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Abortion is a safe, legal way to end an unwanted pregnancy. (If abortion isn’t right for you, remember you have other options, too.)

Ending a pregnancy isn’t just safe — it’s also very common. Nearly a quarter of people who become pregnant in the United States will have an abortion by the age of 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

In the United States, you no longer have a constitutional right to get an abortion. On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade— the landmark 1973 ruling that gave people the right to an abortion before fetal viability.

This means that individual states can now decide their own abortion laws, including whether people can end a pregnancy at all.

With so much upheaval, it may be a confusing time. But we’re here to help. Below, we’ll cover the facts on abortion timelines in the United States.

Outside the United States? You’ll find some international abortion resources and information at the end of the article.

Stay informed

The information in this article was accurate and up to date at the time of publication, but it’s possible the information has changed since. To learn more about your legal rights, you can message the Repro Legal Helpline via a secure online form or call 844-868-2812.

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First, we’d like to offer a word of caution about home remedies.

If you know you don’t want to carry a pregnancy to term but worry you may have trouble accessing abortion in your area, you might consider home remedy alternatives.

Home remedy options for ending a pregnancy might include:

  • teas and herbs
  • supplements
  • alcohol and other substances
  • excessive exercise
  • physical harm to yourself

Very little, if any, scientific evidence supports these methods as safe, reliable ways to induce abortion. Not only are they unlikely to end a pregnancy, but they can also have major health consequences for you.

In short, home remedies are always best avoided.

For some people, an unintended pregnancy can lead to emotional distress. You might feel frightened, anxious, and possibly even desperate.

You may also be worrying about how you can end a pregnancy if you live in a state where abortion has been banned.

We want to emphasize, though, that you *do* have options, no matter your location or circumstances. In other words: There’s no need to put your health at risk.

The steps to determining how far along you are might seem fairly complicated, even at the best of times. When you already feel stressed and overwhelmed, this might present even more of a task.

You’ll need to know the date of your last menstrual period (LMP) to calculate how many weeks pregnant you are. Even if you know, without a doubt, the exact date you became pregnant, healthcare professionals calculate gestational age from your LMP.

If your periods are regular: Count, by week, from the first day of your last period to today’s date. Your answer will tell you how many weeks along you are.

It gets more complicated if your periods are irregular or if you can’t recall when your last period was. If that’s the case, you’ll want to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

A doctor or other healthcare professional can do an ultrasound to determine how many weeks pregnant you are before giving you more information about your options.

Medication abortion is a reliable option to terminate an early pregnancy.

You might also hear this method called the “abortion pill,” though it usually involves two different medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.

Medical abortions are approved by the FDA up until week 10 of pregnancy but may be used slightly later in some cases. These medications become less effective the further along a pregnancy is.

Before week 10 of pregnancy, this method is very effective, but it might not work for everyone. A healthcare professional will likely recommend a surgical abortion if you:

By week 11 of pregnancy, its effectiveness drops to about 87 percent, according to Planned Parenthood.

After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, several states’ abortion laws changed, with more scheduled to change in the coming weeks as a result of the likes of trigger laws or the lifting of temporary blocks on such trigger laws.

So far, at least 10 states have banned all methods of abortion:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi, except in the case of rape
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma, except in the case of rape or incest
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

But medication abortion remains legal in most states and is predicted to remain legal in just under half.

Many states that allow medical abortion have set restrictions around the procedure, though, requiring the clinician who provides the medication to be a physician or medical doctor and/or for the clinician who dispenses the medication to be physically present.

A few states have much stricter gestational age restrictions.

Georgia and Ohio ban both medical and surgical abortions beginning at 6 weeks, meaning you can only get an abortion until the end of week 5 of pregnancy.

Idaho and Tennessee also ban medical and surgical abortions beginning at 6 weeks. However, trigger laws banning nearly all abortions in both states are set to take effect on August 25, 2022.

Telehealth options for medical abortions

Many of the states with the most restrictive abortion laws have restricted access to ending a pregnancy by telehealth. But if the state you live in hasn’t restricted telehealth access, you may be able to get a medical abortion from the privacy of your own home during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Currently, these recognized organizations provide telemedicine abortion:

These organizations offer a consultation before prescribing abortion pills and provide support during and after the procedure.

They may also be able to help you if you can travel to a state where telehealth abortion is legal.

Learn more about your options for abortion.

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After week 10 of pregnancy, doctors typically recommend a surgical abortion.

Only a few states allow surgical abortion at any point during pregnancy with no specific restrictions.

Many states that allow surgical abortion have restrictions in place that ban abortion after a certain point in pregnancy, usually 20 to 24 weeks. This currently includes:

  • North Carolina currently bans abortion beginning at 20 weeks, meaning you can only get an abortion until the end of week 19 of pregnancy.
  • Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia ban abortion beginning at 22 weeks, meaning you can only get an abortion until the end of week 21 of pregnancy.
  • Indiana also bans abortion beginning at 22 weeks. However, a trigger law banning nearly all abortions is set to take effect on September 15, 2022.
  • Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania ban abortion beginning at 24 weeks, meaning you can only get an abortion until the end of week 23 of pregnancy.

A few states have much stricter gestational age restrictions:

  • Florida bans abortion beginning at 15 weeks, meaning you can only get an abortion until the end of week 14 of pregnancy.
  • Utah bans abortion beginning at 18 weeks, meaning you can only get an abortion until the end of week 17 of pregnancy.

Currently, most states that allow abortion allow the procedure up to week 20 of pregnancy — but that doesn’t mean they make the process easy. Depending on where you live, you may have to navigate any number of restrictions, like lengthy waiting periods and limited abortion clinics, before the procedure takes place.

Trying to make sense of the limitations in your state? Our state-by-state guide to abortion restrictions can help.

Generally, two different options for surgical abortion exist: vacuum aspiration and dilation and evacuation. These procedures take place at a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.

Vacuum aspiration

You can get this type of abortion up to week 16 of pregnancy, which covers the first trimester and the beginning of the second.

Here’s what an aspiration abortion involves.

Dilation and evacuation (D&E)

You’ll get this type of abortion during the second trimester, typically once you’ve passed week 14 of pregnancy.

Here’s what a D&E procedure involves.

After 24 weeks of pregnancy, you can only get a D&E procedure or induction abortion.

Often, healthcare professionals will only recommend an induction abortion if you can’t get a D&E. That said, this is done on a case-by-case basis.

If you prefer to have an induction abortion, which allows the fetus to be delivered intact, talk with a healthcare professional.

Other reasons for getting an induction abortion include:

  • which procedures are available at the medical facility
  • the gestational age of the pregnancy
  • your individual medical history
  • if you want to go under general anesthesia

Here’s what an induction abortion involves.


States that allow abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy may use viability to determine when you can get an abortion.

Viability, in basic terms, means the age at which a fetus could survive outside the uterus. There’s no set date at which a fetus becomes viable, but experts generally agree this happens somewhere between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

These states include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

(Arizona used to be on the list, but is expected to ban abortion after 15 weeks in September 2022.)

After this point, you’ll only be able to end a pregnancy in the above states if continuing it poses a threat to your life or physical health. A threat to your health means significant or irreversible harm to a major bodily function.

Some states allow abortion after 24 weeks or past the point of viability under other circumstances, such as in the case of a fatal fetal anomaly in Delaware and Maryland.

A healthcare professional can offer more insight and compassionate guidance on the next steps in the case of a fetal anomaly or when the pregnancy threatens your health.

Do all states limit when you can get an abortion?

The states and districts that currently have no gestational age restrictions on abortion are:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.

These locations may set other limitations, though, including parental notification if you’re a minor.

If you live in one of these areas, a healthcare professional can offer more guidance and information about abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Many states have laws that require you to notify a parent or guardian or get their consent before having an abortion if you’re under the age of 18.

  • In 9 states, you have to notify a parent or guardian first.
  • In 27 states, one or both of your parents or guardians must consent before you can end a pregnancy.

In Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia, a healthcare professional can waive this requirement in some limited circumstances.

Use our guide to find your state and learn more.

Abortion access varies widely by country.

The Center for Reproductive Rights offers more information on abortion laws worldwide, along with a map you can use to check the abortion laws in your country.

Even when you know ending a pregnancy is right for you, recent and upcoming state restrictions may limit your power to make your own choices.

But no matter where you live, timely support can allow you to evaluate your options and find a professional who can help.

These resources can offer more support, before, during, and after abortion:

Crystal Raypole writes for Healthline and Psych Central. Her fields of interest include Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health, along with books, books, and more books. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues. She lives in Washington with her son and a lovably recalcitrant cat.