Glossary: Abortion Bans, Restrictions and Protections

From TRAP laws to trigger bans and beyond, this glossary will familiarize you with terms used in discussing abortion restrictions and protections and related legal terms.

Please note: This glossary is from the Center’s “After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State” interactive tool, which details state abortion laws and policies in real-time.

Abortion Bans

Pre-Roe bans

Most states repealed abortion bans in effect as of 1973 once Roe made them unenforceable. However, some states and territories never repealed their pre-Roe abortion bans. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe, these states could try and revive these bans.

Trigger bans

Abortion bans passed since Roe was decided that are intended to ban abortion entirely if the Supreme Court limited or overturned Roe or if a federal Constitutional amendment prohibited abortion.

Pre-viability gestational bans

Laws that prohibit abortion before viability; these laws were unconstitutional under Roe. Gestational age is counted in weeks either from the last menstrual cycle (LMP) or from fertilization.

Method bans

Laws that prohibit a specific method of abortion care, most commonly dilation and extraction (D&X) procedures and dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures.

Reason bans

Laws that prohibit abortion if sought or potentially sought for a particular reason. These bans name sex, race, and genetic anomaly as prohibited reasons. However, there is no evidence that pregnant people are seeking abortion care because of the sex or race of their fetus. [1]

Telemedicine bans

Bans that restrict the use of telemedicine for the provision of medication abortion.

Covid abortion bans

Bans that exploited the covid-19 pandemic in an attempt to restrict abortion care as not medically necessary, which contradicts major medical institutions around the world.

Criminalization of self-managed abortion (SMA)

Some states criminalize people who self-manage their abortion, i.e., end their pregnancies outside of a health care setting.

SB-8 Copycats

Laws that are modeled after Texas SB 8, the vigilante law that took effect in September 2021. These laws ban abortion at an early gestational age and are enforced through private rights of action, which authorizes members of the public to sue abortion providers and people who help others access abortion care.

Abortion Restrictions

TRAP laws

Targeted regulation of abortion providers laws single out physicians who provide abortion care and impose various legal requirements that are different from and more burdensome than those imposed on physicians who provide comparable types of care. These laws do not increase patient safety and are counter to evidence-based clinical guidelines. [2]

TRAP laws fall into several categories, including regulation of locations where abortion is provided and/or facility specifications, provider qualifications, and reporting requirements. Compliance is often costly and can require unnecessary facility modifications.

Parental involvement

Laws that require providers or clinics to notify parents or legal guardians of young peoples seeking abortion prior to an abortion (parental notification) or document parents’ or legal guardians’ consent to a young person’s abortion (parental consent). In order to be constitutional, parental involvement laws must include a process whereby a judge can approve a petition without parental involvement. [3]

Consent laws

Laws that require pregnant people to receive biased and often inaccurate counseling or an ultrasound prior to receiving abortion care, and, in some instances, to wait a specified amount of time between the counseling and/or ultrasound and the abortion care. These laws serve no medical purpose but, instead, seek to dissuade pregnant people from exercising bodily autonomy.

Hyde Amendment

In 1976, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) successfully introduced a budget rider, known as the Hyde Amendment, that prohibits federal funding for abortion. Congress has renewed the Hyde Amendment every year since its introduction.

Abortion Protections

Statutory protections for abortion

Laws passed by states that protect the right to abortion.

State constitutional protection

A declaration from the state’s highest court affirming that the state constitution protects the right to abortion, separately and apart from the existence of any federal constitutional right.


1. Bonnie Steinbock, Preventing Sex-Selective Abortions in America: A Solution in Search of a Problem, The Hastings Center (2017).

2. See, e.g., Increasing Access to Abortion, (Nov. 2014, reaffirmed 2019); National Abortion Federation, Clinical Guidelines for Abortion Care (2020).

3. See Planned Parenthood of Cent. Missouri v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52, 94, 96 S. Ct. 2831, 2852, 49 L. Ed. 2d 788 (1976) (“the State does not have the constitutional authority to give a third party an absolute, and possibly arbitrary, veto over the decision of the physician and his patient to terminate the patient’s pregnancy”).

4. See, e.g. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22,  § 1598(1). Law was amended to allow physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to also perform abortion. See H.P. 922, 129th Leg., 1st Reg. Sess. (Me 2019); Wash. Rev. Code  § 9.02.110; Wash. Att’y Gen. Op 2004 No. 1 (2004); Wash. Att’y Gen. Op 2019 No. 1 (2019).

5. See, e.g., Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272,  § 19, repealed by S.B. 784, 190th Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (ma 2018).

6. Planned Parenthood of Nashville v. McWherter, 817 S.W.2d 13, 16 (1991); see also McCorvey v. Hill, No. 03-10711 (5th Cir. Sept. 14, 2004) (Texas’s pre-Roe statute repealed by implication).

This glossary came from the Center’s “After Roe Fell” interactive tool. Click here to explore.