Undue Burdens: State Abortion Laws in the United States, 1994-2022

Louise Marie Roth, Jennifer Hyunkyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

State laws have influenced access to abortion in the 50 years since Roe v. Wade. The 2022 Dobbs decision returned questions about the legality of abortion to the states, which increased the importance of state laws for abortion access. The objective of this study is to illustrate trends in abortion-restrictive and abortion-supportive state laws using a unique longitudinal database of reproductive health laws across the United States from 1994 to 2022. This study offers a descriptive analysis of historical trends in state-level pre-viability abortion bans, abortion method bans, efforts to dissuade abortion,TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws, other laws that restrict reproductive choice, and laws that expand abortion access and support reproductive health. Data sources include state statutes (from Nexis Uni) and secondary sources. The data reveal that pre-viability bans, including gestation-based bans and total bans, became significantly more prevalent over time. Other abortion-restrictive laws increased from 1994 to 2022, but states also passed a growing number of laws that support reproductive health. Increasing polarization into abortion-restrictive and abortionsupportive states characterized the 1994-2022 period. These trends have implications for maternal and infant health and for racial/ethnic and income disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-543
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023

Keywords

  • abortion
  • personhood
  • reproductive health law
  • reproductive justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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