Guttmacher Institute

April 13, 2012

In the first three months of 2012, legislators in 45 of the 46 legislatures that have convened this year introduced 944 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Half of these provisions would restrict abortion access. So far, 75 abortion restrictions have been approved by at least one legislative chamber, and nine have been enacted. This is below the record-breaking pace of 2011, when 127 abortion restrictions had been approved by at least one body in the first quarter of the year, but still higher than usual for an election year. In 2010, for example, only 46 such restrictions had passed at least one house during the first quarter, while in 2008, only 34 had passed one chamber by that point.

This year legislators are particularly focused on measures that require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound; that limit access to medication abortion; and that prohibit abortion at a specific point in gestation. Legislators in several states—mirroring the debate at the national level—are also considering measures allowing employers to refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraceptive methods.

(See here for a detailed rundown of all proposed and enacted legislation).

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