Refusal laws, sometimes known as “conscience clauses,” allow an individual or facility to refuse to participate in an abortion based on a moral or religious objection to the procedure. State laws vary as to who may refuse to participate an abortion procedure, and whether ancillary abortion services, such as counseling or referral, are included. Currently, nearly every state has a law that allows medical providers, other related personnel, and medical facilities to refuse to provide abortion services. Some state refusal laws also include minimum protections for the patient seeking an abortion, such as notifying the patient of the refusal, or providing a referral for alternate care.
This dataset explores abortion regulations in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in effect as of December 1, 2018, as well as case law and attorney general opinions that affect the enforceability of these laws.
This dataset is a part of a suite of 16 datasets created by the Policy Surveillance Program of the Center for Public Health Law Research in collaboration with subject matter experts from the Guttmacher Institute, Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), National Abortion Federation (NAF), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), who conceptualized and developed the Abortion Law Project. If you need broader contextual information on state laws and policies, national level information, or data and evidence related to abortion and other reproductive health issues, please contact the Guttmacher Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions regarding your legal rights or obligations, contact an attorney. If you are an abortion provider seeking legal compliance guidance, the following collaborating organizations may be able to assist you: ACLU, CRR, PPFA (for affiliated health centers), NAF, and Regulatory Assistance for Abortion Providers (a project of RAD).