Georgia not alone: Neighboring states tighten abortion restrictions

A federal court on Wednesday upheld a Georgia law that bans abortion in most cases once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy.

Georgia teens and women seeking an abortion also have increasingly limited options in neighboring states after several tightened restrictions in recent weeks. Some laws that would severely limit abortion access are still tied up in courts in different parts of the country.

North Carolina has the fewest restrictions among Georgia’s neighbors. It still allows abortions before fetal viability, typically at around 24 or 26 weeks of pregnancy.

Florida’s restrictions also are more modest than in Georgia. It allows abortions until 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Alabama has the most severe restrictions, completely banning abortions with very limited exceptions.

Tennessee and South Carolina ban abortions at six weeks, like Georgia under its new law.

Many states have moved to further limit abortions or ban the procedure entirely since June 24, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned constitutional protections for abortion. Before the ruling, abortion was allowed until fetal viability.

ExploreFederal court says Georgia’s anti-abortion law should be allowed to take effect

Georgia passed its “heartbeat” law in 2019, prohibiting most abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Exceptions to the law include rape, incest, if the life of the woman is in danger, or instances of medical futility, when a fetus would not be able to survive after birth.

The 2019 law had been put on hold pending a Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights.

Here is a link to an interactive map by the Guttmacher Institute, a research nonprofit that supports abortion rights. The map includes state-by-state summaries of abortion regulations, which continue to shift in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court ruling.