Abortion Rights FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions on abortion. Please check with your state laws.

Is abortion legally permitted?

As of date, abortion is legal. The US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973) held that a woman can terminate the pregnancy up to 12 weeks using abortion but post 12 weeks; the state has a greater interest in regulating the right to privacy. This allowed the states to regulate abortion after 12 weeks. Many states have used this to impose limitations on abortions after 12 weeks. During the third trimester, it is virtually impossible to have an abortion unless it is required to save the life of the woman.

Does the law recognize fetal rights – the rights of the fetus?

Only humans have rights. The Courts have over the years held that fetuses have no rights until they reach a personhood. Courts and the lawmakers have never been able to determine when a fetus attains personhood. Generally the courts have held that the fetus will have rights if it is capable of surviving outside the womb.

Do minors need parental consent for abortion?

In most states a minor woman must have the consent of at least one parent. In some states the consent of both parents are required. Some states require one or both parents to be notified. A few states require parental consent as well as notification.

Do I have to undergo counseling or is there a waiting period for abortion?

In many states, before undergoing abortion, the woman must undergo counseling. The exact counseling requirement varies from state to state but generally the woman must be informed about the chances of developing breast cancer, the ability of the fetus to feel pain, the mental and emotional consequences and the availability of ultrasounds. In many states, a woman must wait for 24 hours before undergoing the abortion. In some states, the woman must visit the clinic more than once during the time period between the first consultation and the actual procedure.

Should the “father” give consent to the abortion or force the “mother’ to abort the child?

The right to abort is generally seen as a woman’s right. Men and women are not similarly situated when it comes to abortion and other reproductive rights. Law does not require the woman to get consent of the “father” because it can be difficult in some circumstances and can even result in physical or psychological abuse.

Is the abortion pill available in the United States?

Mifepristone or RU 486 was created in the 1980’s by a French doctor and is commonly referred to as the abortion pill as it can be used to end pregnancies less than 49 days gestation. It is available in the United States ever since it was approved by the FDA in 2000. You can get it from your physician, hospital or clinic.

Are partial birth abortions legal?

Partial birth abortions are banned by the federal government. A few states also ban this type of abortion wherein the fetus is delivered intact before aborting it.

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