July 19, 2012 — U.S. women increasingly face barriers to obtaining reproductive health services as states continue to pass laws restricting access, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Reuters reports.
The report, "2012 At the Midpoint: The Assault Continues," cites nearly 40 laws that have been enacted in 15 states in 2012 that have the potential to restrict women's access to reproductive health care and in some cases approach an outright abortion ban.
Rules in measures passed in Mississippi (HB 1390) and Tennessee (HB 3808) are so burdensome that it would be nearly impossible to comply with them, according to CRR.
"I think the constitutional protection for women's rights to choose is robust," Jordan Goldberg, the center's state advocacy counsel and author of the report, said. He added, "But that isn’t stopping state legislatures from introducing terrible legislation and, increasingly, passing it."
Other states mentioned in the report for their "harmful" laws are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin (Le Coz, Reuters, 7/18).
Abortion Rights Require Vigilant Defense, Editorial States
"[A]n aggressive campaign to curtail [women's reproductive] rights is being waged across the country as opponents seize every opportunity to deny women long-established constitutional protections," a Los Angeles Times editorial states.
The editorial notes that in Mississippi "the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that requires abortion doctors" to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, "a backdoor way of closing the clinic."
Other legislatures -- including those in Indiana, North Carolina, Arizona and Texas -- and even the U.S. House of Representatives "have carried out their opposition to abortion through efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, the best known of the nation's abortion providers," the editorial continues.
The editorial notes, "In California, where limiting access to abortion and other reproductive services would be practically unthinkable, it can be easy to ignore the ceaseless attacks on women's reproductive rights elsewhere." It concludes, "Abortion rights may be secure in California, but outside this state's boundaries, they require vigilant defense from these continuing attacks" (Los Angeles Times, 7/18).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership