NEW YORK – The governor of Arkansas has signed the first abortion restriction of 2015. The bill restricts medication abortions by preventing them via telemedicine, which allows doctors to provide care to patients remotely.
Evidence shows that medication abortion can be provided safely via telemedicine, which is expanding access to health care across the country. This law effectively bans that practice, cutting off a safe option that could expand abortion access for women.
“It’s crystal clear that these laws are motivated by a desire to keep a woman who has decided to have an abortion from getting one,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “We all want women to be safe, but these laws aren’t about improving care for women. They’re designed by politicians, not doctors, to cut off access to safe, legal abortion by any means necessary.”
In the previous regular session, Arkansas passed laws that banned abortions at 12 weeks and 20 weeks and blocked insurance coverage for abortion on the health care exchange. Legislators also attempted to ban abortions so early that many women do not even know they are pregnant.
Arkansas is only the first state expected to pass abortion restrictions this year. Politicians in state legislatures have already introduced more than 100 abortion restrictions in 2015. For example:
· The West Virginia House has already passed a 20-week ban;
· Several states have introduced Texas-style legislation specifically designed to force abortion clinics to close;
· Several states have introduced legislation designed to prevent a woman from getting an abortion by cutting of insurance coverage;
· Several states have introduced bills that would force a woman to delay getting an abortion after she has already made her decision;
· States across the country, and the U.S. Congress, are advancing bills that would ban abortions outright.
Medical experts like the American College of Gynecologists oppose these types of bills because they have no medical basis and block access to care.