HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

'Near Record' Number of New State Abortion Laws

As discussed by the Kaiser Family Foundation's "Daily Report":

      The Washington Post on Monday examined the "near-record" number of laws passed by state legislatures this year that impose new restrictions on a woman's access to abortion or contraception. Grassroots antiabortion advocates are working to change the legal setting "one state at a time," while national leaders on both sides of the debate focus on the upcoming hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts, according to the Post. Abortion-rights opponents say they are using a two-pronged approach that aims to "reduce the number of abortions immediately through new restrictions and build a foundation of lower court cases designed to get the high court to eventually" reverse Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that struck down state abortion bans, the Post reports. David Bereit, director of program development for the American Life League, said, "People are becoming frustrated more progress hasn't been made at the federal level and feel they don't have as much control to change things here," adding, "If we can't outright ban abortion, what can we do to make it less prevalent? We see it's much easier to take up funding and parental notification measures at the state level." In many cases, antiabortion groups successfully pushed through bills to restrict "when and where women can get contraceptive services and abortions, and how physicians provide them," the Post reports. Other efforts enacted in some states include "trigger" laws that would immediately ban abortions if Roe were overturned; the provision of funds to encourage women to carry a pregnancy to full term with the possibility of adoption; and the addition of criminal charges for harming a fetus during the commission of a crime against a pregnant woman (Connolly, Washington Post, 8/29).


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