The United States Supreme Court begins a new term today, which might result in new major judgments on issues such as weapons, religious freedom, and abortion.
The case of Mississippi’s currently suspended abortion ban, which seeks to prohibit abortions after the fetus reaches 15 weeks of gestational age, is not expected to be heard before December 1, but the issue of abortion rights has been in the spotlight for weeks as several states battle over new laws.
Mississippi already has the second-strictest abortion law in the country, prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
According to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Texas now has the most restrictive abortion law. It prohibits abortions after 6 weeks of gestation or around four weeks of pregnancy. The law is unique among other prohibitions in that it requires citizens to enforce it. A suspension of the prohibition is also being examined.
Most other states in the US allow abortions until the 22 or 24 weeks of pregnancy, with Virginia allowing them until the 26th week. In some states, abortions are linked to fetal viability, which means that healthy pregnancies can be terminated up to 24 weeks, but those with serious genetic disorders that would prevent the infant from surviving birth can be aborted later.
Later abortions are permitted in all states if the mother’s health and/or life are in grave danger. Seven more states have no abortion regulations at all, allowing them to perform late-term abortions. Despite the differences in laws, most pregnancies in the United States are terminated in the first trimester (up to 14 weeks of gestational age), which is also the time frame for abortion in most European nations.
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