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Research study

Georgia’s Later Abortion Ban

- back to the Evaluation of Abortion Restrictions Project

Background

In May 2012, Georgia passed a “20-week” abortion ban, banning providers from performing abortions starting at 22 weeks from a women’s last menstrual period (LMP). Although Georgia was the tenth state to pass such a ban, it was the first state to do so where a considerable number of abortions were actually being provided beyond this gestation. This ban has been partially blocked by a court order on a preliminary basis, but part of the law went into effect January 1, 2013. To comply with this piece of the law, providers in the state have generally stopped providing abortion care starting at 24 weeks LMP, with limited exceptions. If this block on the ban is lifted, Georgia will begin banning abortions starting at 22 weeks LMP, with very limited exceptions.

Objectives

To describe the groups of women affected by the Georgia state law that went into effect in January 2013 that led Georgia providers to stop providing abortion care at 24 weeks from LMP, as well as the groups of women who would be affected if the full “20-week” ban goes into effect.

Study design

Data were collected from facilities in Georgia that provide later abortions. Data from women who had an abortion at or beyond 20 weeks gestation in 2012 and 2013 were abstracted from routinely collected data.

Georgia ban on later abortion has widespread effect

Key findings

  • A 2012 law that restricts later abortion care in Georgia has implications beyond Georgia, and impacts women throughout the South, the Midwest, and parts of the Northeast.
  • Women travel to Georgia from throughout the South, the Midwest, and parts of the Northeast for abortion care after 20 weeks; if Georgia’s full 20-week ban goes into effect, Florida will be the only state in the Southeast offering outpatient abortion care after 20 weeks.
  • Prior to part of the ban going into effect in 2013, women traveled from throughout the South, the Midwest, and the Northeast to receive abortion care in Georgia after 24 weeks. Because of the law, these services are no longer available in the Southeast or Midwest.
  • When a type of abortion care, such as later abortion care, is already scarce in a geographic region, banning it in one state in that region has an impact on women’s health and access well-beyond that state

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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