Anti-Abortion Laws Multiplying Across the Nation

Friday, 12 Apr 2013 12:58 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Virginia Board of Health is expected to approve new rules Friday requiring abortion clinics to meet hospital standards permanently, adding to the states that in recent months have adopted tougher restrictions on abortion under pressure from conservative Republicans.

The proposed new rules require abortion clinics to make expensive renovations that could drive some out of business, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The “onerous and unnecessary architectural requirements” could make some of the state's 20 abortion clinics close, said Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director for Planned Parenthood Advocates for Virginia.

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The new requirements are being cheered by anti-abortion groups, who liken them to similar restrictions imposed on healthcare clinics that perform abortions in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, and North Dakota.

But in fact, Republican lawmakers and governors have cracked down on abortion in 23 states.

“The states have become very polarized,” Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies told the Post. “They’re either the reddest of red or the bluest of blue, so whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you can advance your social agenda.”

States adopted a lot of hard restrictions on abortion in 2011 and 2012, but the laws enacted so far this year have been even tougher, the Post reports.

In Arkansas, for example, the state legislature overrode the governor's veto of a law banning abortions at 12 weeks. And on Tuesday, North Dakota GOP Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a law prohibiting abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at six weeks. On the same day, Alabama GOP Gov. Robert Bentley signed a law requiring doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

In Kansas, meanwhile, a recently passed bill, which Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says he'll sign into law, says life begins at fertilization. It also bars tax breaks for abortion providers and prohibits abortions based on sex selection.

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