Can I Get an Abortion Exception for Rape?
- Any sexual violence involving intercourse constitutes rape, including the abuse of a child by a family member, the coercion of a teenager by an older man, being drugged to prevent resistance, or forced penetration by a stranger or partner.
- 5% of sexual assaults result in pregnancy. Approximately 50% of rape-related pregnancies are terminated.
- In some regions, exemptions are made for victims of rape which extend the gestational limit or provide government funding for an abortion.
You can find more information on abortion exemptions for rape here.
➡️ Are you a victim of sexual violence? Support and Options
⚖️ Wondering whether to have an abortion? Take the Abortion Test
What Constitutes Rape?
There are two kinds of rape: forcible rape and statutory rape. Abortion exemptions usually only apply in cases of forcible rape.
Forcible rape includes any sexual violence involving intercourse. This includes:
- the sexual abuse of a child by a family member or friend
- being drugged for sexual intercourse
- being forced by a stranger or partner
If partners engage in sexual intercourse, but the woman is under the age of consent, it is considered statutory rape. If the woman conceives, abortion exemptions usually do not apply. Internationally the age of consent ranges from 12 to 20. Most countries set 16 or 17 as the age of consent. This is where you can find the age of consent worldwide and for each US state.
What Are the Exemptions for Rape Victims?
In many regions, laws make accommodations for pregnant rape victims by legalizing abortions in cases of rape, extending gestational limits for abortion, or covering abortion expenses. Countries that allow elective abortion may not have an extension for rape victims, since women already have access to abortion without a specific cause.
1. Legalized Abortion in Cases of Rape
Abortion is permitted in most countries when conception occurs through rape. Where abortion bans are in place, these are often dropped in the case of rape. Sometimes rape is not mentioned explicitly in these exemptions. Instead, it is included under the broader umbrella of “abortion on mental health grounds.”
- For more information, go to Therapeutic Abortion.
Examples of countries that extend their abortion limits for rape victims are Albania, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ghana, Israel, Poland and individual US states.
2. Extension of Gestational Limits
Increasingly, individual states are introducing abortion bills. Some bills ban abortion or limit them to the first six weeks — until a fetal heartbeat can be detected (Heartbeat Bill). Sometimes an exception for rape cases is included in these bills.
Find out whether your region extends the window of legal abortions for rape victims:
Region Regular Limit Rape Alabama banned banned Alaska unlimited unlimited Arizona 15 weeks 15 weeks Arkansas banned banned California viability viability Colorado unlimited unlimited Cennecticut viability viability Delaware viability viability Florida 15 weeks 15 weeks Georgia 6 weeks extended Hawaii viability viability Idaho banned permitted Illinois viability viability Indiana banned 14 weeks if under 16; 10 weeks if 16 or older Iowa 22 weeks 22 weeks Kansas 22 weeks 22 weeks Kentucky banned banned Louisiana banned banned Maine viability viability Maryland viability viability Massachus 24 weeks 24 weeks Michigan 24 weeks 24 weeks Minnesota viability viability Mississippi banned permitted Missouri banned banned Montana viability viability Nebraska 12 weeks 12 weeks Nevada 24 weeks 24 weeks N. Hampsh. 24 weeks 24 weeks New Jersey unlimited unlimited N. Mexico unlimited unlimited New York viability viability N. Carolina 12 weeks 12 weeks N. Dakota banned 6 weeks Ohio 22 weeks 22 weeks Oklahoma banned banned Oregon unlimited unlimited Pennsylvania 24 weeks 24 weeks Rhode Island viability viability S. Carolina 6 weeks permitted S. Dakota banned banned Tennessee banned banned Texas banned banned Utah 18 weeks 18 weeks Vermont unlimited unlimited Virginia 26w+6d 26w+6d Washington viability viability Wash. DC unlimited unlimited W. Virginia banned banned Wisconsin banned banned Wyoming viability viability
Region Regular Limit Rape Great Britain 24 weeks 24 weeks N. Ireland 24 weeks 24 weeks Ireland 12 weeks 12 weeks
Region Regular Limit Rape ACT unlimited unlimited NSW 22 weeks 22 weeks NT 14 weeks 23 weeks QLD 22 weeks 22 weeks SA (2022) 22 w +6d 22 w +6d TAS 16 weeks 16 weeks VIC 24 weeks 24 weeks WA 20 weeks 20 weeks
While abortion is unrestricted throughout Canada, availability differs from state to state.
Regular Limit Rape Canada unlimited unlimited availability AB 20 weeks BC 24w + 6d MB 16 weeks NB 16 weeks NL 16 weeks NT 20 weeks NS 16 weeks PEI 12 weeks NU 19w + 6d ON 23w + 6d QC 24 weeks SK 18w + 6d YT 12w + 6d
Region Regular Limit Rape New Zealand 20 weeks unlimited South Africa 13 weeks 20 weeks
Region Regular Limit Rape Austria See our Austrian Page Brazil See our Portuguese Page Cambodia 12 weeks unlimited Germany See our German Page Italy See our Italian Page Mexico 15 weeks unlimited Netherlands 24 weeks unlimited Portugal See our Portuguese Page Switzerland See our Swiss Page Thailand 12 weeks 20 weeks
3. Coverage of Abortion Expenses
In regions where abortions are not covered by public healthcare, funds are sometimes made available to help women pay for rape-related abortions. This is the case in the following 20 US states if the woman can fulfill the state’s reporting requirements:
D: Delaware, District of Columbia
I: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa
N: Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota
R: Rhode Island
S: South Carolina
How Do You Get an Exemption for Rape?
Each region has a different process for establishing conception through rape as the reason for an abortion. The woman usually must fulfill requirements such as reporting or providing evidence of the sexual violence she has experienced. This ranges from receiving a simple affidavit from a doctor to filing a police report or enduring a rape kit examination.
This can be harrowing and often requires the victim to seek medical attention or police jurisdiction within days of the event. Even then, exemptions are not guaranteed. Therefore, many women are deterred from applying for an exemption.
When You Are the Victim
Rape is probably one of the most traumatic and devastating intrusion imaginable into a woman’s physical body, as well as her very being. From the outside, it would be impossible to grasp the full scope of pain inflicted.
You might ask yourself how you can possibly rebuild your shattered world. You fear that you might be pregnant or just found out about the pregnancy. Are you wondering what the best course of action would be for you?
- 🙌 Go to Pregnant from Rape for resources on where to go for immediate support or safety. Read the stories of other women who have walked this road.
In addition to seeking medical attention, you may find it helpful to receive support and professional counseling. You don’t have to go through this alone!
For more information, go to:
Not ready to talk about it? We’ve got your back! Our free digital coaching is tailored to your specific situation! Use our judgment-free resources to find a way to rebuild, grow, and heal.
- 🤰🏻 Unsure whether you could be pregnant? Take the Online Pregnancy Test
- 💪 Combat your sense of helplessness by taking our Strengths Finder Test. You are stronger than you think!
- 👤 Rediscover who you are: Take the Personality Test
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Our goal at profemina is to provide you with the most up-to-date information. Since abortion regulations are varied and constantly changing, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content we provide.