The Guttmacher Institute just released the Winter 2014 edition of their Policy Review, entitled “A Surge of State Abortion Restrictions Puts Providers – And the Women They Serve – in the Crosshairs.” As the beginning of the 2015 legislative session draws near, pro-choice advocates in North Carolina should look not only at what legislation will likely be proposed in NC, but also the legislative trends attacking abortion rights throughout the country. Understanding national political trends is essential to protecting access to reproductive choice for all women and families in North Carolina because women and families pay the price for these restrictions which are falsely touted as protecting women’s health.
The review discusses the surge of state-level abortion restrictions that have dominated state legislatures the past three years – there were more state abortion restrictions enacted in 2011-2013 (205 restrictions) than in the entire previous decade (189 restrictions from 2001 to 2010). Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP), limits on the provision of medication abortion, bans on private insurance coverage of abortion, and bans on abortion at 20 weeks are the four major categories of abortion restrictions predominantly seen sweeping legislatures. However, a few states have made efforts to protect access to abortion. It is time for pro-choice advocates to fight back against the relentless attacks that have faced reproductive choice – not only in defeating the anti-choice legislation, but by introducing our own pro-choice measures to protect the health of North Carolina women and families.