Texas Isn’t the Only State Trying to Limit Access to Abortion
(NEW YORK) — Texas is drawing national attention as the state’s Republican lawmakers try to push a restrictive abortion bill through the legislature.
The bill, which would close nearly every abortion clinic in the state and limit access to things like cancer and STD screenings, has drawn ire from Democrats and national organizations like Planned Parenthood.
But it’s not unique: Over the past several years, a dozen states across the country have quietly passed laws designed to restrict access to abortions and chip away at the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. The court said women have the right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb. That’s typically around the 24-week mark.
Those attempts are despite the fact that a majority of adults — 60 percent — in the United States think Roe v. Wade should remain intact, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Fewer than 30 percent think it should be overturned.
It is true that people trend more conservative in states that have attempted to pass restrictive laws, but often those attempts cross the line when it comes to public opinion about what’s acceptable.
For example, just 38 percent of Texans want to make abortion laws stricter, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. But they generally bristle at the idea of restricting abortion access significantly or altogether.
Courts have blocked restrictive laws in states like Georgia and Arizona, and organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have challenged laws in others. But restrictive laws remain in place where they have not been challenged, often in direct contradiction to Roe v. Wade. You can find a full list of current abortion laws on the Guttmacher Institute’s site.
Here is a look at five of the most recently enacted stringent laws:
1. Ohio: The state just passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Republican Governor John Kasich, a proponent of limiting abortions, signed a budget that cuts funding for abortion and family planning services. That means groups like Planned Parenthood, which operates clinics in the state, will see cuts to funding.
The law also requires abortion clinics to transfer patients who require additional care to local private hospitals, which are limited. Women seeking an abortion must have an ultrasound and clinics must tell women about the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus they are carrying. Rape clinics that try to counsel sexual assault victims about abortions risk losing public funding.
2. Arkansas: A judge temporarily blocked a law in May that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, but a state ban on abortions after 20 weeks unless the life or health of the mother is endangered is in effect. That law, which was passed in February, hinges on the disputed claim that a fetus feels pain by the 20th week.
3. North Dakota: The state adopted a law in March that prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable. That happens as early as six weeks, well before some women even know they are pregnant. A women’s rights group filed a lawsuit in June to block the law on behalf of the state’s only abortion clinic in Fargo.
The law also bars abortions for sex selection and because of genetic defects. The state also requires abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with hospitals. Those hospitals require clinics to transfer 10 patients a year, which could be a tough standard to meet.
4. South Dakota: North Dakota’s southern neighbor also passed stricter abortion laws this year. In February, lawmakers passed a measure that requires women to wait at least 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, before having an abortion. A law that requires women to receive counsel from faith-based crisis pregnancy centers has been blocked in court.
5. Kansas: The state restricts access to abortions after 20 weeks except in rare instances where the mother is endangered. Several provisions were recently blocked in court, including a law that requires women experiencing complications like hemorrhaging or infection to wait at least a day before having an emergency abortion. A provision that requires doctors to tell women that fetuses experience pain after 20 weeks and that women who receive abortions are more susceptible to breast cancer, both highly disputed claims, was also blocked.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio