Apr 26, 2012 Comments Off Pat Dollard
Headline Photo: Police remove protesters from the steps of the state Capitol in Richmond, Va., on March 3.
Excerpted from USA Today: New restrictions on abortion are sweeping through legislatures from Virginia to Arizona, and voters in some states could see proposed constitutional amendments on November ballots that would define life as beginning at conception.
The 2012 anti-abortion push is not as heavy as last year, when legislators in 24 states, many elected in the 2010 Republican tide, passed a record 92 laws restricting abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a group that conducts sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education.
The abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America is tracking 235 bills in legislatures that it says would restrict abortion. The group says a dozen have passed so far this year.
Some proposals would put new restrictions on when women can have abortions. Some would prevent insurance coverage of abortions. Some are aimed at funding or activities of the reproductive health organization Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions as one of a broad array of women’s health services.
“We are still feeling the ramifications of the 2010 election and what happened in 2011,” says Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for Guttmacher.
Ten major court challenges in seven states are underway against some of the new laws, and they may take four or five years to resolve, Nash says. A Texas law requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound was upheld in a court challenge.
Abortion opponents say they feel emboldened.
“Ohioans are fed up with regulating abortion. They want to end it,” says Patrick Johnston, a family physician from Zanesville who is leading a petition drive to get a “personhood” amendment on November’s state ballot.
Abortion opponents have tried to stay on the offensive since Mississippi voters in November rejected a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception. Dubbed “personhood,” the amendment would have virtually guaranteed a legal challenge to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.