Publication Date: 
Thursday, January 17, 2019

State abortion waiting period laws require an individual seeking abortion to wait a specified time period after receiving mandatory counseling, usually between 24 to 72 hours, before they can obtain the procedure. The mandatory counseling that must occur prior to obtaining an abortion goes beyond the customary informed consent that is generally required for all medical procedures, and sometimes includes misleading information regarding abortion. Additionally, many states require that the individual seeking abortion make an additional trip to the facility to receive the required information. These counseling and waiting period laws may also require the individual seeking abortion to first obtain an ultrasound and/or fetal heart tone auscultation.    

The requirements coded in this dataset are found in state statutes and regulations, and may differ from the information that appears in written counseling materials actually distributed by the state. This dataset explores laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that address waiting period requirements for obtaining an abortion, in effect as of December 1, 2018, as well as case law and attorney general opinions that affect the enforceability of these laws.

This map was created as part of the Abortion Law Project, a collaboration between the Policy Surveillance Program, Guttmacher Institute, Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.