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916 Bills Against Women?

For the past four months, Republicans have been preoccupied. But not with fixing the deficit or creating jobs. Instead, they’re trying to figure out new ways to limit a woman’s right to choose, and so they’ve introduced a grand total of 916 new pieces of legislation.

In four states, here’s what has already become law:

South Dakota
The pre-abortion waiting period in South Dakota was extended from 24 to 72 hours, making it the longest abortion waiting period in the nation. On top of that, women are required to receive pre-abortion “counseling” at “crisis pregnancy centers,” also known as anti-abortion groups that try to prevent the abortion from happening at all costs. This “counseling” also requires an in-person exam.

Health departments must develop new regulations governing abortion clinics. Anti-abortion activists have been gunning for these new laws, which claim to “make abortion clinics safer for women,” but will actually threaten the closure of 17 of the state’s 21 clinics, according to the Washington Post.

The Utah health department will also have to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics. And here’s another new law: Any hospital employee can refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion. Plus, private health plans in Utah can limit abortion coverage.

Sex education law requires all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education. And get this: Discussion of contraception is only permitted after prior approval by the state.

Notice any similarities in the laws described above? Here’s a hint: They all have to do with abortion. According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, that’s not a coincidence:

…56% of the bills intro­duced so far this year seek to restrict abor­tion access, com­pared with 38% last year. Three topics—insurance cov­er­age of abor­tion, restric­tion of abor­tion after a spe­cific point in ges­ta­tion and ultra­sound requirements—are top­ping the agenda in sev­eral states.

Will 2011 be known as the year of anti-abortion legislation?

Originally submitted by Emi K. Based on research by the Guttmacher Institute.