States limit abortions, cut contraceptives

July 28, 2011 at 10:10 PM
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NEW YORK, July 28 (UPI) -- Nineteen U.S. states have enacted 162 reproductive health-related measures this year, half of which restrict access to abortions, women's health advocates said.

A report by the Guttmacher Institute in New York, a non-profit organization that works to advance sexual and reproductive health, says the 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005, and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010.

Indiana, Kansas, Indiana, South Dakota and Texas adopted laws related to abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2011.

"But in South Dakota, the law expands the pre-abortion waiting period to 72 hours, requires the woman to visit a crisis pregnancy center in the interim and mandates that abortion counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the procedure," the report says.

The law is currently not in effect, pending the outcome of a legal challenge.

Five states have adopted and 15 states introduced a bill that bans abortions at and after 20 weeks' gestation unless the woman's life is endangered. Only 1.5 percent of all abortions occur after 20 weeks, the report said.

The Ohio House last month adopted a measure that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected -- usually at six to 10 weeks' gestation. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate.

Six states cut the family planning budget lines -- in line with other health program cuts -- but Montana eliminated the family planning line item altogether, while New Hampshire cut the budget by 57 percent and Texas cut birth control funding by 66 percent, the report says.

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