The year will be remembered not only because 17 states enacted a total of 57 new abortion restrictions, but also because the politics of abortion ensnared family planning programs, providers, and life-saving fetal tissue research.
Through the first six months of 2015, states enacted 51 new abortion restrictions; this brings the number of restrictions enacted since 2010 to 282.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.