More Than 200 Anti-Choice Bills Proposed in State Legislatures Since January

Anti-choice lawmakers in state legislatures nationwide have continued a steady crackdown on abortion rights in 2015, while also introducing some never before seen kinds of legislation that would restrict reproductive health care in radical and sometimes unforeseen ways. 

The wave of anti-choice bills in 2015 continues a multi-year campaign by state lawmakers to restrict reproductive rights; this effort has in part been coordinated by well-funded anti-choice organizations such as Americans United for Life (AUL) and the National Right to Life Committee. 

Since the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans made massive gains across the country, hundreds of anti-choice bills have been introduced in state legislatures, and more of those bills have become law in that time than during the entire decade prior. 

Amanda Allen, state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told RH Reality Check that the election of GOP majorities in state legislatures and Republican governors during the 2010 midterms are largely responsible for the wave of anti-choice legislation, despite the fact that abortion rights were not a major political factor during those campaigns. 

“That election was not a referendum on reproductive health and on abortion,” Allen said. “But we’re still seeing the impacts of those elections today.” 

There have been at least 235 anti-choice bills introduced in state legislatures in the first three months of 2015—bills that would place restrictions on abortion providers or erect barriers to abortion access, according to analysis by RH Reality Check. 

Thirty-two bills have been voted on and passed by at least one legislative chamber so far this year; 11 of those have been passed by both chambers, and have either been signed by the governor or are awaiting signature. 

Almost every state legislature has been in session this year, and so far lawmakers in 39 states have introduced at least one bill to restrict reproductive rights. While there have been a few anti-choice bills introduced in most state legislatures, lawmakers in some states have been busy introducing astonishing numbers of anti-choice proposals. 

“In terms of the numbers, we’ve had a pretty good run of it these last few years, and this year we will pass substantive legislation as well,” Mary Spaulding Balch, state policy director for anti-choice National Right to Life Committee, told the Washington Examiner. “At the end of the day, I would bet we’ll have a pretty good year.” 

No other state in the country has seen more anti-choice bills introduced in 2015 than Texas, which has seen 25 such bills proposed this year. Lawmakers there appear to be making up for lost time, since the biennial legislature was not in session in 2014. 

Legislators in Missouri introduced more anti-choice bills last year than any other state. The state’s lawmakers who are opposed to abortion rights continued their aggressive assault on such rights this year, with 20 anti-choice bills introduced so far in the state. 

Voters in Tennessee last year approved an amendment to the state constitution to allow the legislature to consider legislation to regulate abortion, and state lawmakers wasted no time introducing bills to crack down on reproductive freedom. This year a dozen anti-choice bills have been introduced in the state, many of which seek to reinstate laws previously struck down by the state supreme court. 

Tennessee’s spate of anti-choice measures was fairly predictable in a state legislature where three in four legislators are Republican. 

State lawmakers in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Carolina have also introduced several anti-choice bills: 14, 11, and 12, respectively.

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Photo: Texas State Capitol Building


A bill proposed by a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri would require a woman seeking an abortion to obtain notarized consent from the baby’s father, even if he is physically abusive toward her.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Rick Brattin, told Mother Jones that while the bill has exceptions for rape victims and to protect the life of the mother, women in domestic violence situations are not exempt from having to ask the father’s permission. “What does that have to do with the child’s life?” Brattin said. “Just because it was an abusive relationship, does that mean the child should die?”

In explaining the bill to Mother Jones, Brattin channeled Todd Akin, the former Republican congressman from Missouri who, during a failed 2012 Senate bid, said that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” have mechanisms in their bodies that prevent them from getting pregnant. Brattin said his bill would require a woman to be able to prove that a “legitimate rape” happened in order to avoid having to ask for a man’s consent for the abortion.

"Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it," said Brattin. "So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape."

Brattin said he was inspired to introduce the bill on December 3 for the next legislative session, but it has not moved yet in the Missouri House. He said he was inspired to change the laws around abortion consent because he was required to obtain his wife’s consent before having a vasectomy.


Read proposed Bill here

  • Lady:If I became pregnant I would definitely terminate it. I can't handle a baby or pregnancy right now.
  • GOP:Don't you dare get an abortion, it's murder!
  • Lady:If I was forced to have a kid I don't want, I'd probably have to get on government assistance to support it and myself.
  • GOP:Going on welfare just shows that you are a moocher and too irresponsible to have kids.
  • Lady:Which is why I would get an abortion if I got pregnant.
  • GOP:Murderer! Take responsibility for the life you create!
  • Lady:So to be responsible, I'd have a kid I don't want and enroll for welfare in order to support myself and the child.
  • GOP:No, moocher! Take responsibility!
  • Lady:So "taking responsibility" to you means refusing a medical procedure that is available to people in my exact situation and, instead, having a child I don't want and then letting the baby and myself starve by refusing government services that are available to help people in my exact situation?
  • GOP:Yes.

TW: Cissexism (In order to keep this post as accurate as possible, I used the exact wording whenever possible. In most cases, it refers to people that can get pregnant as ‘women.’ I do apologize for any hurt this may cause.)

5 Reasons to be Pro-Choice 

1. 47,000 women die yearly from complications of unsafe abortions. Millions more are injured.

2. That “Only whores have abortions” trope? Not so much-6 of 10 people having abortions already have at least one child and are having the abortion because they understand what having a child means. They are having an abortion because they know, for sure, that they can’t handle it.

3. Can’t afford an abortion but you think they can afford a child? 7 of 10 would have had their abortions earlier. They waited as long as they did because they were raising money. Many reporting that they have to borrow money from friends/family in order to have the abortion.

4. Race has everything to do with it. Racially, the same locations where there are poor educational systems, there are higher rates of unintended pregnancies. Keeping a specific group uneducated and refusing to let them have abortions is a key component of keeping them in poverty. 

5. As much as 75% of all abortions being carried out are unsafe. Making abortion illegal does not stop it from occurring- it just forces women to obtain clandestine and unsafe procedures.

This is far to serious an issue to stop there. Let’s keep going…

5 MORE reasons to be pro-choice

Women who wanted abortions but were turned away because their pregnancies had advanced past the gestational limit in their state were…

1. More likely to rely on government assistance than those who’d obtained abortions.

2. More likely to be living below the poverty line than those who’d obtained abortions.

3. Less likely to have a full time job than those who’d obtained abortions.

4. Reporting more anxiety a week after they were denied an abortion than those who’d obtained abortions.

5. Reported more stress a year after being denied an abortion than those who’d obtained abortions.

Why stop there? Here are 5 more reasons

Contrary to right wing propaganda…

1. 97% of women who get abortions don’t regret it.

2. They were no more or less likely to be depressed.

3. Women who gave birth suffer from more serious health complications-from hemorrhaging to a fractured pelvis-than the women who aborted, even later in their pregnancies.

4. The women who were turned away were more than twice as likely to be a victim of domestic abuse as those who were able to abort.

5. Men were no more or less likely to stay with a women who had an abortion than one who was turned away from having one.

Guttmacher Institute: Abortion

The Turn Away Study

Guttmacher Infographics

Additional information about the Turn Away Study

Republicans in Congress are wasting no time following through on the anti-abortion agenda the GOP laid out after winning significant gains in the 2014 midterm elections.

On Tuesday, the very first day of the 114th Congress, two lawmakers introduced a measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks, in direct violation of the protections afforded under Roe v. Wade. Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reintroduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the same legislation that successfully passed the House last year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who introduced a companion 20-week abortion ban in the Senate last year that was stalled by Democratic leadership — has already indicated that he plans to re-introduce his own measure in the next few weeks, too. Now that the Senate is GOP-controlled, Republicans are anticipating that they’ll have enough support to pass the ban in both chambers this year, helping the anti-choice community gain momentum for this particular tactic to limit reproductive rights.

On their very first day back | Follow ThinkProgress

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.
—  The 2012 GOP platform • Laying out the party’s official position on abortion rights, which RNC chairman Reince Priebus sought to distance from the Romney campaign last week. As had been reported in the days leading up to the platform’s release, it includes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, but this was the first glimpse of  specific language – claiming a protection of the “dignity of women,” and referencing health risks from abortion, albeit in an entirely non-specific manner (to be sure, any medical procedure has some degree of risk involved, but scientifically unfounded claims about abortion and breast cancer have been common for years). source (viafollow)

-The North Carolina legislature is advancing a package of stringent abortion restrictions that appeared in the Senate this week WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC NOTICE. The anti-abortion measures popped up on Tuesday night, tacked onto a controversial measure to ban Sharia law, and caught women’s health advocates completely off-guard.

-The new amendments would prevent insurance plans on Obamacare’s health marketplaces from covering abortion services, ban “sex-selective” abortions, impose unnecessary restrictions on doctors administering the abortion pill to women, and require the state’s abortion clinics to adhere to complicated new regulations that would likely force most of them to close. A similar package of abortion restrictions has inspired weeks of protest in Texas, where thousands of reproductive rights activists have been rallying at the state capitol.

-HB 695 easily won preliminary approval in the Senate on Tuesday night. The measure will likely head to a final vote in the Senate on Wednesday. Now that the abortion amendments are folded into an entirely unrelated measure on Islamic law, some Republican lawmakers are already claiming that “a vote against the abortion restriction bill is vote for Sharia law.”

-Women’s health advocates point out that, just like the package of anti-abortion restrictions advancing in Texas, HB 695 is actually simply intended to restrict women’s reproductive rights. “The intention of the folks that made the changes to this bill is to end access to abortion care in North Carolina,” Planned Parenthood’s Reed warned. “It’s a wish list of all the restrictions they’ve been trying to get through and weren’t able to during the regular time period of this session. It would end basically access to medical abortion; it could shut down a large number of providers in this state.”

“It’s hard to look people int eh eye and say they don’t have a job anymore — not because of anything they, or we, did in correctly or because we weren’t caring for women in a fabulous way.”

Around one dozen clinics in Texas have shut down or stopped offering abortions after Republicans in the state successfully pushed through legislation that requires doctors performing procedures to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Other laws in neighboring states — such as laws requiring the widening of hallways or the installation of high-tech surgical sinks — have caused abortion clinics to fire workers and shut down.

Legislation in Republican-controlled states counts for half of the 73 clinic closures since 2011. The people hardest hit by the shifting laws: Poor and minority women.

Women who live near McAllen, Texas — many of them poor — will now have to drive 150 miles to Corpus Christi if they want an abortion. Their other option: The local flea market, where illegal do-it-yourself drugs cost around $15 a pill.

Republicans have stopped challenging Roe vs. Wade. Their new tactic: Make it harder to get an abortion. So far, their strategy is working.

More: The Vanishing Abortion Clinic (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Meet 6 Pro Choice GOP Wives

"Here are six spouses of notable anti-choice Republicans who have publicly acknowledged their support for Roe v. Wade. While many of the women indicate that they would never personally choose to have an abortion, they do respect that it is in fact a choice for each woman to make herself.”


An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.
The question Monday from Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.
Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.
The committee approved the bill 13-4 on a party-line vote. Barbieri, who sits on the board of a crisis pregnancy center in northern Idaho, voted in favor of the legislation.

These are the men making legislative decisions about our bodies.