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Field References

We've tried to simplify a lot of conflicting laws into true/false statements. Here, you can read a description of each and every field in the tables.


Gestational Limits

The restrictions on abortion access related to gestational limits, i.e. bans on abortion after a certain week in pregnancy. You can see supported queries for this table on the Tables & Queries page.

Field Type (example) Description
state string ("Florida") The state for which regulations apply.
banned_after_weeks_since_LMP int (99) Varying language was normalized as weeks since Last Missed Period (LMP):
  • Bans in the third trimester are coded as 28
  • Bans after viability are coded as 99
  • For "post-fertilization", add 2 weeks to get LMP (20 weeks post-fertilization = 22 weeks LMP)
  • For "post-implantation", add 3 weeks to get LMP (24 weeks post-implantation = 27 weeks LMP)
exception_life bool (true) If checked, abortion is not banned if necessary to save the pregnant person's life.
exception_health string, one of "Physical", "Any" or "Major Bodily Function" If non-null, abortion is not banned if necessary to preserve the pregnant person's health.A distinction is made between:
  • "Physical": physical health (excluding mental health)
  • "Major Bodily Function": exceptions which permit abortion in the case where a person would suffer "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" (which may include mental health)
  • "Any": unspecified health (which may include mental health)
exception_fetal string, one of: "Serious fetal anomaly" or "Lethal fetal anomaly" In some states, exceptions may be granted based on the health or status of the fetus. The language of these exceptions varies- here we distinguish between anomalies that are known to be lethal for the fetus and any others.
exception_rape_or_incest bool (false) If true, exceptions may be granted in cases of rape or incest.

Insurance Coverage

This table covers abortion restrictions that specifically restrict what type of insurance coverage can be used to cover abortion (both Medicaid and private insurance). You can see supported queries for this table on the Tables & Queries page.

Field Type (example) Description
state string ("West Virginia") The state for which regulations apply.
requires_coverage bool (true) If checked, the state requires that require private health plans regulated by the state cover abortion.
These requirements do not apply to self-insured plans (in which the employer takes on all the risk, instead of contracting with a health insurer) as self-insured plans are regulated at the federal, not state, level.
private_coverage_no_restrictions bool (true) Few states require that private insurance cover abortion. If checked, private insurance may do so, but is not necessarily required to.
Private insurance here refers to non-self-insured plans. In self-insured plans, the employer takes on all the risk, instead of contracting with a health insurer; self-insured plans are regulated at the federal, not state, level.
private_exception_life bool (true) If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows private insurance coverage for cases where abortion is necessary to save the pregnant person's life.
Private insurance here refers to non-self-insured plans. In self-insured plans, the employer takes on all the risk, instead of contracting with a health insurer; self-insured plans are regulated at the federal, not state, level.
private_exception_health string, "major bodily function" or null If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows private insurance coverage for cases when the pregnant person's faces a "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." In other words, a very serious health condition.
Private insurance here refers to non-self-insured plans. In self-insured plans, the employer takes on all the risk, instead of contracting with a health insurer; self-insured plans are regulated at the federal, not state, level.
private_exception_fetal string, "Lethal fetal anomaly" or null If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows private insurance coverage for cases when the fetus has a lethal fetal anomaly.
Private insurance here refers to non-self-insured plans. In self-insured plans, the employer takes on all the risk, instead of contracting with a health insurer; self-insured plans are regulated at the federal, not state, level.
private_exception_rape_or_incest bool (true) If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows private insurance coverage for cases of rape or incest.
Private insurance here refers to non-self-insured plans. In self-insured plans, the employer takes on all the risk, instead of contracting with a health insurer; self-insured plans are regulated at the federal, not state, level.
exchange_coverage_no_restrictions bool (true) If checked, the state has not restricted abortion coverage in ACA plans. Except in a few states that have required abortion coverage, a lack of restrictions does not mean that every plan offered in the Exchange will include abortion coverage.
Exchange plans refer to health plans offered in the state's Health Care Exchange that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal ACA law included a provision that encouraged states to adopt abortion coverage restrictions.
exchange_exception_life bool (true) If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows exchange insurance coverage for cases where abortion is necessary to save the pregnant person's life.
Exchange plans refer to health plans offered in the state's Health Care Exchange that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal ACA law included a provision that encouraged states to adopt abortion coverage restrictions.
exchange_exception_health string, "major bodily function" or "physical" If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows exchange insurance coverage for cases when the pregnant person's faces a "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" or other serious impacts on "physical" health.
Exchange plans refer to health plans offered in the state's Health Care Exchange that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal ACA law included a provision that encouraged states to adopt abortion coverage restrictions.
exchange_exception_fetal string, "Lethal fetal anomaly" or null If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows exchange insurance coverage for cases when the fetus has a lethal fetal anomaly.
Exchange plans refer to health plans offered in the state's Health Care Exchange that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal ACA law included a provision that encouraged states to adopt abortion coverage restrictions.
exchange_exception_rape_or_incest bool (true) If checked then, despite other restrictions, the state allows exchange insurance coverage for cases of rape or incest.
Exchange plans refer to health plans offered in the state's Health Care Exchange that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal ACA law included a provision that encouraged states to adopt abortion coverage restrictions.
exchange_forbids_coverage bool (true) If checked then the state prohibits any and all exchange insurance coverage for abortion
Exchange plans refer to health plans offered in the state's Health Care Exchange that was established under the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal ACA law included a provision that encouraged states to adopt abortion coverage restrictions."
medicaid_coverage_provider_patient_decision bool(true) If checked, the state has a policy in place to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortion, most of these states require coverage for "medically necessary" abortion. This is a vaguely-defined criterion usually based on a decision between a pregnant person and their medical provider and can include circumstances beyond physical health, such as mental or emotional health or familial situations.
Medicaid is a federal-state insurance program. Based on the Hyde amendment, states are required to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortion in cases of rape, of incest, or when the pregnant person's life is endangered; these are also the only circumstances in which federal Medicaid funds may be used to pay for abortion. Most states limit abortion coverage just to the Hyde amendment, though some states offer additional coverage (for example, when the pregnant person's health is at risk).
medicaid_exception_life bool (true) If checked then the state allows Medicaid insurance coverage for cases where abortion is necessary to save the pregnant person's life (this is required by the Hyde amendment).
Medicaid is a federal-state insurance program. Based on the Hyde amendment, states are required to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortion in cases of rape, of incest, or when the pregnant person's life is endangered; these are also the only circumstances in which federal Medicaid funds may be used to pay for abortion. Most states limit abortion coverage just to the Hyde amendment, though some states offer additional coverage (for example, when the pregnant person's health is at risk).
medicaid_exception_health string, "physical" If checked then the state allows Medicaid insurance coverage for cases when the pregnant person's physical health is endangered.
Medicaid is a federal-state insurance program. Based on the Hyde amendment, states are required to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortion in cases of rape, of incest, or when the pregnant person's life is endangered; these are also the only circumstances in which federal Medicaid funds may be used to pay for abortion. Most states limit abortion coverage just to the Hyde amendment, though some states offer additional coverage (for example, when the pregnant person's health is at risk).
medicaid_exception_fetal string, "Serious fetal anomaly" or null If checked then the state allows Medicaid insurance coverage for cases when the fetus has a serious or lethal fetal anomaly
Medicaid is a federal-state insurance program. Based on the Hyde amendment, states are required to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortion in cases of rape, of incest, or when the pregnant person's life is endangered; these are also the only circumstances in which federal Medicaid funds may be used to pay for abortion. Most states limit abortion coverage just to the Hyde amendment, though some states offer additional coverage (for example, when the pregnant person's health is at risk)."
medicaid_exception_rape_or_incest bool (true) "If checked then the state allows Medicaid insurance coverage for cases of rape or incest (this is required by the Hyde amendment).
Medicaid is a federal-state insurance program. Based on the Hyde amendment, states are required to use Medicaid funds to pay for abortion in cases of rape, of incest, or when the pregnant person's life is endangered; these are also the only circumstances in which federal Medicaid funds may be used to pay for abortion. Most states limit abortion coverage just to the Hyde amendment, though some states offer additional coverage (for example, when the pregnant person's health is at risk).

Minors

This table covers abortion restrictions that specifically target minors. You can see supported queries for this table on the Tables & Queries page.

Field Type (example) Description
state string ("South Carolina") The state for which regulations apply.
below_age int (17) The age below which restrictions apply. For the most part, these restrictions apply to minors under the age of 18. There are a few exceptions, however.
If this field is null, there are no restrictions on minors' abortions currently being enforced.
parental_consent_required bool (true) Parental consent means that a parent or parents must give permission for the minor to have an abortion. Some states require both consent and notification through separate laws.
parental_notification_required Bool (false) Parental notification means that a parent or parents must be told beforehand of the minor's decision to have an abortion.
Some states require notification 48 hours before, some require notification 24 hours before, and some just require "before".
parents_required int (1) If 1, one parent must be notified. If 2, both parents must be notified. If null, there are no restrictions on minors' abortions currently being enforced.
Many, but not all, states have extended the definition of "parent" to include other adult guardians. If parents meeting the state's definition cannot be located, a minor would often need to secure a judicial bypass.
judicial_bypass_available bool (true) This indicates whether a judge can excuse a minor from the required parental consent and/or notification.
This is available in most states with restrictions, and in some you can be excused by a doctor.
allows_minor_to_consent bool (false) These states either explicitly grant a minor the ability to consent to an abortion (through the law) or implicitly allow a minor to consent (because no law expressly requires parental involvement or because a parental involvement law was struck down in the courts).

Waiting Periods

This table covers abortion restrictions related to time periods that people must wait between receiving abortion counseling and getting abortion care. You can see supported queries for this table on the Tables & Queries page.

Field Type (example) Description
state string ("Tennessee") The state for which regulations apply.
waiting_period_hours int (48) The number of hours someone must wait between receiving state mandated abortion counseling and obtaining an abortion. If null, no waiting period is in effect.Note that all states waive mandatory waiting period requirements in a medical emergency or when the woman's life or health is threatened.
counseling_visits int(2) Two separate conditions:
  • 1 = Counseling required by the state
  • 2 = Abortion counseling or ultrasound must be obtained at the facility before the waiting period begins, requiring two trips to the clinic
exception_health string ("In cases of medical emergency." If non-null, counseling requirement can be waived under certain conditions, described by the text field.
waiting_period_notes string ("Weekends and holidays do not count towards the 72-hour waiting period.") There are some sufficiently weird policies around waiting periods that it seemed useful to just add in notes about them.