WASHINGTON (BP) -- As the United States approaches Roe v. Wade's 40th anniversary, pro-life advocates have gained ground in restricting the number of abortions taking place every year. In 2012, 43 pro-life provisions went into effect in 19 states, the second highest number after states enacted 92 pro-life laws in 2011.
The numbers come from a report published by the pro-choice group Guttmacher Institute, which calculated the number of pro-life provisions rather than bills or laws, since bills often have multiple provisions.
And while the Guttmacher Institute bemoaned the number of states restricting abortions, pro-life advocates rejoiced over lives saved.
"For those who have been in the pro-life trenches for years, the remarkable passage of so many pro-life pieces of legislation should give these faithful warriors much hope and encouragement," bioethics analyst Dawn McBane wrote on CitizenLink.com.
Arizona led all states that passed pro-life laws with seven, followed by Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin, which all enacted three or more laws.
Most of the provisions focused on banning late-term abortions, limiting abortion coverage under the health care law, and regulating medication abortions, Guttmacher said. Late-term abortions are described as abortions after 20 weeks, which studies found is the time when preborn babies feel pain. Currently seven states ban abortions at 20 weeks, while similar laws in Arizona and Georgia are facing court challenges.
Four states enacted provisions to counter President Obama's healthcare law by banning abortion coverage in insurance exchanges, except in cases of life endangerment. Three states prohibited the use of telemedicine, which allows physicians to dispense abortion drugs through webcams.
Many provisions also require pregnant women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. According to Option Ultrasound, when a women sees an ultrasound of her baby, she is 60 percent more likely to proceed with the pregnancy.
Some states also increased regulation on abortion providers so that they follow the same safety laws as other medical centers that perform outpatient surgeries. Other provisions included securing admitting privileges at hospitals near abortion centers in the case of botched abortions.
The pro-life trend looks like it will continue: Texas lawmakers plan to introduce six pro-life bills in 2013, with the support of Gov. Rick Perry. The bills range from banning late-term abortions to prohibiting abortion insurance coverage.
"Now, to be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past," Perry said in December. "We cannot, and we will not, stand idly by while the unborn are going through the agony of having their lives ended."
Angela Lu writes for World News Service, where this story first appeared. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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