Special Report

16 States That Protect the Right to Abortion

The June 24, 2022, Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. In the absence of federal protections to abortion access, there has been a flurry of activity in state legislatures across the country, as lawmakers have moved to adapt to the monumental shift. 

While millions of American women now reside in states where abortions are prohibited, several states have taken action to protect abortion rights, encoding them into law. 

Using data from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights advocacy group, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where abortion access is explicitly protected by law. In each of the 16 states on this list, abortion access is legally protected, either until fetal viability or throughout pregnancy. 

It is important to note that abortion access is still available in many states that are not on this list – where abortion protections are not codified into law. The states on this list are located almost exclusively in the Northeast and along the West Coast. 

Though abortion access is legally protected in these states, there are still some restrictions. For example, in most of these states, some or all health care providers are permitted to refuse to provide abortion services. 

Several of these states are also among those that offer no state-level protections for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of Medicaid to fund abortion services. Because Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program for low-income Americans, the Hyde Amendment effectively restricts abortion access for the most economically vulnerable Americans. (Here is a look at the 34 states where abortion has been inaccessable since 1976.)

While there are some key caveats, these states remain leaders in the abortion-rights cause. Some are even in the process of advancing abortion protections beyond where they currently stand. In Vermont, for example, voters will decide in November whether to add abortion protections to the state’s constitution. Advocates in Colorado, meanwhile, are considering a similar ballot measure for 2024. (Here is a look at the best and worst states for women.

Click here to see the states where abortion access is guaranteed.

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