Abortion Waiting Period Requirements

State abortion waiting period laws require an individual seeking abortion to wait a specified time period after receiving mandatory counseling, usually between 24 to 72 hours, before they can obtain the procedure. The mandatory counseling that must occur prior to obtaining an abortion goes beyond the customary informed consent that is generally required for all medical procedures, and sometimes includes misleading information regarding abortion procedures. Additionally, many states require that the individual seeking an abortion make an additional trip to the facility to receive the required information. These counseling and waiting period laws may also include requirements for the individual seeking abortion to first or receive information regarding medication abortion reversal, or obtain an ultrasound and/or fetal heart tone auscultation.

This dataset explores abortion regulations in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in effect from December 1, 2018 through March 1, 2021, as well as case law and attorney general opinions that affect the enforceability of these laws.

This dataset is a part of a suite of 16 datasets created by the Policy Surveillance Program of the Center for Public Health Law Research in collaboration with subject matter experts from Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), Guttmacher Institute, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), National Abortion Federation (NAF), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), who conceptualized and developed the Abortion Law Project. If you need broader contextual information on state laws and policies, national level information, or data and evidence related to abortion and other reproductive health issues, please contact the Guttmacher Institute at info@guttmacher.org

Disclaimer: The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions regarding your legal rights or obligations, contact an attorney. If you are an abortion provider seeking legal compliance guidance, the following collaborating organizations may be able to assist you: ACLU, CRR, PPFA (for affiliated health centers), NAF, and Regulatory Assistance for Abortion Providers (a project of RAD).

If you have any questions about the information provided here, please contact LawAtlas@temple.edu or RAAP@radprogram.org.

The State Abortion Laws Database will be updated biannually, with the next publication scheduled for release in August 2021.

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