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The number of new abortion restrictions ballooned from 43 enacted in 2012 to 70 in 2013. North Dakota and Texas, which did not have legislative sessions in 2012, together enacted 13 restrictions in 2013.In addition, the 2012 elections brought changes to the legislature in Arkansas and the governor’s mansion in North Carolina that created environments more hostile to abortion; after adopting no abortion restrictions in 2012, these two states together enacted 13 new restrictions in 2013.
Over the course of the year, 39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights.Although these measures are not enforced, 12 states continue to have pre-Roe laws on the books (see Abortion Policy in the Absence of Roe).Despite this progress, the overwhelming preponderance of legislation concerning abortion was aimed at restricting access to the procedure.In addition, the Iowa Board of Medicine adopted regulations prohibiting the use of telemedicine for medication abortion.Over the course of the year, courts blocked enforcement of the Iowa regulations, as well as earlier laws that had been enacted in North Dakota and Wisconsin.Four types of restrictions dominated the legislative scene during 2013: abortion bans, restrictions on abortion providers, limitations on the provision of medication abortion and restrictions on coverage of abortion in private health plans.
Together, legislation in these four categories accounted for 56% of all restrictions enacted over the year.
Against this backdrop, it is particularly noteworthy that California moved to significantly improve access to early abortion services by expanding 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.
By 2013, however, 22 states had five or more restrictions, and Louisiana had 10.
In 2000, 13 states had at least four types of major abortion restrictions and so were considered hostile to abortion rights (see Troubling Trend: More States Hostile to Abortion Rights as Middle Ground Shrinks); 27 states fell into this category by 2013.
Forty-five percent of the abortion restrictions enacted over the last three years fall into four categories: targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP), limitations on insurance coverage of abortion, bans on abortions at 20 weeks postfertilization (the equivalent of 22 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period) and limitations on medication abortion.