New restrictions on abortion are finding their way through legislatures. In some states, new constitutional amendments are proposed that would define life as starting at conception. NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group is keeping track of 235 bills in legislatures which would restrict abortion; 12 of these bills have already passed so far this year.
While new proposals suggest putting restrictions on the gestational age women can have abortions, others suggest preventing insurance coverage of abortions. Several proposals are also aimed at the funding and activities of the reproductive health organization, Planned Parenthood, who provide abortions.
Ever since Mississippi voters rejected a constitutional amendment which declared that life begins at conception, abortion opponents have continued to try to stay on the offensive. The amendment which was dubbed “Personhood,” would have all but guaranteed a legal challenge to the case of Wade Supreme Court vs. Roe which took place in 1973 regarding the decision to legalize abortion.
The director of communications for NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ted miller, says that “Thanks to the events which happened in the state of Mississippi, clear evidence can be seen that at the moment voters see how extreme these measures are and the detrimental effect they have on women, they have no choice but to unanimously object to them.”
It seems that those who oppose abortion are divided on what the best strategy to take is. Some such as the president of the National Right to Life Committee, Carol Tobias, wants to put more of a focus on court fights and legislature to coalesce around Matt Romney, Republican presidential candidate. Whereas, others, including Patrick Johnston, have simply refused to endorse the Republican presidential candidate thanks to Romney’s previous support for abortion rights, and say that the ballot is the perfect battleground to end abortion.
This division in strategy is nowhere more apparent than in Ohio, where legislators are being pressed by Ohio Right to Life to eliminate both funding for Planned Parenthood, as well as outlawing abortions of fetuses whose heartbeat can be detected. However, Johnston has publicly criticized these measures, stating that they are not enough, especially the latter.
Sandy Theis, a spokeswoman for Healthy Families Ohio, a coalition which is against the proposed “Personhood” amendment said that, “More anti-abortion legislation has been seen in this General Assembly than at any time in recent memory.”
The abortion restrictions passed this year are as follows:
•Arizona will prohibit abortion for pregnancies after 20 weeks, this restriction is similar to legislation passed last year in Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
•Virginia will require women who are looking to have an abortion to have an ultrasound scan first.
•Wisconsin requires physicians who are prescribing a drug that medically induces abortion to not only do a physical examination, but be in the room when the drug is administered. Six states have already passed a similar legislation last year.