Shocking: 916 State Anti-Abortion Measures Proposed in First Three Months of 2011

If you suspected that this year's state-level war on women's reproductive rights was beyond the pale, then your suspicions are correct. According to a recent report from the Guttmacher Institute, an astounding 916 anti-abortion measures were proposed in states around the country during the first quarter of 2011, and the bills that are being proposed are more radical than we have seen in the past:

As a whole, the proposals introduced this year are more hostile to abortion rights than in the past: 56% of the bills introduced so far this year seek to restrict abortion access, compared with 38% last year. Three topics—insurance coverage of abortion, restriction of abortion after a specific point in gestation and ultrasound requirements—are topping the agenda in several states. At the same time, legislators are proposing little in the way of proactive initiatives aimed at expanding access to reproductive health-related services; this stands in sharp contrast to recent years when a range of initiatives to promote comprehensive sex education, permit expedited STI treatment for patients’ partners and ensure insurance coverage of contraception were adopted.

As of March 31, fifteen anti-abortion laws had been adopted in seven states. Among them are laws that will:

expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it more onerous than that in any other state, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to obtain counseling from a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;

expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;

require the health departments in Utah and Virginiato develop new regulations governing abortion clinics;

revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;

limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and

revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.

An additional 120 pieces of anti-abortion legislation are well on their way to being passed, having been approved by at least one chamber of a state legislature.

Read the full report for more chilling information on how Roe v. Wage is being rolled back around the country.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at April 22, 2011, 6:14am

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