Tags: abortion | restrictions | tennessee | limits

Abortion Restrictions Gain Momentum in Several States

By    |   Monday, 12 Jan 2015 12:19 PM

Coming on the heels of voters approving a constitutional amendment stating that the right to an abortion is not guaranteed, Tennessee legislators already are moving forward with bills to further tighten the state's laws on the procedure, reports the Chattanooga Free Press.

One bill being introduced by Republican Rep. Rick Womick would require a woman to receive and view an ultrasound of the fetus 24 to 72 hours before she plans to have an abortion, although she could decline.

With Republican gains in state legislatures after November's elections, there could be a reversal in what has been a decline in the number of abortion restrictions.

In 2014, only 26 new restrictions on abortion were passed by state legislatures, which was 70 fewer than were passed in 2013, according to a new study released by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute.

The report said part of the decline was a result of some legislatures not being in session and others holding shorter sessions as a consequence of it being an election year.
The study notes that more states have made it more difficult to gain access to abortion procedures, which the report defines as "hostile" to abortion.

According to the report, 13 states had four or five types of abortion restrictions in effect in 2000, but that figure rose to 27 states in 2014, which earned them a rating by the Institute as "hostile" to abortion.

As many as 18 "can now be considered extremely hostile. The entire South is now considered hostile to abortion rights, and much of the South, along with much of the Midwest, is extremely hostile to abortion rights," notes the report.

The gains made by Republicans in state legislatures likely will lead to a continuing trend in bills aims at restricting various abortion practices, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"There’s a lot of opportunity out there right now," said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, tells the Journal.

The National Right to Life Committee says it intends to lobby for more bans on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a limit which is currently the law in 10 states, reports the Journal.

Some Republican officials, however, caution that an increase in legislative proposals may simply result in more court challenges.

Responding to moves by the Tennessee legislature to introduce measures from informed consent or mandatory counseling to waiting periods, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam advised pro-life legislators to consider what laws have survived challenges in other states.

"I think anything we do, we should pay attention to what's been ruled legal or not in other states. Let's not go charging up hills that other folks have charged up and have found were outside the law," said in an interview with The Free Press.

Courts already are struggling to sort out a myriad of state laws, reports Politico.

"And of the 20-week bans on the books in 14 states, courts have blocked three. A federal version was again introduced Tuesday on the first day of the 114th Congress, and both the House, which has already passed such legislation once, and the Senate are likely to consider such legislation," notes reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham.

Just last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard arguments in a case challenging a requirement under Texas law that abortion clinics have similar standards as outpatient surgery clinics, reports The Dallas Morning News.

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Coming on the heels of voters approving a constitutional amendment stating that the right to an abortion is not guaranteed, Tennessee legislators already are moving forward with bills to further tighten the state's laws on the procedure, reports the Chattanooga Free Press.
abortion, restrictions, tennessee, limits
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2015-19-12
Monday, 12 Jan 2015 12:19 PM
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