A: It’s important to know your legal rights. Abortion is still legal in many states, and other reproductive healthcare services remain protected by law.
*Your Legal Right to Access Abortion Services*
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision did not outlaw abortion but gave the states the power to do so. Access to abortion now depends on the state you live in. Under current laws, it is not illegal to travel to another state to get an in-person abortion. It’s also currently legal to travel to get abortion pills through an online telehealth visit in another state. This option may save you time and money. You may be able to go just across state lines into a state that has a telehealth abortion provider.
If there is a waiting period in your state (meaning you need to have two appointments with time in between) you may be able to have your first telehealth appointment in your home state. This can save you from having to travel a long distance twice or pay to stay overnight out of state.
To get abortion pills, you may need to either have a mailing address in the state where the provider is located (or is licensed to practice) or pick up the pills in person. Some providers have multiple pickup locations.
Funding your abortion can be challenging. In states where abortion is still legal, your insurance may cover abortion, but many states limit the coverage to cases of rape, incest or life threatening situations. If you need help paying for an abortion, information on abortion funds and resources is available at AbortionFinder.org. If you need information on your state’s laws or legal help, you may consider this website: https://www.ifwhenhow.org/repro-legal-helpline/
If you have Medicaid you may have coverage. In 17 states, Medicaid funds abortions for low-income women on the same or similar terms as other pregnancy-related and general health services. These states include: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
The remaining states, with the exception of South Dakota, pay for abortions for low-income women in cases of life-endangering circumstances, rape, or incest, as mandated by federal Medicaid law. South Dakota, however, will only pay for lifesaving abortions. To find out more on state funding of abortions under Medicaid visit the website: https://allaboveall.org/abortion-coverage
If you or a family member is a veteran, the VA will provide abortion counseling and abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when a pregnancy threatens the patient’s life to veterans and their eligible family members. They will also cover the cost of traveling to another state if necessary. For more information, please call the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN.
*Your Legal Right to Emergency Care*
No matter where you live, federal law ensures that every individual has the right to emergency care, including for miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
If you show up to a hospital emergency room with an emergency medical condition, the hospital must legally provide you with the care necessary to save your health or life, including treatment of complications of pregnancy loss such as excessive bleeding or infection. The hospital must provide you with the necessary stabilizing treatment. They are not permitted to wait until your emergency medical condition gets worse to provide this care. If the hospital cannot provide that care, they must transfer you to a hospital where you can receive the care you need (see links below).
Know your legal rights. Reproductive health care, including access to birth control and safe and legal abortion care, is an important part of your health and well-being.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on your legal rights to birth control and other reproductive healthcare services.
Take care, stay safe.
Those Nerdy Girls
**Laws do change– the information in this post is accurate as of October 31, 2022. Check links below for any updates: