More abortion restrictions in 2011-13 than previous decade

Jan. 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM   |   0 comments

NEW YORK, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Last year, 39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights -- half restricted access to abortion services, U.S. researchers say.

A report by the Guttbacher Institute, a non-profit group in New York, found 22 states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year.

Forty-five percent of the abortion restrictions enacted over the last three years fell into four categories: targeted restrictions on abortion providers, limitations on insurance coverage of abortion, bans on abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization -- the equivalent of 22 weeks after a woman's last menstrual period -- and limitations on medication abortion.

To put recent trends in perspective, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years -- 2011 to 2013 -- but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade from 2001 to 2010.

The overwhelming preponderance of legislation concerning abortion was aimed at restricting access to the procedure.

However, California expanded the types of providers permitted to perform either medication or surgical abortions. Legislation enacted in September allows physician assistants, certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners to provide abortions during the first trimester. Thirty-nine states limit the provision of abortion services to licensed physicians, the report said.

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