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Special Report: Mothers' Lives Matter
Each of the 50 states has explicit statutory provisions for abortion when the mother's life and health is at stake.
Even before the Dobbs ruling, every state in the country had already adopted specific statutory language that permits abortion when it saves the life of the mother or when she experiences a medical emergency caused by pregnancy.
When pro-choice extremists caterwaul that women will die en masse as a result of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, they’re either ignorant to the facts or willfully lying.
Below is an index of each state, the relevant statute, and the corresponding legal language, already codified by law, that protects the life and health of the mother. All bolded text in quotes was added for editorial emphasis and was not part of the original statutory text.
26-23H-4: "An abortion shall be permitted if an attending physician licensed in Alabama determines that an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother. Except in the case of a medical emergency as defined herein, the physician's determination shall be confirmed in writing by a second physician licensed in Alabama. The confirmation shall occur within 180 days after the abortion is completed and shall be prima facie evidence for a permitted abortion."
Alaska: Virtually no restrictions on abortion.
13-3603.0: Regulation of abortion is preceded by, "EXCEPT IN A MEDICAL EMERGENCY...", further in Section 13-3604, prohibits public money EXCEPT, "PERFORM OR PROVIDE AN ABORTION, UNLESS THE ABORTION IS NECESSARY TO SAVE THE LIFE OF THE WOMAN HAVING THE ABORTION."
20-9-302: "A hospital shall not perform an abortion unless the abortion is to save the life of the pregnant woman in a medical emergency."
123420 (d): Regulations specifically do not apply to emergencies: "(d) This section shall not apply to medical emergency situations and spontaneous abortions."
25.5-3-106: "If every reasonable effort has been made to preserve the lives of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, then public funds may be used pursuant to this section to pay or reimburse for necessary medical services, not otherwise provided for by law."
19a-602: "(b) No abortion may be performed upon a pregnant woman after viability of the fetus except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman."
Title 24 Sec. 1790: "(b) A physician may not terminate, attempt to terminate, or assist in the termination or attempt at termination of a human pregnancy otherwise than by birth after viability, unless, in the good faith medical judgment of the physician, the termination is necessary for the protection of the woman’s life or health or in the event of a fetal anomaly for which there is not a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the uterus without extraordinary medical measures."
Title 29, Ch 390.0111: "(b) The physician certifies in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, there is a medical necessity for legitimate emergency medical procedures for termination of the pregnancy to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of imminent substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition, and another physician is not available for consultation."
16-12-141: “(b) No abortion is authorized or shall be performed if an unborn child has been determined in accordance with Code Section 31-9B-2 to have a detectable human heartbeat except when:
(1) A physician determines, in reasonable medical judgment, that a medical emergency exists; [...] (3) A physician determines, in reasonable medical judgment, that the pregnancy is medically futile.”
453-16: “(c) The State shall not deny or interfere with a female's right to choose or obtain an abortion of a nonviable fetus or an abortion that is necessary to protect the life or health of the female.”
18-6-08.1-3: Abortions allowed "in the best medical interest of such pregnant woman, considering those factors enumerated in subsection (1) of this section and such other factors as the physician deems pertinent."
775 ILCS 55/1-25a: "If the health care professional determines that there is fetal viability, the health care professional may provide abortion care only if, in the professional judgment of the health care professional, the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the patient."
16-34-2-1.3.c: Allowed if "(C) before the abortion the attending physician shall certify in writing to the hospital in which the abortion is to be performed, that in the attending physician's professional, medical judgment, after proper examination and review of the woman's history, the abortion is necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the pregnant woman. All facts and reasons supporting the certification shall be set forth by the physician in writing and attached to the certificate." [ ... ] similar language allows for partial birth abortions.
16-1-707.7: "4. This section shall not apply to the termination of a human pregnancy performed by a physician licensed in this state to practice medicine or surgery or osteopathic medicine or surgery when in the best clinical judgment of the physician the termination is performed to preserve the life or health of the pregnant person or of the fetus and every reasonable medical effort not inconsistent with preserving the life of the pregnant person is made to preserve the life of a viable fetus."
65-6703.a(1-2): "(a) No person shall perform or induce an abortion when the unborn child is viable unless such person is a physician and has a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with the physician performing or inducing the abortion and both physicians provide a written determination, based upon a medical judgment arrived at using and exercising that degree of care, skill and proficiency commonly exercised by the ordinary skillful, careful and prudent physician in the same or similar circumstances and that would be made by a reasonably prudent physician, knowledgeable in the field, and knowledgeable about the case and the treatment possibilities with respect to the conditions involved, that: (1) The abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or (2) a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman."
311.723: "No abortion shall be performed except by a physician after either:
(a) He determines that, in his best clinical judgment, the abortion is necessary; or (b) He receives what he reasonably believes to be a written statement signed by another physician, hereinafter called the ‘referring physician,’ certifying that in the referring physician's best clinical judgment the abortion is necessary, and, in addition, he receives a copy of the report form required by KRS 213.101"
14:87.B(1-3): "B. It shall not be unlawful for a physician to perform any of the acts described in Subsection A of this Section if performed under the following circumstances:
(1) The physician terminates the pregnancy in order to preserve the life or health of the unborn child or to remove a stillborn child.
(2) The physician terminates a pregnancy for the express purpose of saving the life, preventing the permanent impairment of a life sustaining organ or organs, or to prevent a substantial risk of death of the mother.
(3) The physician terminates a pregnancy by performing a medical procedure necessary in reasonable medical judgment to prevent the death or substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman.
S.1598: "After viability an abortion may be performed only when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother. "
S20-209: State may not interfere if "(i) The termination procedure is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman"
Sec 16, Chp 112 S12N: "Section 12N. If a pregnancy has existed for 24 weeks or more, no abortion may be performed except by a physician and only if it is necessary, in the best medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the life of the patient, if it is necessary, in the best medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the patient's physical or mental health or, in the best medical judgment of the physician, an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly or the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus."
750.14: "Any person who shall willfully administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, substance or thing whatever, or shall employ any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of any such woman, unless the same shall have been necessary to preserve the life of such woman, shall be guilty of a felony, and in case the death of such pregnant woman be thereby produced, the offense shall be deemed manslaughter."
145.412: "It shall be unlawful to perform an abortion when the fetus is potentially viable unless:
(1) the abortion is performed in a hospital;
(2) the attending physician certifies in writing that in the physician's best medical judgment the abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman; and
(3) to the extent consistent with sound medical practice the abortion is performed under circumstances which will reasonably assure the live birth and survival of the fetus."
41-41-191: “(4) Abortion limited to fifteen (15) weeks’ gestation except in medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality.”
188-017: "2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no abortion shall be performed or induced upon a woman, except in cases of medical emergency. "
50-20-102.d "(d) absent clear proof that an abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman, the abortion of a viable person is an infringement of that person's rights;"
28-327: "No abortion shall be performed except with the voluntary and informed consent of the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed. Except in the case of an emergency situation, consent to an abortion is voluntary and informed only if ...."
442-25: "3. Before performing an abortion pursuant to subsection 2, the attending physician shall enter in the permanent records of the patient the facts on which the physician based his or her best clinical judgment that there is a substantial risk that continuance of the pregnancy would endanger the life of the patient or would gravely impair the physical or mental health of the patient."
329-44: Explicit permission of abortion "to remove an ectopic pregnancy or the products from a spontaneous miscarriage”; recent addition of language (5/27/22): "Except in the case of fetal abnormalities incompatible with life, or a medical emergency as specifically defined in paragraph III, no health care provider shall knowingly perform, induce, or attempt to perform an abortion upon a pregnant woman when the probable gestational age of her fetus has been determined to be at least 24 weeks or in the absence of a determination by a health care provider pursuant to paragraph I as to the fetus' probable gestational age."
New Jersey: Virtually no restrictions
New Mexico: Virtually no restrictions
New York: Virtually no restrictions
14.45.1: "(b) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of G.S. 14-44 and 14-45, it shall not be unlawful, after the twentieth week of a woman's pregnancy, to advise, procure or cause a miscarriage or abortion when the procedure is performed by a qualified physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina in a hospital licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services, if there is a medical emergency as defined by G.S. 90-21.81(5)."
14.02.1-02: “After the point in pregnancy when the unborn child may reasonably be expected to have reached viability, no abortion may be performed except in a hospital, and then only if in the medical judgment of the physician the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the woman or if in the physician's medical judgment the continuation of her pregnancy will impose on her a substantial risk of grave impairment of her physical or mental health.”
2919.17: "(B)(1) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under division (A) of this section that the abortion was performed or induced or attempted to be performed or induced by a physician and that the physician determined, in the physician's good faith medical judgment, based on the facts known to the physician at that time, that either of the following applied:
(a) The unborn child was not viable.
(b) The abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman."
63-1-732: "A. No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman after such time as her unborn child has become viable unless such abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent impairment to her health."
Oregon: Virtually no restrictions
28-29-35: "(a) Prior to performing any abortion upon a woman subsequent to her first trimester of pregnancy, the physician shall determine whether, in his good faith judgment, the child is viable. When a physician has determined that a child is viable, he shall report the basis for his determination that the abortion is necessary to preserve maternal life or health. When a physician has determined that a child is not viable, he shall report the basis for such determination."
Rhode Island: Only restrictions are that Medicaid and state employee benefits can't pay for abortions.
44-41-10: Abortions allowed through third trimester when two physicians "certify in writing to the hospital in which the abortion is to be performed that the abortion is necessary based upon their best medical judgment to preserve the life or health of the woman."
34-23A-2.1: "If a medical emergency compels the performance of an abortion, the physician shall inform the female, prior to the abortion if possible, of the medical indications supporting his judgment that an abortion is necessary to avert her death or that a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."
39-15-202: "(a) Except in a medical emergency that prevents compliance with this subsection (a), no abortion shall be performed or induced upon a pregnant woman unless the woman has provided her informed written consent, given freely and without coercion. Such consent shall be treated as confidential."
171.046: “EXCEPTIONS. (a) The prohibitions and requirements under Sections 171.043, 171.044, and 171.045(b) do not apply to an abortion performed if there exists a condition that, in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the woman that, to avert the woman's death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological condition, it necessitates, as applicable:
(1) the immediate abortion of her pregnancy without the delay necessary to determine the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child;
(2) the abortion of her pregnancy even though the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 or more weeks; or
(3) the use of a method of abortion other than a method described by Section 171.045(b)."
76-7-302.3: "An abortion may be performed in this state only under the following circumstances:
(a) the unborn child is not viable; or
(b) the unborn child is viable, if:
(i) the abortion is necessary to avert:
(A) the death of the woman on whom the abortion is performed; or
(B) a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman on whom the abortion is performed;"
Vermont: Virtually no restrictions.
18.2-74.1: "In the event it is necessary for a licensed physician to terminate a human pregnancy or assist in the termination of a human pregnancy by performing an abortion or causing a miscarriage on any woman in order to save her life, in the opinion of the physician so performing the abortion or causing the miscarriage, §§ 18.2-71, 18.2-73 and 18.2-74 shall not be applicable."
Washington: Virtually no restrictions
61-2-8: "No person, by reason of any act mentioned in this section, shall be punishable where such act is done in good faith, with the intention of saving the life of such woman or child."
940.04: "(5) This section does not apply to a therapeutic abortion which:
(a) Is performed by a physician; and
(b) Is necessary, or is advised by 2 other physicians as necessary, to save the life of the mother; and
(c) Unless an emergency prevents, is performed in a licensed maternity hospital."
35-6-102: "An abortion shall not be performed after the embryo or fetus has reached viability except when necessary to preserve the woman from an imminent peril that substantially endangers her life or health, according to appropriate medical judgment."