2012 Saw The Second Highest Number Of New Abortion Restrictions

According to the Guttmacher Institute’s annual report on state-level abortion legislation, anti-choice lawmakers enacted the second highest number of new abortion restrictions in 2012 since the organization began tracking the annual data in 1985.

This past year, 19 states passed 42 different provisions intended to restrict women’s access to abortion services — second only to the record-breaking 92 anti-abortion provisions that were passed in 2011:

Guttmacher’s analysis tracked abortion-related “provisions” rather than laws, since states passed women’s health laws that often contained several relevant provisions — contributing to the fact that the new anti-abortion legislation was highly geographically concentrated. Twenty three of the new restrictions, over half of the total number of anti-abortion restrictions passed in 2012, were enacted in just six states.

Arizona topped the list by enacting seven abortion restrictions, including a stringent 20-week abortion ban that currently has the unfortunate distinction of being the harshest law in the nation. Not to be outdone, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin each enacted at least three pieces of anti-abortion legislation to limit their residents’ reproductive rights as well.

Most of the new anti-choice provisions enacted in 2012 restricted abortion access by banning later-term abortions, denying insurance coverage for abortion services in the health exchanges created under Obamacare, and limiting the availability of medicine-induced abortions. On the other hand, exactly zero laws were enacted in 2012 to improve women’s access to abortion, increase the availability of family planning services, or expand comprehensive sexual education programs.