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 believes “that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.” The Party opposes laws that make it more difficult for women to access safe abortions. The Party supports “quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services...”

Official Republican position

The Republican Party opposes “the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood.” The Party supports parental consent and the prohibition of abortion after twenty weeks. They also support excluding abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs. The Party opposes selective abortions as well as 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.

Chris Smith | Candidate for 4th Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in New Jersey (NJ) | Crowdpac Robert Aderholt | Candidate for 4th Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Alabama (AL) | Crowdpac David Vitter | U.S. Senate, 2014 in Louisiana (LA) | Crowdpac Alan Nunnelee | Candidate for State House, 1st District, 2019 Primary Election in Mississippi (MS) | Crowdpac Roger Wicker | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in Mississippi (MS) | Crowdpac Randy Forbes | 4th Congressional District, 2014 in Virginia (VA) | Crowdpac Duncan Hunter | Candidate for 50th Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in California (CA) | Crowdpac Tim Huelskamp | Candidate for 1st Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Kansas (KS) | Crowdpac Randy Weber | Candidate for 14th Congressional District, 2018 in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac Jim Jordan | Candidate for 4th Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Ohio (OH) | 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