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Abortion-rights opponents prepare restrictions for upcoming sessions

Following the elections last month, abortion-rights opponents are preparing to push restrictions during the upcoming legislative session, The Hill reports.

According to The Hill, many of the expected proposals are not new types of restrictions. Rather, most of the measures are based on sample bills drafted by Americans United for Life that have been blocked in previous legislative sessions by state lawmakers who support abortion rights (Wilson, The Hill, 11/29).


In November, Donald Trump won the presidential election, while conservative lawmakers won the majority of seats in the House and Senate and two-thirds of state governorships (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/14). In addition, according to The Hill, abortion-rights opponents won many state legislative races (The Hill, 11/29).

During his campaign, Trump pledged to defund Planned Parenthood and appoint antiabortion-rights justices to the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. In addition, Trump said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (PL 111-148), under which almost all insurance plans are required to cover all birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/14).

According to The Hill, if the latest efforts are successful, abortion-rights opponents will continue a trend stemming from the 2010 elections, when conservative lawmakers similarly won many state legislative seats. Since 2010, lawmakers in 32 states have passed 334 abortion restrictions.

State antiabortion-rights efforts

Some states are expected to propose 20-week abortion bans, as well as bans on a medically proven method of abortion care, The Hill reports. For example, the Ohio House in a lame-duck session this week will consider and likely pass a Senate-approved 20-week abortion ban (SB 127), while abortion-rights supporters and opponents expect lawmakers in Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky to propose both types of bans.

Further, according to Sue Swayze of the Susan B. Anthony List, abortion-rights opponents will likely focus on fetal tissue rules. The push comes after a separate antiabortion-rights group last year released misleading videos targeting fetal tissue donation at Planned Parenthood.

For instance, the Ohio House this week is expected to advance Senate-approved fetal tissue regulations (SB 254). Lawmakers in Missouri also are expected to consider fetal tissue regulations now that a conservative has been elected governor. Missouri lawmakers stalled on similar legislation that failed this legislative session.

Separately, Utah lawmakers are working on a measure that would require providers to tell women the medically unfounded claim that a medication abortion can be reversed. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Texas are drafting legislation in response to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down provisions in an omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2). Texas officials are also imposing fetal tissue restrictions via state agency action and legislative efforts.


Elizabeth Nash, a state-level policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, said, "We are still going to see a lot of action around restricting abortion and limiting family planning services at the state level."

Separately, Aimee Arrambide, the reproductive rights program manager at the Public Leadership Institute, said like Texas' efforts to impose fetal tissue disposal requirements, other conservative-led states likely will try to implement restrictions via both regulatory and legislative means. "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," she said.

Arrambide added that in response to Trump's pledge to overturn Roe, state lawmakers who support abortion rights should try to advance laws codifying Roe, protecting women seeking care at abortion clinics and facilitating contraceptive access (The Hill, 11/29).