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 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 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 as of December 1, 2018, 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 the Guttmacher Institute, Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), 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).

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