District of Columbia Abortion Laws
By FindLaw Staff | Legally reviewed by Nicole Prebeck, Esq. | Last reviewed December 22, 2022
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Abortion is legal in the District of Columbia.
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion regulation in the hands of the states.
Here’s a quick summary of abortion laws in Washington D.C. There’s also information on Maryland abortion laws and Virginia abortion laws on FindLaw.com.
D.C.’s Abortion Laws
Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973. Before then, all fifty states and Washington D.C. generally banned abortion. Criminal statutes penalized doctors and women who engaged in it. Since Roe, state abortion laws have been a battleground in the national abortion debate. Pro-choice and pro-life groups have made state restrictions and regulations of abortion a shifting and constantly changing landscape. Often federal courts end up having the last word.
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, which returned abortion regulation to the states. Because Washington, D.C. had repealed its abortion prohibitions, Dobbs had no impact on D.C. law. Abortion is legal in D.C. at all stages of pregnancy.
Washington D.C. now has among the least restrictive abortion laws in the country. Abortions do not need to be performed by a licensed physician; the district does not ban late-term abortions; and there are no requirements that abortions be performed at a hospital or with a second doctor present. There are public funds available for women seeking an abortion in the case of rape or incest.
Related Resources for D.C. Abortion Laws
Abortion discussions can engender passions whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life or a young woman or concerned parent. You can find more information on these pages about reproductive rights and abortion. For specific concerns about a particular case, we recommend contacting a local lawyer for further advice and assistance.
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