More abortion restrictions passed this week compared to any week in last decade: analysis
The number of abortion restrictions passed by states this week hit a record high, exceeding the number of restrictions passed in any one week in at least the last decade, according to a new analysis published Friday by the Guttmacher Institute.
Between Monday and Thursday of this week, 28 restrictions were enacted in seven states, which accounts for 46 percent of all restrictions passed in 2021 so far, according to the analysis from Guttmacher, a sexual and reproductive health research organization.
A number of these restrictions include abortion bans that directly challenge Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the U.S. in 1973.
Republican Govs. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma and Brad Little of Idaho signed bills this week banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In Oklahoma, doctors who perform the procedure after a heartbeat is detected can be charged with homicide.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill this week that bans abortions if a mother wants to terminate a pregnancy because of a genetic abnormality in a fetus. A doctor who performs the procedure in violation of the law can face felony charges.
The institute wrote that state policymakers are “testing the limits of what the new U.S. Supreme Court majority might allow,” now that conservative justices dominate the court six to three.
“We’re seeing right-wing ideologues engaging in a shock and awe campaign against abortion rights as part of a large and deliberate attack on basic rights that also includes a wave of voter suppression laws and attacks on LGBTQ people,” said Elizabeth Nash, the Guttmacher Institute’s principal policy associate, in a statement.
According to Guttmacher, a total of 536 abortion restrictions have been introduced this year across 46 states as of Thursday, including 146 bans.
Of the restrictions introduced, by the institute’s count, 61 have been enacted across 13 states, including eight bans.
The analysis noted that restrictions are also being imposed as regulations on abortion clinics, providers and medication abortion.
“The current barrage of coordinated attacks must be taken seriously as the unprecedented threat to reproductive health care and rights that it is,” Nash said.
To put the surge of abortion restrictions into perspective, Guttmacher noted that the number of limitations recorded this year is far outpacing the data collected by this time in 2011, which they wrote is “the year previously regarded as the most hostile to abortion rights since Roe was decided.”
At this time in 2011, the institute recorded, 42 restrictions had been enacted, including six bans.
“If this trend continues, 2021 will end up as the most damaging antiabortion state legislative session in a decade — and perhaps ever,” the report writes.
Arkansas this week tied Louisiana’s 1978 record for the most abortion restrictions enacted in a year, at 20, Guttmacher found.
The group noted that the restrictions enacted this year are largely expansions to previous policies. The report writes that “each additional restriction increases patients’ logistical, financial and legal barriers to care, especially where entire clusters of states are hostile to abortion.”
Updated at 9:40 a.m. on April 30
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