BY KIRSTEN ANDERSON
Fri Jan 03, 2014 15:00 EST
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion think tank with connections to Planned Parenthood, 2013 was a banner year for pro-life legislation, capping a three-year trend that saw more laws passed limiting abortion than in the previous 10 years combined.
According to the group’s year-end report, 205 new abortion restrictions became law in the last three years, 70 in 2013 alone, making last year second only to 2011 as the most pro-life year across the state legislatures since Roe v. Wade.
“This legislative onslaught has dramatically changed the landscape for women needing abortion,” the report’s authors stated. “The overwhelming preponderance of legislation concerning abortion was aimed at restricting access to the procedure.”
The report went on to attack four types of pro-life laws that the authors said “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.”
In particular, the group objected to two early abortion bans passed by Arkansas and North Dakota, states that they accused of “overtly flouting the standard established by Roe v. Wade.” In Arkansas, the state legislature overrode the governor’s veto to enact a ban on all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. In North Dakota, a “fetal heartbeat” law banned all abortion after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, something Guttmacher’s researchers admitted “generally occurs at about six weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period.” Both laws are currently being challenged in court.
Additionally, the group lamented the introduction of 11 separate pain-capable unborn child protection bills, three of which passed during 2013 (in Arkansas, North Dakota and Texas). Nine states now have such laws, which ban abortions after 20 weeks based on mounting scientific evidence that babies at that stage of development have nervous systems developed enough to recognize and feel pain – an assertion the report’s authors dismissed as a “spurious belief.”
Guttmacher’s researchers also complained about increasingly tough safety regulations around the country aimed at holding abortion facilities to the same standards as other outpatient surgical facilities. The report’s authors call the improved safety standards “TRAP laws” (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers), and say the new regulations are “onerous and irrelevant” and “designed to discourage medical professionals from providing abortion and make it impossible for clinics to remain open.”
A total of eight states tightened restrictions on abortion centers last year, many in the wake of a string of shocking court cases, clinic closures, and undercover videos showing the lax or nonexistent safety standards that appear to be the rule at such facilities – including West Philadelphia’s “House of Horrors,” where abortionist Kermit Gosnell both killed and maimed patients, as well as murdering babies born alive after botched procedures, a crime for which he is now serving three consecutive lifetime sentences.
Another target of Guttmacher’s ire was a trend toward limiting or banning so-called “telemed” abortions, in which abortionists prescribe dangerous abortion drugs by video conference or phone, without a physical exam and with no in-person follow-up.
“Despite the fact that telemedicine is rapidly gaining acceptance as a way to expand access to [abortion],” the group’s authors wrote, “over the course of the year, seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas) enacted laws effectively banning the use of telemedicine for medication abortion. In addition, the Iowa Board of Medicine adopted regulations prohibiting the use of telemedicine for medication abortion.”
The group also blasted states for moving to require abortionists to follow FDA guidelines when prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, which limit the prescription of abortifacients to the first 49 days of pregnancy and require a physical examination by a doctor. The reporters called the FDA protocol “outdated” and complained that it was inconvenient for abortion-minded women, both reducing the window of time for them to obtain chemical abortions as well as forcing them to make “an extra trip to the clinic” to ensure their safety.
Other pro-life laws objected to by Guttmacher’s researchers included bans on insurance coverage and public funding for abortion, parental consent laws, waiting periods, ultrasound, and counseling requirements, and even a conscience clause passed in North Carolina allowing health care facilities and medical professionals to refuse to participate in abortions. The group even complained about laws aimed at stopping sex-selection abortions, calling such laws a “problem-and-solution mismatch.”