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States Continue to Enact Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2014, But at a Lower Level Than in the Previous Three Years


So far this year, 13 states have adopted 21 new restrictions designed to limit access to abortion, about half the number (41) of similar restrictions that had been enacted by this point last year.

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State Policy Trends: More Supportive Legislation, Even as Attacks on Abortion Rights Continue

While witnesses on both sides of the issue claimed to be in favor of protecting women’s health, anti-choice witnesses relied heavily on debunked science and distorted interpretations of the bill to make many of their claims.

Some 64 provisions have been introduced so far this year to expand or protect access to abortion, more than had been introduced in any year in the last quarter-century.

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More Abortion Restrictions Were Enacted From 2011 to 2013 Than in the Entire Previous Decade

Twenty-two states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year.

In 2013, 39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Half of these new provisions, 70 in 22 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services.

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State-Level Assault on Abortion Rights Continues in First Half of 2013

In the first six months of 2013, legislators enacted 43 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion.

In the first six months of 2013, states enacted more than 100 provisions related to reproductive health and rights, including 43 restrictions on access to abortion—the second-highest number of abortion access restrictions ever at the midyear mark, and as many as were enacted in all of 2012.

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State Policy Trends 2013: Abortion Bans Move to the Forefront


Unlike in recent years, when the thrust of legislative activity was on regulating abortion, this year legislators seem to be focusing on banning abortion outright.

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State-Level 2012 Retrospective: Second-Highest Number of Abortion Restrictions Ever

Reproductive health and rights were once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services.

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State Legislative Trends in Reproductive Health Law and Policy: Mid-Year 2012 Analysis

In the first half of 2012, states enacted 95 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. As was the case in 2011, issues related to abortion, family planning funding and sex education once again were significant flashpoints in many legislatures .

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State Policy Trends: Abortion and Contraception in the Crosshairs

Photo by Scott Emlquist, Style Weekly.

So far, 75 abortion restrictions have been approved by at least one legislative chamber, and nine have been enacted. Here’s a breakdown of the measures that legislators are focused on this year.

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Losing Ground on Women’s Rights: In 2011, Sex Ed, Contraception, Abortion Rights All Under Seige

By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. And virtually none of it was good.


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Back to the Future: Antichoice Activists and (Mis)Informed Consent

Elizabeth Nash is a Public Policy Associate in the Guttmacher Institute's Washington DC office.

It's only been about a month since the midterm election that brought significant prochoice victories, including the defeat of South Dakota's draconian abortion ban and the rejection of ballot initiatives in California and Oregon that would have required parental notification before a minor could obtain an abortion. And yet, it is already time to go back to work as antiabortion advocates are gearing up once again to continue restricting access to abortion services.

Stephanie Simon reported in the LA Times shortly after the election that one of the antichoice movement's primary goals will be to "expand or rewrite ‘informed consent' laws" – a favorite and perennial tactic. According to a recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, written counseling materials often contain medically inaccurate, out-of-date or biased information – violating a core tenet of the principles of informed consent.

Informed consent – the concept that individuals have a right to receive relevant, accurate and unbiased information prior to receiving medical care so they can make sound decisions regarding treatment – is a bedrock principle of medical ethics. Moreover, the obligation to provide such information is mandated by statute or case law in all 50 states.

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