The courts, Congress, and many states have enacted various restrictions to abortion. They include:

  •     Prohibiting federal funding for women on Medicaid, Peace Corps volunteers, women in federal prison, Native Americans covered by the Indian Health Service, women in the military, and federal employees.
  •     Restricting federally funded family-planning clinics from counseling clients about abortion, in a U.S. Supreme Court case called Rust v. Sullivan.
  •     Banning certain types of abortions in some states.
  •     Prohibiting the use of state funds for abortion services, including counseling, in certain jurisdictions.
  •     Mandating that young women notify a parent prior to obtaining an abortion, or seeking a court order to have one without parental notification.
  •     Mandating waiting periods after requesting an abortion. These are usually at least overnight.
The question is not only whether abortion should be left up to each individual woman and her doctor, but also:

    How much flexibility states should have to regulate abortion. Thirty-one states have banned "partial birth" abortions. Though abortion opponents argue that the legislation bans late-term procedures, the vague wording of the legislation often can apply to abortion procedures used early in the pregnancy. Courts around the country have ruled against these bans, finding that the description of the procedure places an "undue burden" on a womens right to choose. This spring, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a Nebraska case to decide whether states may issue such bans. This marks the first time the courts have visited this issue since 1992, and the ruling could determine the ability to states to regulate and restrict abortion.


    How much leeway opponents of abortion opponents have in protesting. Abortion arouses passionate opinions and, in some cases, violence against abortion providers. Seven people have died as a result of anti-abortion attacks, and there have been hundreds of incidents of vandalism of abortion clinics. Congress recently barred those who commit acts of violence against abortion clinics, women, and doctors, from seeking protection under bankruptcy laws.