Record attacks on repro rights in 2011
Posted on January 10, 2012
State lawmakers set a record in 2011 for the most anti-reproductive rights provisions enacted in a single year, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.
Legislators introduced more than 1,100 provisions in 2011, and enacted 135 of them. To help put this in perspective, 89 such provisions were enacted in 2010, 77 in 2009, and only 34 in 2005.
As detailed by Laura Bassett on the Huffington Post, last year’s legislation included:
- “Fetal pain” laws that ban abortion after 20 weeks (in conflict with Roe. v Wade, which allows until about 24 weeks);
- Laws that require physicians to show and describe the ultrasound image of the fetus to a woman;
- Mandatory waiting periods and counseling (which make it tough for women who are poor or live in rural areas to access abortions);
- Provisions prohibiting insurance policies from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment;
- And new regulations on abortion clinics, such as hallway-width and dressing room requirements, and covered-entrance mandates (which make it physically or financially impossible for many abortion clinics to remain open).
Fortunately, as Bassett notes, many of these laws have been struck down in the courts. Unfortunately, as she further notes, “The accelerated pace at which state lawmakers are pushing anti-abortion provisions does not appear to be slowing down any time soon, and the bills are getting more and more restrictive.” Which means reproductive rights advocates should be prepared for a busy year.