Activists Push New Abortion Restrictions in Wake of Gosnell Trial

Wednesday, 17 Apr 2013 02:17 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Anti-abortion activists are capitalizing on the attention surrounding the high-profile murder trial of an abortion doctor in Philadelphia to push forward a new wave of restrictions on the procedure and clinics where they are performed.

The moves would build on recent successes at the state-level, Business Insider reported Wednesday.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is accused of killing a woman and seven infants in Pennsylvania during botched and late-term abortion procedures. The conditions in his clinic were reportedly compared to a “baby charnel house,” where Gosnell allegedly severed the spines of babies with scissors and kept fetal remains around the office.

“The pro-life movement and pro-life legislators have been aware of the Gosnell case since it broke in 2011 and it has helped spark new legislation before now,” said Mallory Quigley, communications director for the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political advocacy group.

“We definitely expect a new push to end abuses taking place in the abortion industry,” she added.

Since the 2010 midterm elections that swept Republicans into office, lawmakers in a number of states have passed or introduced new regulations to restrict access to abortion and increase restrictions on abortion clinics and providers. In 2011, twenty states considered new laws, and in 2012 19 states did so.

Twenty-two states have passed or are actively considering new measures this year to regulate abortion facilities and in some cases place bans on abortions within the first trimester.

And according to research from the Guttmacher Institute, a group that tracks reproductive health legislation, state lawmakers introduced 694 provisions related to reproductive rights in the first three months of 2013, about half of which are aimed at restricting access to abortion, the Insider noted.

The efforts are drawing intense opposition from pro-choice groups that argue the laws passed or being considered are excessive and designed to be a backdoor ban on safe abortions.

“They are driving up the cost of abortion and they are driving legitimate abortion providers out of business,” said Jessica Arons, director of the Women’s Health and Rights program at the Center for American Progress.

She contends the laws will push women toward less reputable providers.

“The pro-life movement is trying to regulate abortion out of practice,” she added.


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