If you don’t know already, a quick scroll down your news feed on two different days will make one thing clear: In addition to being constantly debated, abortion laws are constantly in flux.
That’s why we put together this cheat sheet on the current laws in all 50 states, with a roundup of three abortion providers per state. For states without providers, you’ll find info about your nearest out-of-Province options.
There are two main types of abortion. The best option for you depends on factors like:
- how long you’ve been pregnant
- where you live (more on this below)
- personal preference
Medication abortions are an option if you’re fewer than 10 weeks pregnant.
This non-surgical approach involves taking two prescription medications (misoprostol and mifepristone) at home. The medication causes the lining of your uterus to shed, causing your period to start.
A surgical abortion entails going to a clinic for a procedure that empties the contents of your uterus.
This can be done two ways:
- Aspiration. This is an option if you’re fewer than 16 weeks pregnant. First, you’ll be given medication for relaxation and pain. Your healthcare provider will then numb your cervix and insert a small suction tube.
- Dilation and evacuation. This is an option if you’re more than 16 weeks pregnant. It’s similar to aspiration, but your healthcare provider will also dilate your cervix. Using a combination of surgical tools and suction, they’ll remove the products of pregnancy from your uterus.
When on the hunt for an abortion provider, make sure to avoid crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs).
Using a combo of false information and shaming tactics, these centres aim to keep people from accessing abortion services.
Some states require something called abortion counselling. That may sound legit, but some states require providers to make false claims during these sessions.
Here’s a look at some of the claims you may hear during your consultation and the truth behind them.
1. Abortion increases your risk for breast cancer: False
“Some states require that providers tell abortion seekers that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, but this is not true,” says Dr Jennifer Karlin, a board-certified family physician and research fellow with the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.
“There has been no research showing any connection between abortion and breast cancer risk,” she adds.
2. Abortion affects your fertility: False
Whether or not you’ve had an abortion has no impact on your ability to get pregnant in the future. It also does not increase your risk for complications during any future pregnancies.
3. Abortion causes lasting trauma: False
Some states require providers to inform you that having an abortion can result in a condition called a post-abortion syndrome, which is said to cause lasting emotional distress, similar to PTSD.
Sure, many people experience intense emotions before or right after having an abortion. But there’s no evidence to suggest these effects are long-lasting or go on to affect your overall well-being. The post-abortion syndrome also isn’t a medically recognized condition.
4. Abortion is reversible: False
In certain states, providers are required to tell you that medication abortions can be stopped halfway through if you don’t take all the prescribed pills or instead take a high dose of progesterone.
Both of these claims are false.
5. Abortion causes fetal pain: It depends
This is a complex issue and a common topic of debate around abortion.
Most experts agree with trusted Source that a fetus can’t feel pain in the first 24 weeks, which is the time period in which most abortions are done.
Some suggest this may be possible as early as 12 weeks, but there isn’t evidence to support this.
Now for the real reason, you’re reading this piece: to see what the options are in your state and how to find a provider.
In this section, you’ll find details about the laws and legal requirements in your Province.