Lawmakers in Alabama have been tightening abortion laws. However, the state still does not have the most restrictive laws in the nation.
The state adopted two new abortion-related laws in 2014, AL.com reported
. One increased the waiting period before an abortion can be performed. The other changed the way a minor can appeal to a judge for a waiver of the parental consent law.
The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Case Roe v. Wade legalized a woman’s right to seek an abortion. States have been able to place limitations on abortions, particularly during the second and third trimesters. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion laws
across the nation most deal with public funds and how they can or cannot be used in abortion related cases; the ability of a minor to seek an abortion; and when and where abortions can take place.
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Less than 1 percent of all abortions in the country are performed in Alabama, the Guttmacher Institute said. Alabama birth rates are slightly higher than the rest of the country. About 73 percent of all 2011 pregnancies in the state ended in a live birth. The rate was 68 percent for the nation as a whole. Twelve percent of 2011 pregnancies miscarried – the rest were terminated by abortion. The rate of abortion in Alabama is about 6 percent lower than the national average and has been on a decline in recent years. Abortion rates in that state were down 15 percent between 2008 and 2011.
Like many states, Alabama abortion laws require that the parent of a minor child is informed and gives consent before an abortion can be given to that child. Planned Parenthood said a judge
can lift the consent requirement in Alabama similarly to other states with this rule across the country.
Public funding and health care coverage for abortions is restricted in Alabama to cases where the life of the mother is in danger or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. A woman is required to get an ultrasound before an abortion is performed and must be offered the opportunity to see an image of the ultrasound.
After 20 weeks, an abortion is prohibited unless the woman’s life is in danger. Most states have some laws that prohibit abortions after a certain point in the pregnancy. Many simply state that the procedure is prohibited after “viability.” Alabama’s law is more specific.
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Slightly more than half of all states have laws requiring a waiting period before an abortion is performed. In Alabama, the wait time is 48 hours. This is one of the longest wait times. While a couple of states have waiting periods that extend to 72 hours, most are limited to 24 hours or less.
Abortions after the point of viability may only be performed in a hospital, the Guttmacher Institute said. There must be two physicians participating in the procedure
At the Planned Parenthood clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, patients can get the abortion pill during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. The clinic also offers in-clinic abortions until a patient is 14 weeks pregnant. Pregnancies further along than 14 weeks cannot be performed at the Planned Parenthood clinic.
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