Americans and Abortion: An Overview

More than 35 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Roe v. Wade (1973) decision granted a woman the constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy, abortion remains a controversial issue. Indeed, although the frequency of abortions in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest point since 1974, the debate over abortion continues to play a prominent role in state and federal politics.

Although Roe prohibited states from banning abortion until late in a woman's pregnancy, subsequent high court rulings allowed states more power to regulate the procedure. Today, there is an uneven patchwork of abortion laws around the country. For example, while 17 states provide public funding for all or most abortions that are deemed medically necessary, 28 states require doctors to provide a woman with some form of counseling about the risks of abortion and 24 states oblige a woman to complete a waiting period before having an abortion.

Read the full report Americans and Abortion: An Overview on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.

Spotlight on Mental Health

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Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

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How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

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What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

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Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.