NEWS IN CONTEXT
South Dakota Bans Abortion; More States Introduce Bans, Other Restrictions
March 15, 2006
On March 6, Governor Mike Rounds signed into law a ban on nearly all abortions in the state of South Dakota. Antiabortion legislators in nine other states—Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee—have introduced similar bans. These bans are designed to directly challenge Roe v. Wade.
In addition to outright bans, state legislators are introducing and enacting abortion restrictions at an alarming rate. In 2005 states enacted into law twice as many abortion restrictions as the year before, including laws that would require parental consent or notification for teens’ abortions and mandatory counseling and waiting periods.
This misguided approach makes it more difficult for some women to obtain abortions, but does not address the underlying cause of abortion—unintended pregnancy. The United States has one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the developed world. Instead of pursuing an antiabortion agenda designed to chip away at the foundation of Roe v. Wade, states wishing to reduce the need for abortion should focus their efforts and resources on improving access to contraceptive services and helping women use contraceptives more consistently and effectively over time.
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