The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy website] released its annual mid-year report summarizing some of the trends observed in 2012 in the ongoing US reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder] and highlighting some of what the CRR considers the most damaging proposals that became law this year. The 2012 Mid-Year Legislative Wrap-Up [report, PDF; press release] includes details on the most significant abortion restrictions passed in 2012, as well as CRR's ongoing legal responses to several measures. The report also explains the different types of legislative restrictions trending this year and provides a state-by-state survey of specific enactments.
This report is intended to canvass some of the more significant trends in reproductive health legislation and highlight some of the most troubling restrictions passed thus far. While the majority of reproductive health legislation enacted this year was restrictive, there were also some positive advances in the form of policies related to maternal health and rights. ... [However, i]n at least 17 states, legislation designed to restrict women's access to reproductive health care and impinge on their constitutional rights has already become law. As the year continues, and more restrictive bills are considered, pro-choice advocates and legislators in several states will have the opportunity to prevent these harmful public health choices from being made in their own states.CRR claims that abortion providers across the country are are struggling "against a flood of laws designed to make it more difficult, or even impossible, to deliver reproductive health care."
Last week the Guttmacher Institute [official website] released a study [JURIST report] detailing how the enactment of numerous anti-abortion laws over the past decade has affected the reproductive rights of American women and created discrepancies among states. The report notes that over the course of 2011 legislators in the 50 states introduced more than 1,100 provisions related to reproductive health and rights, of which 135 new reproductive health provisions were enacted. Also last week CRR and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit challenging an Arizona law [JURIST reports] that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy unless there is a medical emergency. A day earlier the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] extended its initial temporary injunction following a lawsuit [JURIST reports] brought by an abortion clinic, blocking a controversial Mississippi abortion law that was supposed to go in effect at the beginning of this month.