August 1, 2022
This research brief provides preliminary findings from a multi-year research project to understand who has been targeted by criminalization for self-managing their abortion and how these cases make their way into and through the criminal system. From 2000 to 2020, we identified 61 cases of people who were criminally investigated or arrested for allegedly ending their own pregnancy or helping someone else do so. Cases occurred across 26 states, most of which emerged in Texas, followed by Ohio, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Virginia. Understanding self-managed abortion criminalization over the last twenty years, lends insight into what the criminalization of abortion is likely to look like in a post-Roe America.
*Please note that when this brief was published, self-managed abortion was only explicitly illegal in three states, but currently, it is only explicitly illegal in one state: Nevada. Check Abortion Laws by State for the most up-to-date information.