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States Passed 51 Abortion Restrictions in 2015, Study Finds

July 6, 2015 — States so far in 2015 have passed 51 new abortion restrictions, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, The Hill reports.

According to the report, the number of new abortion restrictions passed this year surpasses the total number of such laws approved in 2014. However, Guttmacher noted that more laws usually are passed in odd-numbered years than even-numbered years because more state legislatures are in session. Overall, the number of restrictions enacted this year does not yet surpass the 70 antiabortion-rights laws passed in 2013, which currently marks the highest number of such restrictions passed in one year in the last few decades.

Among other restrictions, the report found that four states this year passed laws similar to provisions in an omnibus antiabortion-rights law in Texas (HB 2). The Supreme Court last week put parts of the Texas law on hold, including a provision that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Meanwhile, five states this year also passed laws imposing or extending mandatory delays before an abortion, and two states approved laws that could prohibit abortion as early as 14 weeks' gestation, according to Guttmacher. Providers have filed suit over one of those laws, SB 95 in Kansas.

The report cautioned, "Even though most action on these issues follows recent trends, some states have charted some new directions that may well serve as models for other states going forward" (Sullivan, The Hill, 7/2).