States Have Passed 205 Laws Limiting Abortion in Last 3 Years: Guttmacher

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 05:33 PM

By Cathy Burke

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State legislatures enacted 205 abortion restrictions from 2011 through last year, outpacing the 189 provisions enacted during the entire previous decade, a report from the abortion rights-supporting Guttmacher Institute showed Thursday.

The report named four states as key to the increase, with North Dakota, Texas, Arkansas, and North Carolina passing a combined 26 new restrictions.

The pro-life laws passed in those four states focused on the period during which abortions may be performed, with each passing “fetal pain” laws banning abortions after 20 weeks, The Hill reported.

Arkansas' and North Dakota's laws were the most restrictive, with Arkansas passing a 12-week ban and North Dakota restricting abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which occurs at approximately six weeks, The Hill noted. Those laws are being appealed.

The Guttmacher report said nearly half of the abortion restrictions passed by lawmakers in the last three years fell into four categories: limits on abortion providers, limits on insurance coverage, restrictions on when abortions may be performed, and on medication abortions.

States passed 93 pro-life measures in these four categories during the past three years compared with 22 during the previous decade; new abortion restrictions went from 43 passed in 2012 to 70 last year, the report showed.

In contrast, California passed the first new state law in more than seven years to expand access to abortion, the report said; the state law allows nurses and midwives to perform first-trimester abortions.

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