Pro-life dominating: 231 new pro-life laws since 2010, according to Guttmacher report
Life is on the march across the nation, with dramatically more pro-life legislation becoming law in the last four years than in the preceding decades, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.
During 2014, a total of 341 new pro-life laws were introduced in 15 state legislatures, but only 26 became law. As a result, more than half (57 percent) of women now live in a state with pro-life protections.
In all, states enacted 231 pro-life laws between 2010 and 2014, with more than half the country now considered “hostile to abortion,” according to the abortion industry think tank.
States with four or five restrictions on abortion were deemed “hostile” in its reckoning, researchers from Guttmacher said in a press release Monday.
As of the end of 2014, 27 states are “hostile to abortion,” with 18 labeled “extremely hostile” – e.g., they had passed five or more pro-life laws. Those numbers have more than doubled since 2000, when 13 states had adopted at least four such statutes and none had five.
“The large number of recently enacted abortion restrictions has dramatically reshaped the landscape for women seeking an abortion,” the report's authors wrote. “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.”
The nature of the laws varies, from restricting abortion procedures and the administration of RU-486 to requiring greater health and safety protections for women from abortion providers.
Louisiana and Oklahoma required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. A similar law has shuttered the vast majority of abortion facilities in Texas.
Alabama strengthened parental consent laws, while Arizona allowed for unannounced inspections of abortion facilities and made it illegal for an adult to arrange an abortion for a minor without her parents' permission.
Two states extended the waiting period before a woman has an abortion from 24 hours to 48 hours (Alabama) or 72 hours (Missouri).
Mississippi banned late-term abortions on the ground of fetal pain, and South Dakota made sex-selective abortions illegal, a move abortion advocates deemed part of a war on women.
Abortion funding was also restricted. Alaska passed a law reducing the instances in which state Medicaid dollars could be used for abortion, and two states (Indiana and Georgia) restricted instances of individuals paying for abortion through their private insurance premiums. Polls show most Americans do not believe their tax dollars should be used to underwrite abortion.
As lawmakers restrict the provision of abortion, require informed consent, and increase standards, the nation's abortion rate has plunged to its lowest level in decades, according to the CDC.
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Sarah Jones of PoliticsUSA called the high number of protections for life the “cost of staying home” during the last two midterm elections, both of which were wave elections sweeping Republicans into power. “We are going backwards,” she wrote.
Conversely, the report states that state legislators introduced “more positive measures than in any year since 1990,” offering 95 bills “designed to expand access to abortion.” Only four were enacted. Massachusetts replaced a bubble zone around abortion facilities after the Supreme Court struck down its previous law. New Hampshire enacted a similar law. Vermont repealed an archaic law banning abortion, which passed before Roe v. Wade. And Utah reduced some of its informed consent requirements.
The same day that the report came out, Ms. Magazine warned of a coming “avalanche” of pro-life proposals in the year 2015 – especially in Tennessee, after state voters approved a constitutional amendment last November allowing legislators to regulate abortion.