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How Delaware’s abortion laws work

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Delaware has laws that protect the right to abortion. Here's how they work.

The skyline of Wilmington, Del., seen across the Christiana River.
The skyline of Wilmington, Del., seen across the Christiana River.Read more

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade — the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case that established protections for people seeking abortions and other reproductive procedures nationwide.

Now, states without established abortion protection laws will lose access to abortion care. However, despite the official ruling passed down on Friday in a 6-to-3 vote, Delaware will still allow for legal abortions.

Close to 1 million abortions are performed in the United States. each year. In 2019 — the most recent year statistics were available — close to 2,000 abortions were performed in Delaware.

What is legal under the Delaware abortion laws?

Abortions are legal up to when the pregnancy is considered “viable.” A pregnancy is considered viable at around 20 weeks in Delaware. After that, an abortion can be performed only if the pregnancy will lead to the parent’s death.

There are two ways to get an abortion in Delaware: in-clinic abortion and the abortion pill (commonly referred as medical abortion).

What is illegal under the Delaware abortion laws?

Getting an abortion after the pregnancy has become viable and the pregnancy wouldn’t lead to the parent’s death.

Are abortion pills/medical abortions legal?

Yes. Both in-clinic abortion and medical abortions are legal in Delaware.

Who can perform an abortion in Delaware?

Only licensed medical doctors approved by the state can perform abortions. Abortions have to be performed in a hospital or clinic that has a license to perform abortions.

How old do you have to be to get an abortion in Delaware?

A person can get an abortion at any age in Delaware. However, if the person is under 16, they must inform their parents, guardians, or a mental health professional of their pregnancy — but they don’t need their consent.

Is there a wait time for scheduling an abortion and other considerations?

Not if you’re over 16. If you’re over 16, there is no wait time before you are allowed to get an abortion or state-mandated consultations. However, people are not able to use public funds, like Medicaid, to cover the costs of their abortions except in the case of incest, rape, or if the pregnancy would lead to the parent’s death.

If you’re under 16, you will have to wait 24 hours after notifying your physician or health-care facility before you can get the medical procedure.

How much does an abortion cost in Delaware?

On average, Planned Parenthood of Delaware estimates that abortions cost between $490 and $791 in the state, but the cost of abortions can range from $0 to more than $2,000 depending on how far along the pregnancy is, what health-care facility you visit or if your health insurance plan will cover the costs.

Does health insurance or Medicaid cover abortion costs in Delaware?

Many insurance companies in Delaware will cover costs of getting an abortion. However, the Affordable Healthcare Act does not require their health-care plans to cover the cost of abortions.

In Delaware, Medicaid cannot be used to cover the costs of abortions.

Can you travel to Delaware to get an abortion?

Yes. Out-of-state residents can travel to Delaware to get an abortion as long as they meet eligibility requirements. In 2019, 277 out-of-state residents got an abortion in Delaware.

This article has been updated since it first published.

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