Pro-Abortion Group: Record Pro-Life Laws Passed in 2011

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 15, 2011   |   1:54PM   |   Washington, DC

A national pro-abortion organization that tracks abortion statistics and is a former affiliate of the Planned Parenthood abortion business says 2011 has already set a record for the most number of pro-life laws approved by state legislatures.

Just halfway through the year, pro-life lawmakers have already exponentially increased the number of pro-life laws on the books, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which issued a report decrying the number of laws protecting women and unborn children — which will undoubtedly result in reducing abortions in the states where they have been adopted.

“In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states,” Guttmacher indicates.

From the report, states enacted laws informing women about abortion risks and alternatives and bans on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the scientific evidence showing unborn children feel pain:

Counseling and waiting periods (abortion). Five states (IN, KS, ND, SD and TX) adopted laws related to abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2011, but a measure adopted by South Dakota at the end of March went significantly farther than those approved in other states. The law expands the pre-abortion waiting period to 72 hours, requires the woman to visit a crisis pregnancy center in the interim and mandates that abortion counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the procedure. The counseling must include information on all known risk factors related to abortion, even when the information is not supported by mainstream medical opinion and is methodologically unsound. The law is currently not in effect, pending the outcome of a legal challenge.

Gestational bans. Legislators in 15 states introduced measures based on a law adopted in Nebraska last year. The provision bans abortions at and after 20 weeks’ gestation, based on the spurious assumption that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Under the measure, abortions may be performed after 20 weeks only if the woman’s life is endangered or if there is a risk of “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” So far this year, similar measures have been adopted in five states (AL, ID, IN, KS and OK).

State also passed laws prohibiting paying for abortions with taxpayer funds under Obamacare:

Banning abortion coverage in new insurance exchanges. With plans for the implementation of health care reform underway in most states, the issue of insurance coverage for abortion was considered in 24 states, and restrictions were enacted in eight. In four states (KS, NE, OK and UT), the new laws restrict abortion coverage under all private health insurance plans. These restrictions will apply to coverage that will be available through the health exchanges being set up, as will new measures enacted in four other states (FL, ID, IN and VA). Including these new laws, eight states now restrict abortion coverage that is offered in any private health plan (including coverage through an exchange), and six others have restrictions that apply only to coverage through health exchanges.

States passed laws ensuring that the abortion drug is not used in violation of FDA guidelines.

Medication abortion. Legislatures devoted significant attention to medication abortion for the first time during the 2011 session; measures were introduced in 14 states and enacted in six. Medication abortion has become an integral part of abortion care, now accounting for 17% of procedures provided in nonhospital clinics.

One of the big battles has been the fight over cutting taxpayer funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business:

Holding the line in some states. Considering the historic fiscal crises facing many states, it is significant that family planning escaped major reductions in nine of the 18 states (CO, CT, DE, IL, KS, MA, ME, NY and PA) where the budget has a specific line item for family planning.

Deep cuts in others. The story, however, was different in the remaining nine states. In six (FL, GA, MI, MN, WA and WI), family planning programs sustained deep cuts, although generally in line with decreases adopted for other health programs. In the other three states, however, the cuts to family planning funding were disproportionately large: Montana eliminated the family planning line item, and New Hampshire and Texas cut funding by 57% and 66%, respectively.

The 2011 state legislative season is rapidly drawing to a close, with only 10 state legislatures remaining in session. Additional states are likely to adjourn in the coming weeks, Guttmacher says. But 2012 has already been a record year when it comes to protecting women and unborn children.