1,000 Reasons Why It’s Becoming Incredibly Difficult to Get an Abortion

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More anti-abortion laws have been passed since 2010 than in any other five-year period since 1973, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. In the four decades since Roe v. Wade, states have enacted more than 1,000 laws restricting the procedure, and of those restrictions, 288, or nearly one-third, appeared after the 2010 midterm elections.

Ten states accounted for most of the new abortion restrictions, and four states—Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Indiana—adopted 94 measures, which constituted one-third of all new anti-abortion laws in the last five years. Kansas tops the list, having passed 30 anti-abortion laws since 2011, followed by Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Indiana, all with at least 20 new laws.

In the five years immediately following Roe v. Wade, states enacted about 200 abortion restrictions. Those measures mostly focused on “restricting abortions later in pregnancy, establishing onerous requirements for abortion clinics, mandating parental involvement for minors, and allowing some institutional and individual providers” to opt out of providing services, according to Guttmacher. Later abortions and parental-involvement laws are still popular among anti-abortion lawmakers, but more than half of the 288 new laws since 2010 focus on other restrictions. They include limits on medication abortion, bans on private insurance coverage, and requirements for physician’s abortion counseling.

And experts expect that 2016 will likely be worse for abortion rights than 2015, during which states passed more than 50 new laws that limit reproductive rights.

“Last year’s big events, like the Planned Parenthood videos and the Supreme Court case, have actually ginned up even more interest in restricting abortion,” Elizabeth Nash, a senior state issues associate at Guttmacher, told Mother Jones earlier this month. “If it was possible, they’ve actually added more energy to decreasing abortion access.”

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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