Coming soon: New state level regulations on abortion

posted at 3:01 pm on November 29, 2016 by John Sexton

I’ve written about national efforts which the GOP is expected to take against Planned Parenthood and even some which could eventually threaten Roe v. Wade itself, but pro-life efforts won’t end at the national level. As Fox News reported last week, the GOP also had a historic election night at the state level:

Republicans increased their control in state legislatures leaving Democrats with their lowest level since the Civil War.

Beating pollsters’ odds, the GOP picked up five state House chambers and two state Senate on November 8.

“Republicans certainly bested expectations on the national level and that holds true for the states where they are likely to come out ahead by 30 to 40 seats,” Dan Diorio, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told FoxNews.com.

Republicans increased their majority of governorships to 33 from 31 — their highest level since 1992.

And that, in addition to Trump’s victory, has pro-abortion Democrats nervous and pro-life groups getting ready for a busy year. From the Hill:

“It’s definitely going to be a busy session,” said Ingrid Duran, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “Right now is the time that our affiliates are shaping their legislative agendas and what they’d like to see passed.”

Fourteen states have already banned abortions that occur after 20 weeks. Six more have banned abortions by dismemberment.

In addition to bans on late-term abortions several states will also be using regulatory action to tighten the rules for abortion clinics even as legislation makes its way through GOP held state houses:

“A lot of the trends in the states will be to simultaneously introduce things in legislatures and implement rules in departments that have anything to do with abortions,” said Aimee Arrambide, the reproductive rights program manager at the left-leaning Public Leadership Institute.

Arrambide said she expected Republican-led states to implement onerous rules governing reporting and medical waste disposal through agencies as companion bills make their way through legislatures. Texas is one state where Republicans have used the dual track method: The state required fetal burials or cremations even before the legislature passed its own law.

Arrambide is encouraging states controlled by Democrats to pass laws codifying Roe v. Wade at the state level. That’s an admission that the controversial ruling is now in peril. But most Democrats are said to be more focused on battling Trump’s pro-life replacement for Justice Scalia and any appointments which come after that.

Note: Front page image is an infographic created by the Guttmacher Institute showing abortion restrictions added between 2011 and 2015.


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