Essay On Access To Abortion Act


The fight between human reproductive rights and abortion rights started from the famous case law that was started in Texas famously known as Roe v. Wade in the year 1970 where the court opined that a fetus is an entitled person included under the Fourteen amendment protection right which states for the right to life for the fetus (CARLISLE, 2022). But after five decades Supreme court overturned the judgments given in Roe v. Wade case and supported the personhood entity of the embryo even before the viability period creating a legal battle in the United States of America for the reproductive rights provided to an individual. Its upturn in the case may impact reproductive access to health care and may increase the criminalization of pregnancy in the country. This document focuses on the policy problems associated with abortion and the intervention of congress in federal policy. This document provides the evolution of the federal policy over time and the rectifying measures congress took to hold the problem are also depicted in the document.

Problems In The Policy

Jane Roe, a texas woman’s case went to US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) for five-month pregnancy abortion. With the majority opinion of 7-2 in the SCOTUS, the court gave legal recognition to the constitutional right to abortion. Fetal Viability is the period of the fetus when it can survive in the environment outside the mother’s womb. With the advancement of medicines and technologies, the period for fetal viability is 23-24 weeks. The judgment was given in Dobbs v. Jackson which upturns the Roe v. Wade judgment and started a heated debate on the choices of the women for Pro-life and pro-choice. Whether it stands on the woman’s choice to opt for pregnancy termination or it should be considered on the pro-life condition where humanity derives a place where the fetus is considered as a legal entity.
Some of the states in the US have lifted the abortion ban or made separate rules regarding the abortion policy. The key issues that arise in the policy are the limited coverage of private insurance in abortion care, and the refusal of the health care providers to be restricted to private or religious institutions. In some states, for example, Florida is proposing the restriction on telehealth abortions which can restrict access to abortion medications (Sobel, Gomez, Long, & Salganicoff, 2022). For the 17 states, upholding or prohibiting abortions is not explicitly mentioned which creates an issue of clarity. With the abortion facility’s access to the residents, issues might develop for the states where more people will arrive for abortions. Issues also arise with the employers who are providing travel expenses and medical facilities to cover the abortion and the implication it cost to the workers and legal and political issues with the employers (Long, Sobel, Salganicoff, & Pestaina, 2022).

Current Federal Policy

After the supreme court was challenged by the case Dobbs v. Jackson where it overturned the judgment passed in Roe v. Wade that blocked the Mississippi law which is also known as the Gestational Age Act that was applied to ban abortion of a fetus after the first 15 weeks. SCOTUS overruled the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey by the vote of 6-3 which upheld the constitutionality of other cases. A trigger law that being unenforceable can achieve enforceability as per the changing circumstances has been applied after this judgment to 13 states for banning abortions (Francome, 2017). Due to the ban applied, most people from America started traveling to Mexico where abortion is allowed with less restriction. In the current federal policy, the licensed physician is made authorized that need to perform abortion procedures. Gestational limit is also applied with the allowed circumstances where the necessary condition to save the patient’s life is at utmost priority. Partial birth abortion is the medical procedure where the fetus is removed through the woman’s cervix which is generally performed in the second or third trimester (White, Jones, Shorter, Norman, & Guilbert, 2018). 

Some states have allowed partial birth abortion. Some of the states provide full funding facilities for all the medical necessities whereas in Colombia state funds can only be used in the case of danger to the life of the patient. Some states allow the facilities of private insurance coverage along with the refusal where the individual provider of health care can refuse to participate in the procedure of abortion. State-mandated counseling sessions and waiting periods are being provided to an individual. Some states allow for a waiting period of 24 hours and some states allow for the waiting period of two clinical trips to avail the procedure of abortion (Manzanetti, 2022). Parental involvement is required in the case of any decision made by the minor in the case of abortion. The majority of the states made laws on the requirement of consent from both the parents whereas in some of the states one or both the parents are being notified.

Congress Intervention In Policy

Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed many measures to ban the procedure of partial-birth abortion since the year of 1995. Although passed by the house, President Bill Clinton used his veto power on those bills and did not let those bills pass in the year of 1996. After the vague definition of health provided in Doe v. Bolton, Congress passed the Born-Alive infants protection Act (BAIPA) which was supported and signed by President George W. Bush in the year 2002 (usccb, 2002). In the year 2003, Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed by the houses to provide the legal structure for a civil lawsuit. In the year 2004, President George W. Bush passed the Unborn Victims of Violence act which was popularly known as Laci and conner’s law to file a case against an individual who tries to kill a pregnant woman (Congress Gov, 2004). One of the bills which were still in consultation since 2017 was the Pain-capable unborn child protection bill to ban late-term abortions. In this bill, a notification was made regarding the late-term abortion ban based on 20 weeks post-fertilization regarding the statement provided that after the 20 weeks the fetus is capable of having sensations and capabilities to feel pain.

Evolution Of Federal Policy


In the year 1910 abortion was an illegal act only available with some exceptions. In the year 1959, a model penal code with legalized the act of abortion for different reasons was coded into state abortion laws.  American Law Institute for the first-time modeled abortion law in case of physical disability or rape by the Colorado government. In the year 1970, a 24-week of pregnancy was legalized by New York except for saving a woman’s life. In the year 1971, SCOTUS upheld the Colombian law in the case of United States v. Vuitch. In the year 1972, out of the 13 states, four allowed the usage of abortion on demand. In the year 1973, SCOTUS applied the right of privacy in Roe v. Wade case which allowed for the right to abortion in the trimester pregnancy scenario. In the year 1977, state governments are not under any obligation that needs to do funding in public assistance in abortion programs.

In 1980, SCOTUS upheld the Hyde Amendment under which it is not the constitutional right of a woman to receive any kind of public expense in abortions. In 1981, under the parental notification law, doctors notify the parents of the minor child. In the year 1982, the Judiciary Committee of the senate approved the hatch amendment. In the year 1983, in the case of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, SCOTUS strikes down the women’s right to know about the concerning laws and the waiting periods. In the year 1986, SCOTUS struck down the post-viability abortions. In the year 1988, the New York court upheld the constitutional status of the Reagan administration whereas, in the year 1989, SCOTUS upheld the laws of Missouri that do not make it compulsory for the states to make public facilities. In the year 1990, the case of Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health upholds the one-parent notification.

In 1991 Government prohibited routine counseling and the year 1992 court reaffirms it through Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In 1994 buffer zones were created to keep away the anti-abortion demonstrators. In the year 1995 Roe gathered major support whereas in the year 1997 SCOTUS uphold the Montana law and in 2007 it upholds the partial abortion act. In 2016 two abortion rules were declared unconstitutional. In 2020, SCOTUS struck down virtual abortion, and in the year 2021 Texas banned the law for abortion. In the year 2022, SCOTUS, overturn the Roe v. Wade judgment (Ziegler, 2020).

Issues That Need To Be Addressed By The Congress

The key issues that the residents of the United States are facing regarding seeking care for abortions and that need to be addressed by congress are as follows. Abortion is being stigma stricken in the US society as the Trump-Pence administration and their supporter also rhetorically defamed the abortion process with hate and spreading outright lies. Due to state-level restrictions applied on abortion, increased cases of violence and harassment are being reported with many cases of self-manage abortions which need to be addressed. Racism and cases of discrimination can also be reported in abortions. Due to the Hyde amendment insurance coverage for abortion is making the procedure of abortion expensive which cost approximately a month of rent for an individual (Lippert, 2022). Due to restriction laws, people are facing access difficulty for availing the waiting periods and the involvement of the parents. Restricted availability of the services, for example, people have to travel to other states to get an abortion and have to wait for a longer duration to avail the abortion facilities. Restriction of the US Food and Drug Administration on medication abortion makes it difficult for the residents of the US which it lifted after a heated debate in the country (Cohen, 2022).

Measures To Be Taken By Congress

Congress through rallies and developmental programs needs to work on removing the stigma stricken the procedure of abortion along with taking measures for the Anti-abortion activist. For avoiding self-managed abortion applied by individuals, strict laws should be applied to focus on addressing the issue of racism. Insurance coverage should be provided in all states so that abortion facilities be available to every resident. Private insurance parties are to be get opened to applying for insurance coverage. US Food and Drug Administration lifted the recent ban applied on the medication abortion by supplying the abortion and contraceptive pills. Individual health care providers are available along with religious sentiments to avoid people staying away from seeking any care in the abortion care center and the use of referral training.  Instead of harassing young people, Congress should focus on supporting and promoting comprehensive sex education and promoting the sexual health program for young people. 


The struck down of abortion laws by the SCOTUS will hamper the image of the country as it shows the nation is not supportive of the rights of the women in their nations. The document assessed the problems prevailing in the policies and suggest the measures which need to be focused on by Congress. Racism is also one of the issues which need to be focused on along with the abortion issue.  Abortion insurance coverage along with comprehensive sex education needs to be focused on by the nation. So, the policy problems need to be rectified by congress through legislation.


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CARLISLE, M. (2022, June 28). Fetal Personhood Laws Are a New Frontier in the Battle Over Reproductive Rights. Retrieved from Time:
Cohen, R. M. (2022, June 29). What a lawsuit in Mississippi tells us about the future of abortion pills. Retrieved from VOX:
Congress Gov. (2004, June 3). H.R.1997 - Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004. Retrieved from Congress Gov:,articles%20of%20the%20Uniform%20Code
Francome, C. (2017). Abortion in the USA and the UK. London: Routledge.
Lippert, K. T. (2022, June 26). What is the Hyde Amendment and how is it related to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade? Retrieved from Business Insider :
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Sobel, L., Gomez, I., Long, M., & Salganicoff, A. (2022, June 23). Reading the Post-Roe Tea Leaves in States Without Abortion Bans or Protections. Retrieved from KFF:
usccb. (2002, August 3). Congress Delivers Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. Retrieved from usccb:
White, K. O., Jones, H. E., Shorter, S., Norman, W. V., & Guilbert, E. (2018). Second-trimester surgical abortion practices in the United States. Contraception, 98(2), 95-99.
Ziegler, M. (2020). Abortion and the Law in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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