On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a right to abortion. Wiping out half a century of precedent, Justice Samuel Alito declared that the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.
In the immediate aftermath of Dobbs, states hostile to abortion have raced to enact more restrictive laws in this area, including some near-total bans. Several states had enacted “trigger bans” that would take effect automatically if the Supreme Court reached this result. Others have sought to reinstate pre-existing laws that had been unenforceable on constitutional grounds. In many states, however, Dobbs will not affect access to abortion because legislatures, courts, or voters have embedded this right in state codes or constitutional provisions.
Click on a state below to learn more about responses to the Dobbs decision and the current status of abortion laws in that state, generally as of June 27, 2022, unless otherwise noted. The situation remains fluid in many states, and this information will be updated accordingly.
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act is now enforceable after a federal judge lifted an injunction blocking it. This law prohibits any person from intentionally performing or attempting to perform an abortion unless this is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to a pregnant woman. There are no exceptions for incest or rape. Performing an abortion is a Class A felony, and attempting an abortion is a Class C felony. The law also makes it a felony to help someone obtain or plan to obtain an abortion in another state.
Alaska has a long pro-choice history. Its legislature legalized abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, while the Alaska Supreme Court has held that the privacy right provided by the Alaska Constitution protects freedom of choice. However, pro-life Governor Mike Dunleavy has stated that he expects further debate over the issue in the wake of the Dobbs decision. For now, abortion is legal throughout pregnancy.
Arizona has multiple abortion bans. The first ban dates from the 19th century before Arizona became a state. This prohibits providing or helping to provide an abortion, except to save the life of a pregnant woman. Violators are subject to 2-5 years in prison. The second ban was recently signed by Governor Doug Ducey and is planned to take effect 90 days after the state legislature adjourns its current session, which likely will happen soon. This law prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy unless it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. There is no exception for rape or incest. While pregnant women would not face charges, doctors would face severe criminal and professional consequences. In the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision, it was unclear which law would control.
On June 24, the Arkansas Attorney General signed the Arkansas Human Life Protection Act into effect. This law provides that a person shall not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency. This crime is an unclassified felony that may result in a 10-year prison sentence and a $100,000 fine. There is no exception for rape or incest.
California laws strongly protect abortion, and the state plans to become a “sanctuary” for people who need to undergo the procedure. The legislature has sought to expand access to abortion and help people who are coming from other states to receive abortions in California. Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a law that protects patients and doctors from civil liability related to abortions. In November, California voters will vote on a state constitutional amendment that would guarantee the ability to seek abortions and use birth control. Abortion is prohibited at or after viability, unless the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
Colorado legalized abortion in 1967, even before Roe v. Wade. Abortions are permitted throughout pregnancy, and initiatives to restrict abortions have failed. Governor Jared Polis has signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which provides that state and local government entities cannot interfere with the right to abortion or the right to use contraception. The law clearly states that a fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under state law.
Connecticut law protects the right to an abortion until the fetus can live independently outside the womb. Moreover, legislators have provided a safe harbor to women from states where abortion is illegal so that they can get abortions in Connecticut. An abortion may be performed at or after viability only if the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
Delaware law protects the right to an abortion until viability. The General Assembly previously passed legislation that codified the rights provided by Roe v. Wade under state law, insulating Delaware from the impact of the Dobbs decision. Moreover, the state will seek to protect pregnant women and doctors from policies in anti-abortion states that could punish them for receiving or providing an abortion. An abortion may be performed at or after viability only if the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered, or if there is a lethal fetal anomaly.
A recent Florida law prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion if they determine that the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks. There is no exception for rape or incest, although there are exceptions for situations when an abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman or prevent serious injury to her. Violators could face fines and jail time. This law is scheduled to take effect on July 1, but opponents have mounted legal challenges.
The Georgia Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act prohibits most abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected. This usually occurs at about six weeks of pregnancy, potentially before a woman knows that she is pregnant. Passed in 2019, this law was ruled unconstitutional in 2020, but the state appealed. After the Dobbs decision, Attorney General Chris Carr asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to allow this law to take effect. Each side in the ongoing litigation has three weeks to file briefs regarding the effect of Dobbs. For now, abortion is prohibited in Georgia at or after 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), except in cases involving a lethal fetal anomaly or a risk of death or severely compromised physical health to a pregnant woman.
Hawaii legalized abortion even before Roe v. Wade, and the right to privacy provided by the Hawaii Constitution also has been interpreted to protect the right to abortion. Hawaii prohibits abortion at or after viability, unless the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
Idaho passed a trigger law that will take effect 30 days after the judgment in Dobbs is officially released, which may mean that it takes effect in late August. (The Supreme Court usually officially releases judgments about 30 days after opinions are published.) The law will ban abortions unless a pregnant woman’s life is at risk, or unless a pregnancy was a result of incest or rape that was reported to the police. However, a Planned Parenthood affiliate has filed a lawsuit in the Idaho Supreme Court, seeking to block the law.
In 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Reproductive Health Act, which establishes abortion and other areas of reproductive health as a fundamental right in Illinois. Illinois does not allow abortions at or after viability unless the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
Indiana has not enacted a trigger law or any other pre-existing abortion ban that would take effect in the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision. Abortion currently is prohibited at or after 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), except in cases involving a risk of death or severely compromised physical health. However, a long list of abortion restrictions enacted by the Indiana legislature over the last decade suggests that a ban may be on the horizon.
Iowa has not enacted a trigger law or any other pre-existing abortion ban that would take effect in the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision. Abortion currently is prohibited at or after 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), except in cases involving a risk of death or severely compromised physical health. However, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled shortly before Dobbs that abortion is not a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution, reversing its own precedent. This could set the stage for the legislature to enact a ban.
The Kansas Supreme Court has decided that the Kansas Constitution contains an implicit right to abortion. However, a state constitutional amendment to remove this right to abortion will be presented to Kansas voters on August 2. In the meantime, abortion is prohibited at or after 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), except in cases involving a risk of death or severely compromised physical health.
The Kentucky trigger law took effect automatically after the Dobbs decision, banning abortion unless it is medically necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman or prevent the permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ. Providing abortions via a procedure or medication is a Class D felony, which may result in up to five years in prison. Abortion rights advocates have sued in an effort to establish that abortion is protected by the Kentucky Constitution.
Louisiana had enacted trigger laws that would ban abortion unless a pregnant woman faces a risk of death or serious injury. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. However, a state court judge temporarily blocked these laws when abortion providers filed a lawsuit. The court will hear the lawsuit on July 8.
The Maine legislature has codified abortion rights into law. A statute provides that the state will not restrict a woman’s exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability, except in certain cases involving pregnant minors. At or after viability, an abortion may be performed only when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of a pregnant woman.
Maryland law allows abortion until a fetus can survive outside the womb. At or after viability, an abortion may be performed only if the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered, or if there is a fetal anomaly.
Massachusetts law protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks after implantation. At or after 24 weeks, an abortion may be performed only when the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered, or when there is a lethal fetal anomaly. Governor Charlie Baker has signed an executive order further protecting abortion rights and shielding reproductive health care providers who serve out-of-state patients.
A law enacted in 1931 bans abortion in Michigan, but the Michigan Court of Claims has issued a preliminary injunction blocking that law, finding that it likely violates the Michigan Constitution. Moreover, Attorney General Dana Nessel does not plan to charge anyone under the 1931 law should it take effect. Pro-choice Governor Gretchen Whitmer is fighting to keep the ban unenforceable. For now, Michigan permits abortion until viability but bans abortion at or after viability, unless the life of a pregnant woman is endangered.
The Minnesota Constitution protects the right to abortion. In addition, Governor Tim Walz has signed an executive order to protect people seeking or providing abortions in Minnesota from legal repercussions in other states. At or after viability, an abortion may be performed only if the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
The Mississippi trigger law will take effect on July 7 after Attorney General Lynn Fitch certified it on June 27. Abortion is banned under this law unless the life of a pregnant woman is in danger, or unless a pregnant woman is a victim of rape and has reported the rape to law enforcement. People who perform or attempt to perform an abortion will face felony charges and potentially 10 years in prison. The only abortion clinic in Mississippi has filed a lawsuit to block the law.
Governor Mike Parsons announced that “Missouri became the first state in the nation to effectively end abortions” when he signed a proclamation on June 24. The proclamation activated the Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act, ending elective abortions in Missouri. Abortions are allowed only in medical emergencies. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. While women who receive abortions will not be prosecuted, health care providers may face severe criminal and professional consequences, including 5-15 years in prison and the loss of a medical license.
The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that the right to privacy in the Montana Constitution guarantees access to abortion. However, pro-life Attorney General Austin Knudsen has brought a lawsuit asking the Court to overturn this precedent. A decision may not be reached for several months. The Montana legislature passed pro-life legislation in 2021 that has been blocked by courts on state constitutional grounds. For now, abortion is legal in Montana until viability but may be performed at or after viability only if a pregnant woman faces a risk of death or severely compromised health.
Nebraska did not enact a trigger ban or any other law that would take effect immediately after the Dobbs decision. Pro-life Governor Pete Ricketts has stated that he will call a special session of the legislature over the summer in response to Dobbs. Ricketts believes that life begins at conception and would endorse a near-total ban without exceptions for rape or incest. For now, abortion is prohibited in Nebraska at or after 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), unless a pregnant woman faces a risk of death or severely compromised health.
In 1990, Nevada voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum legalizing abortions during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Since the law arose from a referendum, it may be changed only by voters, rather than the legislature. Abortion is prohibited at or after 24 weeks following fertilization (26 weeks after the last menstrual period) unless a doctor decides that a pregnancy is endangering life or health.
Governor Chris Sununu has stated that he does not expect any changes to abortion law in New Hampshire based on the Dobbs decision. Abortion is prohibited after 24 weeks of gestation, unless a pregnancy threatens the life or health of a pregnant woman, or unless a fetus has been diagnosed with abnormalities incompatible with life.
The Dobbs decision likely will have no impact on abortion rights in New Jersey. A pregnant woman can access abortion with no limit on the gestational age of the fetus. Governor Phil Murphy signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act earlier this year, which guaranteed a fundamental right to reproductive autonomy.
Pro-choice Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a law in 2021 that erased a 1969 abortion ban. (Roe v. Wade had made the ban unenforceable since 1973.) Thus, the Dobbs decision likely will not affect New Mexico. Abortion is legal throughout pregnancy. Grisham also is committed to protecting out-of-state residents seeking abortions in New Mexico.
Abortion has been legal in New York since 1970, even before Roe v. Wade. This means that the Dobbs decision will not affect access to abortion in New York. Governor Kathy Hochul aims to preserve and strengthen abortion rights. Abortion is prohibited at or after viability, unless the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
In 2019, a federal judge ruled that a North Carolina ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy violated Roe v. Wade. The ban thus could be reinstated in the wake of the Dobbs decision. For now, abortion is permitted until viability, but it may be performed at or after viability only if a pregnant woman is at risk of death or severely compromised health.
North Dakota enacted a trigger law to ban abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned. The law will take effect on the 30th day after the North Dakota Attorney General certifies to the Legislative Council that the U.S. Supreme Court has restored the authority to prohibit abortion to the states. Violators would face Class C felony charges for any abortions in situations that do not involve rape, incest, or a threat to the life of a pregnant woman. The only abortion provider in the state plans to move to a Minnesota location just across the state line.
A court has granted a motion by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to dissolve the injunction barring a severely restrictive abortion law. This prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually about six weeks into pregnancy. It does not provide an exception for rape or incest, although it does provide an exception when the procedure is needed to prevent the death or bodily impairment of a pregnant woman. The law does not apply to non-intrauterine pregnancies.
The Oklahoma trigger ban took effect on June 24, when Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor certified that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the right to abortion. The law prohibits abortion at any point following fertilization, unless the procedure is conducted to save the life of a pregnant woman. A health care provider could face 2-5 years in prison for violating the law. On August 26, a new abortion law will increase penalties to a $100,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
Even before the Dobbs decision, Oklahoma had essentially banned most abortions under a law that circumvented Roe v. Wade by using civil lawsuits, rather than criminal prosecution, to enforce the ban.
Oregon has implemented strong protections for abortion. In 2017, the state enacted the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which codified rights to perform and receive abortion services. Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen has said that the Health Authority will continue to ensure that people in Oregon have access to essential reproductive health services, including abortion, without any barriers. There are no significant abortion restrictions in Oregon.
The Dobbs decision has no immediate effect on abortion rights in Pennsylvania, where abortion is legal until 24 weeks after the last menstrual period. Abortion is prohibited at 24 or more weeks, unless the life or health of a pregnant woman is at risk. Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro favor maintaining the current law. In November, however, a new governor will be elected. If pro-life Republican nominee Doug Mastriano wins, abortion restrictions might be tightened significantly. As a state senator, Mastriano advocated for banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.
In 2019, Rhode Island passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, which codified abortion protections in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned. The Rhode Island Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to this law, ruling that it complied with the Rhode Island Constitution. Under this law, the state will not restrict the right to an abortion prior to viability, or afterward when necessary to protect the life or health of a pregnant woman. Thus, the Dobbs decision likely will not affect abortion rights in Rhode Island.
In the wake of the Dobbs decision, a federal court ruled that South Carolina could start to enforce the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection From Abortion Act. This law bans most abortions if an ultrasound detects a fetal heartbeat, which usually begins about six weeks into pregnancy. There are exceptions for rape and incest when the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is less than 20 weeks, for fetal anomalies, and for situations when a pregnant woman is at risk of death or substantial impairment. Violators may face felony charges resulting in a $10,000 fine and two years in prison. Even more restrictive laws may be enacted soon.
The South Dakota trigger law took effect immediately after the Dobbs decision. The law bans all abortions except those that are necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman. Governor Kristi Noem and state legislators announced that the legislature will hold a special session later this year to “make sure that South Dakota law protects the unborn and helps mothers.”
The Tennessee Human Life Protection Act automatically takes effect 30 days after the Dobbs decision. This law prohibits performing or attempting to perform an abortion, except in extreme cases when it is necessary to prevent death or serious and permanent bodily injury to a pregnant woman. Doctors who perform abortions could face 3-15 years in prison. Until this law takes effect, Tennessee will implement a "heartbeat ban," which essentially bars abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. On June 28, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction that had blocked this law.
A near-total abortion ban is intended to take effect in Texas 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court issues its final judgment in the Dobbs case, which should occur about a month after the initial opinion. There is an exception only to save the life of a pregnant woman or prevent substantial impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors who break the law could face life in prison and massive fines.
Prior to the Dobbs decision, Texas circumvented Roe v. Wade with the Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits abortion after the detection of embryonic or fetal cardiac activity. This usually begins about six weeks into pregnancy. The law is enforced through lawsuits by private individuals, rather than government officials, which prevents most challenges in court.
In 2020, the Utah legislature passed a trigger ban, which took effect when the legislative general counsel certified to the Legislative Management Committee that the Dobbs decision allows the state to prohibit the abortion of an unborn child at any time during the gestational period. The ban provides exceptions when the life of a pregnant woman is at risk, a pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, or two qualified physicians determine that a fetus has a certain type of defect.
However, Planned Parenthood of Utah sued in state court, alleging that the law violates the Utah Constitution, and a judge issued a temporary restraining order on July 27, blocking the law from taking effect. The restraining order will last for 14 days, and Planned Parenthood next will pursue a preliminary injunction, which would last for longer.
Under a 2019 law, Vermont government agencies may not deprive a consenting individual of the choice of terminating their pregnancy. Thus, the Dobbs decision probably will not affect abortion in Vermont. In November, Vermont voters will decide whether to add a Reproductive Liberty Amendment to the Vermont Constitution, which would explicitly protect abortion rights. Vermont does not impose any significant restrictions on abortion.
Virginia did not enact a trigger ban or any other law that would take effect after the Dobbs decision, but pro-life Governor Glenn Youngkin plans to pursue a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In the meantime, Virginia generally permits abortions during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. An abortion may be performed during the third trimester only if the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
State authorities acknowledge that all people have the right to choose or refuse to have an abortion. The Dobbs decision thus does not affect abortion in Washington. At or after viability, an abortion may be performed only if the life or health of a pregnant woman is endangered.
The District of Columbia has imposed minimal restrictions on abortion, which is available at any stage of pregnancy. Thus, the Dobbs decision likely will not affect abortion access. Pro-choice Mayor Muriel Bowser is committed to keeping Washington, D.C. a safe and legal city for abortion care. However, she has acknowledged that the city is subservient to Congress because it lacks statehood, and she has urged Congress to codify the right to abortion in federal law.
A 19th-century West Virginia law that bans abortions was never repealed, although Roe v. Wade blocked its enforcement. The law conflicts with modern laws, which allow abortion until 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), and afterward when a pregnant woman faces a risk of death or severely compromised health. Violators of the old law could face 3-10 years in prison. There is an exception for saving the life of a pregnant woman or (oddly) a child.
Governor Jim Justice has called for more interpretation from the legal community and more discussion with the legislature before deciding whether a special session should be called to review the old law. It is unclear whether and how the old law will be enforced, but the only abortion provider in West Virginia has ceased procedures until further notice. West Virginia voters previously approved a constitutional amendment specifying that the West Virginia Constitution does not protect the right to abortion.
A 19th-century Wisconsin law that bans abortions was never repealed, although Roe v. Wade blocked its enforcement. The law conflicts with modern laws, which allow abortion until 20 weeks following fertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period), and afterward when a pregnant woman faces a risk of death or severely compromised health. Violators of the old law could face 1-6 years in prison. There is an exception for saving the life of a pregnant woman.
Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, and various district attorneys have stated that they will not enforce the old law, but it could be enforced by other district attorneys. However, Evers has stated that he would grant clemency to doctors prosecuted under the old law. If Evers or Kaul, or both, fails to win reelection in what are expected to be tightly contested races this fall, enforcement policies could change afterward.
The trigger ban enacted in Wyoming allows Attorney General Bridget Hill 30 days to review the Dobbs decision. If Hill finds that it aligns with the trigger ban, she must report this finding to Governor Mark Gordon and the Joint Judiciary Committee of the Wyoming Legislature. Within the following five days, Gordon may certify the new abortion law and direct the Secretary of State to publish the change. While Gordon is not required to certify the law, his statements in support of the Dobbs decision suggest that he would.
Under the pre-existing statute attached to the trigger ban, abortion would be prohibited except in situations involving rape, incest, or a risk of death or serious injury for a pregnant woman. Violators could face felony charges and up to 14 years in prison. Under Wyoming law, abortion also covers pills and other non-surgical ways to terminate a pregnancy.