Growing Number of States Restricting Abortion

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Following in the legislative footsteps of Nebraska, which has had a law on its books for a year that bans abortion after 20 weeks, at least a dozen states are considering some type of restriction to abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, by the end of March, seven states will have have enacted 15 new laws that restrict abortion. In South Dakota a new law will soon go into effect that will expand the pre-abortion waiting period from 24 to 72 hours and require counseling from a crisis pregnancy center. Are we seeing a state-by-state permanent change to abortion rights? 

Utah and Virginia will soon develop new regulations governing abortion clinics, and Utah will limit abortion coverage in all private health plans. But pro-choice advocates are not filing suits to fight the new laws, like many expected. Joining us to talk about why we’re not seeing challenges to these tougher state mandated restrictions on abortion is Linda Greenhouse, Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.

Below: The map shows the current abortion laws in every state, as of January 2011. The information comes from the Guttmacher Institute.

The white map markers represent states that do not have any major restrictions.

See full map.


Linda Greenhouse

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [3]

Juli Parker from Swansea, MA

The issue with abortion rights, at the very basic, is that without access to legalized abortion, women die. Period. And mostly poor women. If one looks at pre-Roe V. Wade statistics, we know that women of color died much more often than white women of illegal abortion. This, at the very heart, is about class. Women with means can find a doctor or travel to one to get an abortion, but poor women and teenagers cannot, so these laws are really about restricting access to health care for poor women.

Apr. 21 2011 02:39 PM

A few points:

1. It is an odd misnomer to say that the U.S. Supreme Court "legalized" abortion. What the Court did in Roe v. Wade was to "Federalize" and "Constitutionalize" abortion. Before Roe, several states (New York among others) were moving toward gradual, legislative legalization. Which likely would have led to popular, electorally-judged legislative compromises. Instead, the hard-edged decision to make abortion a constitutional right forced all sides into extremist and legalistic positions. For decades.

2. This program held out Linda Greenhouse as an expert commentator with only her new academic credentials. In fact, Linda Greenhouse was for many years the New York Times' Supreme Court reporter. And she was often and widely criticized, for her liberal bias in reporting, and for her remarkable public statements as to her personal views on issues before the court.
She was rebuked by the Times, for participating in an abortion rights rally while still a working reporter on that issue.
She has, in a speech, referred to recent Court decisions as an "assault" on reproductive freedom.
She called the framework of military justsice at Guantanamo Bay a "law-free" zone, which probably served the interest of her husband, liberal activist lawyer Eugene Fidell, who represented amicus parties in detainee litigation that went to the Supreme Court. Where Ms. Greenhouse then reported on the decisions.

In other words, Takeaway producers have disguised the powerful undercurrent of liberal bias. They could have matched Greenhouse with a conservative counter-balance. They could have qualified Ms. Greenhouse's appearance. They could, next time, engage a conservative Court analyst. (The standard lineup for Takeaway Court analysis looks like Jeffrey Toobin batting first, Jeffrey Rosen batting second, Dahlia Lithwick in the third position and Linda Greenhouse batting cleanup. This is a liberal murderers' row of left-wing court analysis. Exactly what one would expect from public radio.)

When The Takeaway, WNYC and NPR all protest the claims of liberal bias, they must be joking, in lighit of innumerable episodes like this.

Apr. 21 2011 11:37 AM
Tom Holzel from Boston

Doesn't anyone notice the huge irony of this liberal complaint? The right-wing tactic of trying to kill abortion rights by a thousand cuts in spite of its Supreme
Court allowence is EXACTLY the same tactic that left-wingers have been using for decades to hem-in the Constitutional right of private gun ownership.

Apr. 21 2011 09:37 AM

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