Information on the law about AbortionIllegal Abortion
In no state is unrestricted abortion legal; indeed, virtually all states begin with the presumption that abortion is a crime, though all state statutes do have definitions of legal abortions. About twenty states define an illegal abortion in terms of the definition of a legal abortion; for example, Hawaii defines an illegal abortion as failure to meet the criterion of a legal abortion. (The definition of a legal abortion, in Hawaii, is simply the destruction of a nonviable fetus.) About fifteen states, however, predominately in the East and the South, do define illegal abortions without reference to legal instances of abortion. A few of these, interestingly, include in their definitions the provision that if the mother dies, then the abortion is illegal. Of these states, only some have specific statutes defining an illegal abortion; others merely define a legal abortion and impose penalties for their violation. The remaining states have definitions that specifically mention the limits of when an abortion is acceptable. For example, West Virginia defines an illegal abortion as any activity "with intent to destroy an unborn child or produce abortion [or] if mother dies unless to save the mother."
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