As God is the Author of life, Family Research Council recognizes and respects the inherent dignity of every human life from conception until death. We work to pass federal and state legislation that highlights this principle, including laws that protect the unborn.
The maps below illustrate progress in the states on key pro-life laws. FRC educates policymakers, grassroots activists, and the general public about the benefits of such laws in building a culture of life – where every human life is valued as an intrinsic good, not something whose value is conditional upon its usefulness to others or to the state.
On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion is protected under the U.S. Constitution, on the basis of a supposed right to privacy provided by the Fourteenth Amendment. This monumental decision repealed nearly every state law protecting unborn life and made abortion throughout pregnancy the legal default in the United States. In addition, the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision of 1992 added that a state could not impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s attempt to obtain an abortion pre-viability (i.e., the age when an unborn child is considered capable of surviving outside the womb, generally set at 22-24 weeks gestation).
In the nearly 50 years since the infamous Roe decision, states have enacted numerous laws protecting unborn life, only for many of them to be blocked by the courts. Now, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that would protect unborn life at 15 weeks gestation, which is pre-viability. Mississippi’s law directly challenges the legal precedent established in Roe and Casey. The Court now has the opportunity to correct its wrongful decisions in Roe and Casey and return the question of abortion’s legality to the states.
This map gives an overview of what laws could look like in the 50 states in the event that Roe is overturned. It focuses on six main categories of protections for the unborn, ranging from protecting life at conception to not protecting life at all:
- Protect Unborn Life at Conception (18 states) – These laws protect unborn life from conception (these may contain exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomaly, or the life of the mother) and come in three different forms: a law that existed prior to Roe, has been passed since Roe, or is set to go into effect in the event that Roe is overturned.
- Protect Unborn Life When a Heartbeat Is Detected (4 states) – These laws protect unborn life when a fetal heartbeat can be detected (generally between 5-6 weeks gestation).
- Protect Unborn Life Based on Gestational Age (6 states) – These laws protect unborn life at a specific gestational age. Many of them come in the form of pain-capable laws that protect unborn children when they can feel pain. Scientific research continues to make new discoveries concerning fetal pain, making the threshold for future pain laws even earlier than previously thought.
- Protect Unborn Life at Viability (2 states) – These laws protect unborn life at the point an unborn child is believed to be viable (generally between 22-24 weeks gestation).
Do not protect life
- Do Not Protect Unborn Life by Exploiting the “Health” of the Mother Exception (14 states) – The Supreme Court decision from Doe v. Bolton said that a state must permit a "health" exception to pro-life laws. "Health" was defined so broadly as to allow abortions throughout pregnancy for nearly any reason, including the mental or emotional health of the mother.
- Do Not Protect Unborn Life (6 states) – These states do not have any laws protecting unborn life, allowing legal abortions at any point for any reason.
Click on a state to see what protections could go into effect when Roe is overturned. For more information, read our Issue Analysis at frc.org/postroe
Protects unborn life at conception
Protects unborn life when the child’s heartbeat is detected
Protects unborn life based on gestational age
Protects unborn life when the child is viable
Does not protect unborn life (interpreting "health" to allow all abortions)
Does not protect unborn life
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Joshua Arnold, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397
FRC's New Pro-Life Map Shows Which States Fund Planned Parenthood and Other Abortion Centers
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today Family Research Council released the fourth in a series of interactive pro-life maps, tracking state funding of the abortion industry through three principal funding streams: Medicaid, Title X family planning funds, and state appropriations.
Twenty-three states have defunded (or attempted to defund) abortions with taxpayer dollars. (Some efforts have been stalled or stopped by the courts.)
- Texas is the only state to have defunded (or attempted to defund) abortions and abortion providers in Medicaid, Title X and state appropriations, and to have been granted a Section 1115 waiver from the Trump Administration to divert federal Medicaid funds away from abortion providers.
- Six additional states have good laws that defund abortion providers in the three principle funding streams: Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
- Sixteen states have only partial defunding laws (not addressing all three principle funding streams) and/or temporary defunding policies (executive orders, state budgets, etc.): Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.
- Another 14 states have not taken any action to defund abortion providers: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming. (States that merely enacted a "state Hyde Amendment," duplicating federal protections in Medicaid, are not credited on this map with having taken a significant step in defunding abortion providers.)
- Thirteen states have taken steps to directly fund abortions and abortion providers with taxpayer dollars: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
As early as 1976, Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) lead the effort to ban federal funding for abortions in Medicaid, one of the largest government health care programs. Despite the federal Hyde Amendment and ongoing congressional and state efforts to restrict taxpayer dollars from flowing to the abortion industry, the abortion industry receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year.
Quena González, Director of State and Local Affairs at Family Research Council, said: "For too long, Planned Parenthood--America's largest abortion company--has taken millions of dollars every year in taxpayer money. Most of that money flows through the states, giving governors and state legislators tremendous opportunities to defund the abortion industry. FRC's map highlights state actions to restrict or stop that flow. Since 1976 the federal Hyde Amendment has recognized the principle that taxpayers should not underwrite abortions or the abortion industry. It's time for Congress and the states to finish Congressman Hyde's work. This map shows voters where states have or have not acted to turn off the main funding streams the abortion industry uses to siphon off taxpayer dollars."
Connor Semelsberger, Legislative Assistant for Pro-life Issues at Family Research Council, remarked: "With renewed efforts to repeal the federal Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding for elective abortions, and the push in some states to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortions, it is vitally important to pass laws protecting taxpayers from subsidizing abortion. Now more than ever states must do what they can to separate taxpayer funds from the abortion industry. Abortion is not healthcare and should not be funded as such."
To see if your state provides funding for abortions, visit: http://frc.org/prolifemaps.
Abortion is dehumanizing to both mothers and their unborn children. State fetal dignity laws use a variety of means to promote and protect the dignity of the unborn. The need for such laws is clear: Whether it's abortionists like Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania and Dr. Ulrich Klopfer in Illinois (who were caught hoarding the remains of the unborn they had aborted), or America's foremost purveyor of abortion, Planned Parenthood (who was caught on tape in 2015 selling aborted baby body parts), the abortion industry's horrific practices dehumanize and desensitize all of us.
Fortunately, many states have stepped forward to enact laws which recognize the inherent dignity of the unborn by reaffirming their basic humanity. This map tracks five types of state laws:
- Prohibiting the transfer of fetal tissue harvested from the unborn during an abortion
- Requiring the remains of the unborn after an abortion to be buried or cremated
- Banning the use of fetal tissue for research
- Prohibiting the sale or profit of aborted baby body parts
- Providing death certificates for stillborn and miscarried babies
All five types of laws are important to recognizing and protecting the dignity of unborn children. Click on a state to see whether and how it protects fetal dignity. For more information, read our Issue Analysis “Respecting the Unborn through Fetal Dignity Laws” (frc.org/fetaldignity).
Born-Alive laws require that medical care be provided to infants born alive during an attempted abortion. In 2002, Congress passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which clarified that infants who survive abortion are persons under the law but did not include any legal enforcement. In the ensuing years states have passed varying levels of born-alive protections to make up for the lack of federal enforceability.
Currently, 38 states have at least some born-alive protections. However, only 18 states have the three elements of strong born-alive protections, which are reflected in the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, currently pending in Congress:
- a requirement that practitioners must exercise professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life of infants who survive abortion;
- a requirement that surviving infants be immediately transported to a hospital and/or requiring the presence of a second physician during the abortion; and
- legal penalties for abortionists who do not comply.
At this moment, federal law and 32 states do not adequately protect the lives of infants who survive abortion.
Click on a state to see its born-alive protections