Voter Guide: Abortion
Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973. Whether or not government funds will pay for them, or insurers will be required to cover abortions, is a concern for many people.
Insurers Not Required to Pay for Abortions
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not change federal law on whether health insurers cover abortions. The law allows states to enact laws prohibiting plans to include abortion coverage from being sold on the state Marketplace. In addition, the law does not preempt any state law restricting abortions.
Federal Dollars Won’t Pay for Abortions
Existing federal laws prohibit public funds from being used to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when pregnancy poses life-threatening danger to the mother.
Defund Planned Parenthood
Some candidates have argued that the government should be restricted from providing federal grant money to Planned Parenthood. The federal government has provided Planned Parenthood grants to pay for prenatal and pregnancy-related care, cancer screenings, and STD testing, but does not provide money for abortions. Some candidates would like to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any grant money.
Some candidates have argued that abortion should only be available in the case of rape, incest, or when the mother’s health is at risk. In addition, some candidates want to change when abortions can be provided, for example by eliminating third trimester abortions.
Restrictions on Abortion Clinics
Some state legislatures have passed laws requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals. Some states also require abortions to be performed at a hospital after a certain point in the pregnancy.
Some states require waiting periods before an abortion can be performed, mandate pre-abortion counseling, or require parental involvement when the patient is a minor.
Making Abortion Illegal
Candidates have talked about whether abortion should remain legal and in what circumstances. However, the Supreme Court would have to overturn the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade to make abortion illegal nationwide.