July 17, 2015
"States Enact 51 Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2015: Mid-Year Analysis," Elizabeth Nash/Rachel Benson Gold, RH Reality Check: "Through the first six months of 2015, states enacted 51 new abortion restrictions; this brings the number of restrictions enacted since 2010 to 282," Nash and Benson Gold, of the Guttmacher Institute, write, noting that more restrictions could be passed before the year ends by the few state legislatures still in session as of July 1. According to the authors, "states have enacted more restrictions during the first half of this year than all of last year," but the overall number of restrictions is still "below the 70 enacted in 2013, due in part to fewer restrictions being enacted in a handful of states -- including Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona -- that had adopted multiple restrictions between 2011 and 2014." Meanwhile, Nash and Benson Gold note that "the Supreme Court is poised to hear one, and maybe two, major abortion cases in the coming year ," one involving "a 2013 Texas law [HB 2] that imposes targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) requirements on abortion clinics" and another involving an admitting privileges requirement (HB 1390) in Mississippi. Overall, the authors write that the restrictions imposed this year primarily have "focused on four areas: waiting periods, abortions after the first trimester, medication abortion, and TRAP provisions," with some states "chart[ing] new directions that may well serve as models for" more antiabortion-rights legislation (Nash/Benson Gold, RH Reality Check, 7/14).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Anti-Abortion Doctor Has Unscientific Method for Reversing the Abortion Pill," Kira Lerner, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
"How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Using Taxpayer Dollars To Lie to Women," Jenny Kutner, Salon: "More often than not, [crisis pregnancy centers] -- which now outnumber abortion clinics by an estimated 3 to 1 -- can be misleading, manipulative or downright coercive, pushing a distinctly antiabortion agenda that relies heavily on lying to clients," Kutner writes, adding, "So why are so many CPCs funded by taxpayer dollars?" According to Kutner, a "yearlong investigative report" by Cosmopolitan found "at least 11 states that directly fund [CPCs], as well as one state -- South Dakota -- that requires women to receive counseling from an antiabortion center in order to terminate a pregnancy." Kutner notes that the investigation found not only that the states "are providing tens of millions in public funding for religiously affiliated organizations" but also "discovered a troubling funding breakdown that indicates some states are actively incentivizing antiabortion counseling." For example, the report found that Real Alternatives -- an antiabortion-rights not-for-profit that operates CPCs in Pennsylvania and consults with other states -- is not incentivized to put state money "toward the things expectant women need," but instead "to spend more time providing ideologically driven counseling" that "often includes misguided and debunked 'scientific' information ... in order to scare women out of terminating pregnancies" (Kutner, Salon, 7/14).
"The Battle To Bring Sex Education to the City With the Second Highest STD Rate in the Country," Kira Lerner, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Currently, Louisiana public schools teach abstinence-based sexual[ity] education and are prohibited from teaching students about contraception and [sexually transmitted infections], but one state lawmaker is working to change that," Lerner writes, noting that New Orleans has the second-highest STI rate in the country and a teenage pregnancy rate that "dwarfs most other U.S. cities." According to Lerner, "[s]tate Rep. Wesley Bishop (D) introduced a bill [HB 359] this session that would have mandated comprehensive [sexuality education] in New Orleans middle and high schools." Although the bill "ultimately failed to make it off the [state] House floor" despite support from the New Orleans City Council, School Board and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, "Bishop said he will keep fighting to ensure that teenagers in New Orleans get the sexual[ity] education they deserve," Lerner writes. She explains that Bishop decided to work on sexuality education in New Orleans specifically after "moves to bring comprehensive sex[uality] education to the entire state of Louisiana ... failed" (Lerner, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/16).