Although Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal in all 50 states in 1973, the issue of abortion has remained a controversial one. Many politicians have sought to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and 16 states have never repealed laws that were deemed unconstitutional by the landmark Supreme Court case.
One of the biggest issues with abortion is whether or not it should be legal in the case of rape or incest. While the law almost always allows abortion in these cases or if the mother’s life is in danger, some states have still sought to limit abortions even in these instances.
Abortion laws vary greatly from one state to the next, but here are four states with some of the most restrictive laws regarding abortion.
Recently, North Dakota passed what has been called the toughest anti-abortion bill in the nation. This new law effectively bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually after six weeks of pregnancy. The law also targets doctors who perform abortions after this time by imposing a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. These doctors may also lose their license to practice medicine. Women who have abortions after six weeks of pregnancy cannot be prosecuted under this law, which will take effect on August 1, 2013.
Although the new law won’t rule out abortions in cases where the woman’s life is threatened, it does ban abortions in cases of rape and incest. Opponents of the law have also pointed out that many women do not know that they are pregnant during the first six weeks of pregnancy, a fact that would effectively eliminate abortion as an option in almost all cases.
In March 2013, Arkansas passed the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, a law that prohibits abortion after 12 weeks of gestation if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Until North Dakota passed its own anti-abortion law outlawing the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, the Human Heartbeat Protection Act was the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country. However, as restrictive as it is, it does not cover the termination of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest nor does it restrict abortions performed to save a woman’s life.
The Human Heartbeat Protection Act was temporarily blocked by a federal judge this past May, although only time will tell if that will become permanent.
Another state with exceptionally strict abortion laws is Kansas, which recently signed a bill that defines life as beginning at fertilization. The law, which is expected to take effect this July, doesn’t supplant the current laws in effect that ban abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy, but it does prevent abortion clinic employees from providing sex education in schools and bans tax credits for abortion services. It also requires abortion clinics to provide information on fetal development and abortion risks to women and allows abortion bans based on the gender of the fetus.
This law doesn’t completely change the landscape of the abortion debate in Kansas nor does it outlaw abortion in cases of rape, but it does place Kansas in a position to ban abortion should Roe vs. Wade be overturned.
Louisiana has very strict abortion laws. In fact, the practice would be entirely illegal if it wasn’t for Roe vs. Wade. As in other states, abortion is legal in Louisiana provided it happens in the earliest stages of pregnancy. However, abortion in Louisiana is illegal when performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy except when the mother’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy has been deemed “medically futile.” All women must undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, and minors require written consent from parents or guardians.
This article was written together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping bring justice to the world. He writes this on behalf of The Law Offices of Karen L. Goldstein, your number one choice for representation for cases involving Sex Crimes. Check out her website today to see how she can help you get what you deserve.