Looking back at the legislative landscape in 2013, you have to give anti-choice lawmakers points for creativity. In South Carolina last year, one male senator managed to introduce six different bills making it harder for women to get abortions. In Arizona, a bill about child therapy morphed into a law that opens abortion clinics up to surprise state inspections without a warrant. In Iowa, a rape victim now needs the governor to sign off on Medicaid funding for her abortion. And in North Carolina, a new "Motorcycle Safety Act" contains more provisions about abortion than it does about motorcycle safety.All told, about 1 in 20 of the nation's male state legislators introduced a bill including one more abortion restrictions. About 1 in 25 female legislators did so. Of the total, 310 legislators who introduced abortion-restricting bills were Republicans, 20 of them Democrats.
In all, lawmakers in 22 states enacted 70 new provisions that curbed reproductive rights—that's more new abortion restrictions than there were in any year but 2011. Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that supports abortion rights, reported that more new restrictions have passed in the last three years than in the entire previous decade.
At the site, you can see a map contrasting the number of abortion laws on the states' books in 2000 versus now.
As the Guttmacher Institute has reported in its thorough following of new laws affecting reproductive rights, the last three years has seen enacted more state-level legislation from the forced-birther crowd than the entire previous decade. We can expect more of the same in 2014. Lee and Redden say these will include:
• More state attempts to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The courts have at least temporarily blocked enforcement of such laws where they have passed, but legislators in many states clearly hope that the weight of additional laws will somehow eventually play out in their favor.
• Gretchen Borchelt, the director of state reproductive health policy for the National Women's Law Center, says there's a likelihood of more states trying to bar private insurers from covering abortion.
• More states are likely to join the seven that have already banned sex-selective abortions.