women's march
Just a couple days after the women's march in New York, the city passed the Reproductive Health Act that legalizes abortions throughout the nine months of pregnancy. This is a representational image of the March for Women's Lives where they demonstrated for abortion rights at Washington, DC April. 25, 2004. Mario Tama/Getty Images

On the 46th anniversary of the 1973 "Roe v Wade" decision that legalized abortions in all 50 states of the United States, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act to legalize abortions made within the first 24-weeks of pregnancy on Tuesday.

The Act also allows a decision to abort if the fetus is not viable or if the woman's life is in danger. However, it will allow only physicians to perform abortions.

Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusett and New Mexico are expected to pass similar bills while Gov. Gavin Newsom of California committed to investing $100 million for reproductive healthcare.

According to Guttmacher.org, a comprehensive literature review/study by researches from the University of California, San Francisco, fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester. A fetus develops cortical function at 29-30 weeks and it may recoil from stimuli but the reaction doesn’t mean the fetus feels pain.

The reaction could be elicited by nonpainful stimuli and occur without conscious processing. The study also says that pain is subjective and without a psychological understanding of it.

In April 2018, Matthew B. Barry, a section research manager at Congressional Research Service compiled a list of frequently asked questions about abortions at or over 20 weeks’ gestation period. According to the compilation, the mortality rate of women associated with childbirth or continuing the pregnancy is higher than the abortion mortality rate. However, as the gestational age increases, the chance of abortion mortality also increases. The most common causes of death after a second trimester abortion were hemorrhage and infection, with almost 6.7 deaths per 1000,000 abortion procedures.

A study conducted in 2015 found that when women were denied an abortion during the second trimester, they experienced higher stress than the women who received abortions. Though there was no long-term effect, the study did find that among women seeking abortions near facility gestational limits and those who obtained the abortions were at no greater mental health risk than the women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term.

While these laws are being passed, a lawmaker from Utah filed a bill to ban abortions in the state after 15 weeks gestation, with exceptions. Rep. Cheryl Acton said she decided to run the bill after she learnt of the “problems” with second-trimester abortions for the woman and the unborn child. Acton’s bill, however will allow exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother and fatal fetal defects. She further said she finds the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure “unconscionable” and that the Utah law shouldn’t sanction it.

In 2017, Mississippi passed a 15-week abortion law with exceptions for medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. It was, however blocked by a federal judge.

North Dakota, in 2016, had a federal court block a law that banned abortions as soon as a heartbeat was detected in the fetus-which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy. A federal court also banned an Arkansas law restricting abortions up to 12 weeks. The state of Iowa also tried to ban abortions at six weeks, when most women aren’t even aware of their pregnancy - which was blocked by the federal court.

Meanwhile, a law was passed in Arizona which requires women to explain why they are seeking the termination of pregnancy. Patients in Texas have to pay out of their own pockets for procedures due to state-mandated laws.