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Planned Parenthood Releases Backgrounder on "Restrictions on Abortion at the State Level"
November 3, 2000
NEW YORK, NY B Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the country's leading advocate for reproductive rights and premiere provider of reproductive health services, has issued a backgrounder called "Restrictions on Abortion at the State Level." The piece was created as a response to the many requests that have come in to the organization in recent days for information on what kinds of restrictions on abortion were in place at the state level, and what would be the likely result if the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was overturned.
The backgrounder specifically highlights the 15 states that either currently have laws on the books banning or restricting abortion, or whose legislatures have made declarations that they would establish such laws if and when Roe were overturned.
"I worry that many Americans do not have the facts on what would happen at the state level should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade," said Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "The effect on access to abortion services could be devastating, and, in many cases, it would happen very quickly," Feldt said. "We're talking about laws that are currently on the books. Without the protection of Roe, these laws would send women and their doctors to prison. Reproductive rights, like all fundamental civil rights, should not be subject to the whims of legislatures," she said.
In addition to the descriptions of some of the existing laws, the backgrounder also contains information on which state governments have a predominantly anti-choice perspective, based on the views of both the governor and the majority in the legislature.
The backgrounder, which is attached, is available from Planned Parenthood Federation of America by request, and is also posted on the organization's Web site at www.plannedparenthood.org.
The States and Restrictions on Abortion
--There are currently at least nine states with laws on the books that are not under a court injunction and that could be used to ban or severely restrict access to abortion. These are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin.
--There are seven states that have "trigger laws." These are declarations stating that if Roe is overturned, the legislature will enact laws either banning abortion outright or severely restricting access to abortion. The states with trigger laws are Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Utah.
--There are at least two states, Michigan and Utah, with laws on the books specifically banning abortions. In both of these states, the laws have been enjoined because of Roe, but they remain on the books. If Roe is overruled, the states could seek to vacate the injunctions and enforce the laws.
--The laws that remain on the books in Oklahoma declare it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion not necessary to preserve a woman's life, and would subject the doctor to between two and five years of imprisonment. The same laws would imprison a woman who had an abortion for up to one year.
--In Wisconsin, the laws threaten doctors with up to three years of imprisonment and women with up to six months.
The State Governments
--During the course of their 1999 session, the legislatures of thirty-four states enacted a total of seventy anti-choice measures. This is almost three times the number of states that enacted anti-choice measures in 1995, and four times the number of measures.
--More anti-choice legislation was introduced in 1999 than in any previous year, for a total of 439 bills B 268 more than in 1995.
--In thirteen states, both branches of the legislature (Nebraska is unicameral) and the governor are all anti-choice. They are Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
--In another thirteen states, two out of three B either both branches of the legislature but not the governor, or the governor and one branch B are anti-choice. They are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
--Only a very few states B California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington B have solidly pro-choice governors and legislatures.
-- Debra (Thisis@it.com), November 08, 2000