Basic Briefing

The Abortion Debate

The debate on abortion focuses on if abortions should remain legal, what restrictions there should be on abortion, and how to pay for abortions. Should there be a mandatory waiting period before a woman can receive an abortion? Should minors be allowed to have an abortion without parental approval or notification? Should healthcare cover abortions?

Official Democratic position

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy... There is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.” The Party oppose laws that make it more difficult for women to access safe abortions. The Party supports healthcare that covers contraception and sexual education programs to decrease unwanted pregnancies.

Official Republican position

The Republican Party opposes abortion. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” The Party support mandatory waiting periods and a parental consent requirement. The Party opposes federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Institutional framework

Roe v. Wade made abortions legal and gave regulatory authority to states, with the exception of the federal ban on partial-birth abortions.

States have the authority to ban abortions after fetal viability – when a fetus can sustain life outside of the womb. 42 states currently limit late-term abortions. States can set requirements like required waiting periods and counseling prior to abortions as long as it does not cause the women seeking an abortion an “undue burden”. For minors seeking abortions, 38 states require either parental notification or parental consent.

Most Vocal on Abortion

These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.

Greg Conlon | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2016) in California (CA) | Crowdpac Stephen Fincher | 8th Congressional District (2014) in Tennessee (TN) | Crowdpac Gary Peters | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2020) in Michigan (MI) | Crowdpac Tammy Baldwin | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2018) in Wisconsin (WI) | Crowdpac David Vitter | US Senate (2014) in Louisiana (LA) | Crowdpac Alan Nunnelee | 1st Congressional District (2014) in Mississippi (MS) | Crowdpac Roger Wicker | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2018) in Mississippi (MS) | Crowdpac Randy Forbes | 4th Congressional District (2014) in Virginia (VA) | Crowdpac Duncan Hunter | Candidate for 50th Congressional District, primary (2018) in California (CA) | Crowdpac Tim Huelskamp | 1st Congressional District (2014) in Kansas (KS) | Crowdpac

The Spectrum on Abortion

These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.

Relevant Committees


NARAL Pro-Choice America (NARAL) - A 501(c)4 organization focused on limiting restrictions on abortion and increasing access to abortions

National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) - The oldest and the largest national pro-life organization in the United States

Planned Parenthood - Non-profit organization providing support for reproductive health, and maternal and child health services

Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) - Founded in 1993, pro-life advocacy group named after women's suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony