Five states see new antiabortion laws go into effect

This week, several new laws restricting abortion access went into effect around the country

Topics: Abortion, Reproductive Rights, Texas, Women's Rights, abortion care, Planned Parenthood, , ,

Five states see new antiabortion laws go into effect (Credit: AP/Steve Helber)

All eyes are on Texas right now as a sweeping abortion ban gets another shot at becoming law during a second special legislative session. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich made headlines Sunday night after signing his state’s controversial budget, and approving all five of the antiabortion amendments state conservatives loaded into the bill.

But that’s just new legislation. As ABC News reports, around the country, several laws to restrict abortion went into effect this week, creating new barriers to access for women in five states.

In Kansas, doctors are now required by law to tell women seeking abortions that, after 20 weeks, a fetus can “feel pain” and “the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” Kansas’ so-called fetal pain law is grounded in the same scientifically-disputed claim driving state Republicans in Texas and, at the federal level, House Republicans to push similar bans on the procedure. Doctors in Kansas are now also required to inform women seeking abortions that the procedure puts them “at greater risk for breast cancer,” a medically unsubstantiated claim that has been explicitly refuted by the National Cancer Institute.

A newly enacted Alabama law requires women seeking abortion pills like RU-486 — previously available to women via telemedicine, a process in which a woman is examined by a trained technician at a health facility before teleconferencing with a physician and receiving the pill — to be physically examined by a physician, creating a barrier to access for women who live in rural and remote areas without a doctor nearby.



A similar law preventing women from receiving abortion pills via telemedicine, despite research that has shown the process is as safe and effective as when a doctor is physically present, also went into effect in Indiana this week. Ditto for Mississippi.

South Dakota just enacted its law mandating women wait 72 hours — excluding weekends and holidays — before legally obtaining an abortion. It is now the longest mandatory waiting period for the procedure in the country.

 

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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