the states. In New York, for example, you can still access an abortion up to 22 weeks, whereas in states like North Carolina, you can have an abortion up to 12 weeks into gestation.
There are two different kinds of abortions that are usually offered.
Up to around 16 weeks of pregnancy, for many people, the safest option is a medical abortion, which uses the aforementioned mifepristone. There is also the option to have a surgical abortion, which will implement the use of minor surgery and the use of general anesthetic.
In relation to the abortion ban, there has been a clampdown on the use of medical abortions in many states, as well as limiting access to the medication mifepristone, even if it is sent by mail. This means that women in states like North Carolina will need to attend a medical appointment before 12 weeks gestation and be prescribed the medication in person. Considering that many women are not able to reach an abortion clinic and live within around 300 miles of the nearest one, this presents an issue with this blanket legislation minimizing access to this medication.
Exceptions To The Law
OK, so many of the states mentioned in the first part of the article have seemingly placed a complete ban on all abortions.
Some states, however, do provide exceptions, which may allow a termination to be performed. Arkansas will allow an abortion to occur if the person seeking it has been raped, but proving rape at a base level is very tricky. If a person of a certain age is seeking an abortion, such as a 15-year-old, this legally falls into the realm of a rape victim and would therefore be allowed to have a termination.
Another exception for some of the states includes health risks to the mother. Mississippi, for example, will allow abortions to be performed if it can be shown that continuing the pregnancy will cause physical health issues that may end the life of the mother.