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Is abortion now legal in every state?

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Anti-Abortion Activists March In Washington
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Question: Is abortion now legal in every state?
Answer: Yes. The Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973) established that the right to have an abortion is protected by the U.S. Constitution, which means that states are prohibited from banning abortions performed prior to the point of viability. Roe originally established viability at 24 weeks; Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992) shortened it to 22 weeks.

But note that although abortion is legal in every state, it is not necessarily available in every state. In Mississippi, for example, there is only one abortion clinic that services the entire state, and it only performs abortions up to 16 weeks. One strategy used by the anti-abortion movement involves driving abortion clinics out of business, which arguably serves the same function as a state-level ban.

And speaking of state-level bans, a number of states have passed "trigger bans" that would automatically make abortion illegal in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. So while abortion is legal in every state right now, it will not remain so if Roe is one day overturned. Fortunately, this is unlikely.

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  5. Equal Rights
  6. Gender & Sexuality
  7. Abortion
  8. After Roe v. Wade, Is Abortion Legal in Every State?

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