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Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delays

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What are biased-counseling and mandatory-delay laws, and how do they endanger women's health?

Biased-counseling and mandatory-delay laws prohibit women from receiving abortion care until they are subjected to a state-mandated lecture and/or materials, typically followed by a delay of at least 24 hours. Like any patient, a woman considering abortion should receive full and unbiased information from her doctor about her medical options. However, these laws require that women be provided with political propaganda and medically inaccurate information, such as the disproven claim that abortion causes breast cancer. Mandatory delays create additional burdens for women, especially women in rural areas who often have to travel for many hours to reach a health-care provider, and for women who do not have the resources to take extra time off work or pay for child care. Biased-counseling laws are insulting to women, implying they are not capable of making decisions for themselves, and insert politicians intrusively into the doctor-patient relationship.

Current State Laws

33 states have laws that subject women seeking abortion services to biased-counseling requirements and/or mandatory delays: AL, AK, AZ, AR, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI.

  • 8 of these laws have been found fully or partially unconstitutional: AZ, DE, KY, MA, MI, MT, SD, TN.

2013 Enacted State Legislation

2 states enacted 2 measures related to biased counseling and/or mandatory delays: AR, SD.


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