Abortion Rights Under State Constitutions: A Fifty-State Survey
By Robert L. Bentlyewski
The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and its progeny, removing any federal law protection of the right to an abortion. However, numerous state supreme courts have interpreted their state constitutions to independently recognize such a right, finding their state’s equal protection, due process, and privacy rights more expansive than those at the federal level. This Essay surveys all fifty states to ascertain how much protection each state currently affords to women’s right to an abortion. Most state supreme courts have not made a determinative ruling on the issue, and a significant majority of state constitutions do not contain a provision explicitly protecting or denying the right, so state courts are likely to be the venues for many of the contentious fights over abortion rights in the years to come.