ACLU Condemns Extremist Politicians' State-Based Attempts to Outlaw Abortion

June 13, 2013 6:45 pm

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Coordinated National Effort Behind Attacks on Women’s Health

June 13, 2013

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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union labeled 2013 as one of the most the most regressive years yet when it comes to taking away access to safe, legal abortion services. Some bills would actually ban abortions; others, although thinly-veiled as administrative or technical restrictions, would actually shut down women’s health centers. Many bills are virtually identical, showing a nationally-coordinated effort to intrude in the most private and personal of health decisions.

“The restrictions we’ve seen this year are part of a cumulative set of restrictions. They are layered on top of those from last year and the year before that,” said Louise Melling, ACLU deputy legal director. “These restrictions add up to a national picture of fewer clinics, more obstacles for health care and women being told that we are too stupid to make decisions for ourselves. It’s high time for extremist politicians to withdraw their troops from the war on women because we are paying attention and we will continue to resist their efforts.”

In this legislative season, which is drawing to a close in most states, some of the most restrictive measures were introduced and passed, including:

  • A law in Arkansas that bans abortion starting at 20 weeks
  • At least seven states considered bills that would unnecessarily require doctors who provide abortions to have staff privileges at a local hospital
  • At least 11 states have introduced (and five passed) laws that aim to make medication abortion unobtainable
  • Seventeen states have introduced (and three passed) laws that prohibit insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their plans
  • A measure in North Dakota that bans abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant
  • Kansas passed a sweeping anti-abortion law that requires doctors to provide information about a link between abortion and breast cancer that has been widely rejected by medical experts
  • The Virginia Board of Health approved regulations to require clinics to become mini-hospitals, that are designed to shut down clinics and one has already shut down

“The 2013 legislative session has been an historic one in terms of passing laws meant to outlaw abortion,” added Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “While some measures sound innocuous, make no mistake: stacked upon each other they make a wall so high that it will become impossible for women to get the care they need.”

For more information about these extreme measures and a state-by-state analysis of recent abortion restrictions, visit

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