Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On new abortion restrictions, Arkansas isn't alone, but it may be the worst

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 9:10 AM

LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY: The spread of more restrictive abortion laws. - GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE
  • LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY: The spread of more restrictive abortion laws.

The Guardian draws on work by the Guttmacher Institute to report this morning on the successful push in dozens of states to enact stricter anti-abortion laws.

Arkansas, it says, lead the way on creating new restrictions in 2015.

Across the US, legislators approved 57 new anti-abortion measures in 2015, according to a recent count by the Guttmacher Institute, a thinktank supportive of abortion rights. That is down from previous highs in 2011, which saw 92 new restrictions, and 2013, which saw 70. But it is more than double the number of new laws enacted in 2014.

Yesterday, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (the PP affiliate serving Arkansas and several other states in the region) filed suit over a 2015 law that both places a higher burden on women seeking an abortion and on clinics that provide abortions. The Guardian article highlights a shift in focus on the part of anti-abortion advocates, from targeting clinics (think admitting privileges) to throwing up more direct roadblocks to patients themselves:

This year, two states, Arkansas and Tennessee, passed laws that force women wanting an abortion to make two in-person trips to the abortion clinic instead of one. The first trip, which must take place two full days before the second, is for anti-abortion counseling. Florida passed a similar, 24-hour waiting period that is the subject of a court fight. And North Carolina and Oklahoma established a 72-hour waiting period between a woman’s first call to an abortion clinic and her appointment.

Well, we're not alone, at least. But count on any anti-abortion bill that has been successfully signed into law in Florida, Oklahoma or anywhere else to emerge in Arkansas as well in the coming years. 

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