State Laws on Abortion 1973–92


Map Code: Ax01129

In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled that while abortion was legal (Roe v. Wade) individual states could impose their own restrictions, concerning dates of termination, parental disclosure and abortion risk information. Except for the states of Washington, New York, Alaska and Hawaii who, pre-1973, permitted abortion for any reason, most states only did so if the pregnancy caused a risk to life or if it was the result of rape or incest. Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire prohibited abortion for any reason. Many states sought to obstruct this new ruling by refusing to implement it or imposing complex procedural demands. In 1992, the abortion debate revived when, after Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the ruling of Roe v. Wade. But with a significant amendment: states could not ban abortions before the point of foetal viability. Even hardliners, such as Pennsylvania and Louisiana, had to comply.

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