Click each state below to see a complete listing of their laws regarding abortion:
A.C.A. § 5-61-101 Limits abortion to be performed only by a person licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas and dictates how the section may be used
(a) It is illegal for anyone who is not licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas to induce another person to have an abortion or to otherwise willfully terminate a known pregnancy
(b) Violation of part (a) of this section is a Class D felony.
(c) A pregnant person cannot be charged or convicted with any crime related to the termination of an embryo or fetus under this section
A.C.A. § 5-61-102 Forbids the prescription and/or administration of medication to induce abortion or premature delivery of a fetus, prohibits attempting to induce abortion by any other method, and dictates how the section may be used
(a) Prescribing or administering medication to a pregnant person with the intent of inducing abortion or premature delivery of a fetus before or after the fetus can be felt moving in the uterus is illegal, as is attempting to induce abortion by any other method
(b) Violating this section is a Class D felony.
(c) A pregnant person cannot be charged or convicted with any crime related to the termination of an embryo or fetus under this section
A.C.A. § 12-18-108 Requires fetal tissue preservation in the event of an abortion performed on a patient fourteen (14) years of age or younger, calls for the concealment of protected health information of patients on fetal tissue samples, requires physicians who perform an abortion on someone fourteen (14) years of age or younger to contact law enforcement officials regarding the patient’s pregnancy, and determines what kind of guidelines the State Crime Laboratory should have for the preservation of fetal tissue samples
(a) (1) Under this section, a physician who performs an abortion on a person less than fourteen (14) years of age at the time of the abortion is required to preserve any fetal tissue extracted during the abortion in a way that follows the guidelines of the office of the State Crime Laboratory.
(2) Before submitting the fetal tissue mentioned in part (a)(1) of this section, the physician must conceal protected health information as required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-191.
(3) The physician or the reporting medical facility shall contact local law enforcement agency in the area where the child resides.
(b) The State Crime Laboratory shall make rules determining:
(1) The amount and type of fetal tissue to be preserved under this section;
(2) How to correctly preserve of the tissue for DNA testing and examination;
(3) How to correctly document the chain of custody of the tissue for use as evidence;
(4) How to correctly dispose of fetal tissue preserved under this section;
(5) A uniform way for physicians submitting fetal tissue to include their name and address as well as the name and address of the parent or legal guardian of the child upon whom the abortion was performed; and
(6) How to correctly communicate with law enforcement agencies regarding evidence and information obtained under this section.
(c) Failure of a physician to obey this section or any rule adopted under this section is considered unprofessional conduct under the Arkansas Medical Practices Act, § 17-95-201 et seq., § 17-95-301 et seq., and § 17-95-401 et seq.
A.C.A. § 12-18-210 Forbids assisting a child to abort who has not met consent requirements, describes who make take legal action against those who assist a child in aborting illegally, describes what may be awarded by a court following those legal actions, and describes what actions a court may take to prevent conduct against this section before it occurs
(a) (1) Intentionally helping a child induce abortion or assisting a child in getting an abortion without consent of a legal guardian or orders from a judge removing the requirement for consent under §§ 20-16-801, 20-16-804, and 20-16-805 is illegal.
(2) Part (a)(1) of this section does not affect § 20-16-808.
(b) (1) A person who violates part (a) of this section can face legal action from the child and those required to give consent for the child to get an abortion under § 20-16-801.
(2) A court may award:
(A) Monetary compensation to those negatively affected by failure of a person to follow part (a) of this section, including compensation for emotional injury, even if those negatively affected were not present during the abortion procedure; and
(B) Attorney’s fees, trail costs, and fines.
(3) An adult who participates in sexual activity with or consents to another person participating in sexual activity with a child against the Arkansas Criminal Code, § 5-1-101 et seq., that results in the child’s pregnancy will not be awarded monetary compensation under this section.
(c) A child who has not been legally emancipated cannot consent to any action which goes against this section.
(d) Upon a petition by any person who is negatively affected or who may be negatively affected by the conduct, a court with proper legal authority may take action to prevent a person from performing activities that would go against this section upon proving that the conduct:
(1) Is reasonably likely to occur in the future; or
(2) Has occurred in the past, whether with the same child or others, and that it is not unreasonable to expect that the conduct will take place again.
A.C.A. § 20-9-302 Describes licensing requirements for facilities which perform abortions, requires routine inspections of abortion facilities by the Department of Health, gives the Department of Health authority to regulate abortion facility conditions and procedure methods as well as to collect licensing fees, sets guidelines for and fees associated with facility licensing application, describes how fees collected are to be used, and regulates the transfer of abortion facility funding between fiscal years
(a) (1) A specific license from the Department of Health is required for any clinic, health center, or other facility which performs ten (10) or more abortion procedures per month, whether they are medical or surgical
(2) The buildings, equipment, procedures, techniques, and conditions of those clinics or similar facilities shall be routinely inspected by the Department of Health.
(b) The department may create guidelines for the facilities, equipment, procedures, techniques, and conditions of clinics and other facilities under this section to make sure the facilities, equipment, procedures, techniques, and conditions are sanitary and otherwise medically safe
(c) The department may charge an annual licensing fee of five hundred dollars ($500) per abortion facility
(d) Applicants for a license shall file applications using forms made for that purpose by the department. A license shall be issued only for the locations and persons on the application and cannot be transferred.
(e) Licenses are good for one calendar year and expire on December 31 of each calendar year. Applications to renew licenses must be postmarked no later than January 2 following the expiration date. License applications for existing facilities submitted late will result in a penalty of two dollars ($2.00) per day for each day after January 2.
(f) Any funds an abortion clinic has left over at the end of the fiscal year may be rolled over into the next fiscal year.
(g) All fees collected under this section will be deposited into the State Treasury to be given to the Public Health Fund.
A.C.A. § 20-16-602 Establishes the right of a patient to view the ultrasound image of the fetus prior to an abortion procedure and actions to be taken to ensure that right
(a) All physicians who use ultrasound equipment during an abortion must tell the patient that they have the right to view the ultrasound image of their fetus before the abortion procedure begins
(b) (1) Physicians must confirm in writing that the patient was offered an opportunity to view the ultrasound image and must obtain the patient’s decision to view or not to view the ultrasound image in writing.
(2) If the patient accepts the offer to view the ultrasound image, they must be allowed to view it.
(c) The physician’s and patient’s written agreement on whether or not to view the ultrasound image must be kept in the patient’s medical file in the physician’s office for three (3) years.
(d) Any physician who does not tell the patient that they have the right to view the ultrasound image of their fetus before an abortion is performed or does not show them the image if they decide they would like to view it may be disciplined by the Arkansas State Medical Board.
A.C.A. § 20-16-603 Contains definitions of terms used in other relevant sections, restrictions on how abortions may be performed with medications, and guidelines on who may sue a provider for violating any section of this section and how those cases will be handled by the courts.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Abortion” means the use or prescription of an instrument, medicine, drug, or another substance or device to terminate the pregnancy of a patient known to be pregnant with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus which died in utero as the result of natural causes, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant person or the fetus, and that causes the premature termination of the pregnancy;
(2) “Attempt to perform or induce an abortion” means any action taken or failure to take an action required by law, under the circumstances as the physician believes them to be, is a significant step toward the performance or induction of an abortion in violation of this section;
(3) “Mifepristone” means the specific abortion-inducing drug regimen known as RU-486; and
(4) “Physician” means a person licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas under the Arkansas Medical Practices Act, § 17-95-201 et seq., § 17-95-301 et seq., and § 17-95-401 et seq.
(b) (1) When mifepristone or another drug or chemical regimen is used to induce an abortion, the physician who prescribed, dispensed, or otherwise provided the drug or chemical to the patient it must be in the room when it is first taken by or administered to the patient
(2) The physician who induces the abortion, or a person acting on behalf of the physician who induces the abortion, shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the patient returns twelve (12) to eighteen (18) days after the administration or use of mifepristone or another drug or chemical for a follow-up visit so that the physician can confirm that the pregnancy has been terminated and there are no other complications
(3) A brief description of the efforts made to comply with this section, including the date, time, and identification by name of the person making the efforts, shall be included in the patient’s medical record.
(c) This section does not affect telemedicine practice that does not involve the use of mifepristone or another drug or chemical to induce an abortion.
(d) (1) If the Arkansas State Medical Board finds that a physician licensed by the board has violated the rules of professional conduct by performing an abortion in violation of this subchapter, the board shall revoke the physician’s license.
(2) This section cannot be used to punish the patient upon whom the abortion is performed or attempted to be performed.
(e) (1) (A) A patient who receives an abortion, the father of the fetus if married to the patient at the time the abortion was performed, or a parent of the patient may take legal action against the person who performed the abortion against this section for monetary compensation as well as legal fees
(B) A patient who attempts to receive an abortion against this section may take legal action against the person who attempted to perform the abortion for monetary compensation as well as legal fees
(2) (A) Upon petition by any citizen in the county in which an alleged violation of this section occurred or in which the defendant resides, a court may discipline a healthcare professional who has knowingly or recklessly violated this section.
(B) Court actions under part (e)(2)(A) of this section will prevent the abortion provider from performing further abortions in a way which violates this section
(f) (1) If a court rules in favor of the person who sued as allowed under part (e) above, the court will award that person compensation for attorney’s fees and court costs, to be paid by the abortion provider being sued.
(2) If a court rules in favor of the provider being sued, and the court finds that the lawsuit was unfounded or brought in bad faith, the court will order the person who sued to pay compensation for attorney’s fees to the provider.
(g) A pregnant person cannot be sued under part (e) above for obtaining or possessing mifepristone (RU-486) or any other medication or chemical meant to induce an abortion.
(h) (1) In a lawsuit brought under this section, the court will decide if the person who received or attempted to receive an abortion will be allowed to remain anonymous.
(2) (A) If the court determines that the pregnant person will stay anonymous, the court will order all individuals involved in the lawsuit, including witnesses and lawyers, to protect that person’s anonymity, will order all records to be sealed, and will keep people out of courtrooms or hearing rooms as needed to prevent the person’s identity from becoming public information.
(B) An court order issued under subdivision (h)(2)(A) of this section will include specific written findings explaining:
(i) Why the pregnant person should remain anonymous;
(ii) Why the court order is necessary to keep that person anonymous;
(iii) How the court order is aimed specifically at keeping that person anonymous; and
(iv) Why no reasonable, less restrictive alternative exists.
(C) If someone brings a lawsuit under part (e) without the written consent of the person who receives or attempts to receive an abortion, they will bring the lawsuit under a name other than their legal name, unless they are a public official.
(D) This subsection does not hide the identity of the person bringing the lawsuit or the identity of any witness from the provider being sued.
(i) This section does not create or recognize a right to abortion.
A.C.A. § 20-16-705 Bans abortions from being performed outside of certain situations (The United States Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade makes this law unconstitutional.)
(a) No abortion may be performed if the fetus is still alive and may be carried to term, unless the abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the pregnant person.
(b) An abortion provider must certify in writing that the abortion is necessary to perverse the life or health of the pregnant person, and must also certify in writing why the abortion is medically necessary and list any likely health consequences of receiving an abortion, before the abortion may be performed.
(c) This section does not prohibit the abortion of a living fetus if the pregnancy is the result of rape or of incest against a minor.
A.C.A. § 20-16-810 Lists information that abortion providers must provide to the Department of Health (This law has been repealed and will no longer be in effect after January 1, 2016)
(a) An abortion provider must report the following information to the Department of Health for each abortion performed, as well as other information required by other sections:
(1) Whether parental consent was required;
(2) Whether parental consent was obtained; and
(3) Whether a judicial bypass was obtained.
(b) The Department of Health will revise the forms used by abortion providers to report an abortion by including space for the information required by this section.
A.C.A. § 20-16-1405 Bans abortions from being performed twenty (20) or more weeks after conception of pregnancy, except under certain conditions
(a) (1) A person shall not perform or attempt to perform a surgical abortion or induce or attempt to induce an abortion with medication on any pregnant person if the provider, or another physician whose medical opinion the provider relies on, determines that the fetus is probably twenty (20) or more weeks past conception.
(2) (A) Subdivision (a)(1) of this section does not apply if it is medically determined, within reason, that the pregnant person has a medical condition that requires an abortion to preserve their life or physical health from major and irreversible damage or impairment. This does not include psychological or emotional health.
(B) If there is a claim or diagnosis that the pregnant person intends to harm themselves in such a way as to cause their death or major and irreversible damage or impairment to their physical health, this does not qualify as a condition which requires an abortion as allowed under subdivision (a)(2)(A) of this section.
(3) Subdivision (a)(1) of this section does not apply if the pregnancy results from rape as defined under § 5-14-103 or incest as defined under § 5-26-202.
(b) (1) If a person who is pregnant with a fetus that is twenty (20) or more weeks past conception meets the requirements for an exception to the ban as defined in part (a)(2)(A), the abortion provider must use a procedure that, within reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive the termination of the pregnancy.
(2) (A) If it is medically determined, within reason, that terminating a pregnancy in a manner that would give the fetus the best opportunity for survival would create a greater risk to the life or physical health of the pregnant person, subdivision (b)(1) does not apply. This does not include risks from psychological or emotional conditions.
(B) If there is a claim or diagnosis that the pregnant person intends to harm themselves in such a way as to cause their death or major and irreversible damage or impairment to their physical health, this does not qualify as a condition which creates an exception for the required method of abortion as allowed under subdivision (b)(2)(A) of this section.
A.C.A. § 20-16-1504 Places restrictions on who may prescribe or sell medications to induce abortion, and describes how medications to induce abortion must be prescribed and administered by a physician (This law takes effect on January 1, 2016.)
(a) (1) It is illegal to give, sell, administer, dispense, or otherwise provide or prescribe an abortion-inducing medication to a pregnant person, or to induce an abortion or allow another person to induce an abortion, unless the person who gives, sells, administers, dispenses, or otherwise provides or prescribes the abortion-inducing medication is a physician. The prescription of the abortion-inducing medication must follow the rules put in place by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that medication, as outlined in the final printed label for the medication.
(2) In the case of the Mifeprex medication regimen, which combines two different medications over a set amount of days, the final printed label for Mifeprex includes the dosage and use instructions approved by the United States Food and Drug Administation (FDA) for both mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol
(b) Because the risk of failure and complications from medication-induced abortion increases with the age of the fetus, because the physical symptoms of medication-induced abortion can be identical to the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy (where a pregnancy grows somewhere other than the uterus), and because abortion-inducing medications should not be given for ectopic pregnancies, the physician giving, selling, administering, dispensing, or otherwise prescribing or providing an abortion-inducing medication must first examine the pregnant person and document their findings in the pregnant person’s medical chart before the medication can be given, sold, administered, dispensed, or otherwise prescribed or provided. This document must include:
(1) The age of the fetus
(2) Location of the pregnancy.
(c) A physician must provide a copy of the label for any abortion-inducing medication before they may give, sell, administer, dispense, or otherwise provide or prescribe that medication to a pregnant person.
(d) (1) A physician must have a signed contract with another physician who agrees to handle any complications from a medication-induced abortion before they can give, sell, administer, dispense, or otherwise prescribe or provide an abortion-inducing medication. The physician must be able to provide that signed contract if requested to do so by the pregnant person or the Department of Health.
(2) The physician who signs the contract agreeing to handle any complications from a medication-induced abortion must have active admitting privileges and gynecological and surgical privileges at a hospital qualified to handle any emergencies associated with the use or ingestion of an abortion-inducing medication.
(3) Every pregnant person to whom a physician gives, sells, administers, dispenses, or otherwise provides or prescribes any abortion-inducing medication must receive the name and phone number of the second physician contracted to handle complications, as well as the name and phone number of the hospital qualified to handle any emergencies at which the second physician has active admitting privileges.
(e) (1) The physician who gives, sells, administers, dispenses, or otherwise provides or prescribes any abortion-inducing medication, or someone representing that physician, must schedule a follow-up visit for the pregnant person around fourteen (14) days after the abortion-inducing medication is administered to confirm that the pregnancy is fully terminated, as well as to monitor any bleeding.
(2) The physician, or someone representing the physician, must make all efforts, within reason, to make sure the pregnant person returns for their scheduled follow-up appointment.
(3) A description of the efforts made to follow the rules of this subsection, including but not limited to the date, time, and name of the person making these efforts, must be included in the pregnant person’s medical record.
A.C.A. § 20-16-1705 Requires all licensed facilities where abortions are performed to post certain signs, and describes where those signs must be posted, what they must say, and who must provide them
(a) (1) A licensed facility where abortions are performed must post a noticeable sign in a location defined in part (b) of this section. This sign must be clearly visible to everyone who enters the facility, and the sign must follow the text contained in subdivision (a)(2) of this section.
(2) The sign must contain the following text:
“It is against the law for anyone, regardless of his or her relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion. You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement or any social service agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. It is against the law to perform, induce, prescribe for, or provide you with the means for an abortion without your voluntary consent”.
(b) The sign must be posted in each waiting room, patient consultation room, and procedure room used by patients seeking or receiving abortions or the means to perform an abortion.
(c) The sign must be posted for any facility that performs or induces abortions to receive a license.
(d) Displaying the sign does not exempt a facility from the requirement to have a physician verbally inform a pregnant person of information and materials contained in § 20-16-1703.
(e) (1) The Department of Health must provide a licensed abortion facility with all the signs required by this section.
(2) The Department of Health may require that a licensed abortion facility pay back the costs of the sign or signs to the department.
A.C.A. § 20-17-802 Restricts the possession of and performance of research on fetal remains after a legal abortion
(a) A physician or facility that performs an abortion must dispose of fetal remains in a fashion similar to other medical tissue.
(b) A person shall not perform any biomedical or behavioral research on:
(1) A fetus born alive as the result of a legal abortion, unless the research is solely for the benefit of the fetus
(2) A fetus born dead as the result of a legal abortion, or on any fetal tissue produced by the abortion, unless the pregnant person gives permission for the research
(c) No one may buy, sell, give, exchange, or trade any fetus born dead as a result of a legal abortion or any fetal organs or tissues resulting from a legal abortion, nor may they make an offer to do so.
(d) No one may possess a fetus born dead as the result of a legal abortion nor any fetal organs or tissues resulting from a legal abortion.
(e) This section does not apply to:
(1) A physician performing a legal abortion or a pathologist performing a pathological examination as the result of a legal abortion;
(2) An employee or representative of a physician performing a legal abortion or pathologist performing a pathological examination as the result of a legal abortion;
(3) The staff, faculty, students, or governing body of a college, university, or other secondary educational institute as needed to teach courses and conduct research at the college, university, or other secondary educational institute;
(4) A licensed physician or an employee or representative of that physician in the course of medical research; or
(5) Any licensed physician when performing a standard autopsy examination.
(f) Violating this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
A.C.A. § 23-79-156 Defines terms related to health insurance coverage of abortion and requires any abortion coverage to be purchased under a separate, optional premium cost
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Abortion” means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, or other device or substance to intentionally terminate a pregnancy for any reason other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus which died as the result of natural causes, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant person or their fetus.
(2) “Elective abortion” means an abortion for any reason other than:
(A) (i) To prevent the death of the pregnant person receiving the abortion;
(ii) However, an abortion that is induced or performed based on a claim or diagnosis that the pregnant person intends to harm themselves in such a way as to cause their death unless they receive an abortion does not meet the above exception.
(B) In a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest
(3) “Qualified health plan” means a health plan that meets the requirements under 42 U.S.C. § 18021, as it existed on January 1, 2013.
(b) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) Congress enacted and the President signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-148; and
(2) The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-148, allows states to pass laws banning qualified health plans to offer abortion coverage if those plans are offered through a health insurance exchange in that state.
(c) (1) A qualified health plan offered through a health insurance exchange established in Arkansas is not allowed to include elective abortion coverage. This section is in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-148.
(2) A person may purchase optional extra coverage for elective abortions. A separate premium must be paid for this coverage in the health insurance market outside of the state exchange, as allowed by part (d) of this section.
(d) Any issuer of a health plan that offers optional extra coverage for elective abortions, offered in the health insurance market outside of the state exchange, must:
(1) (A) Calculate the cost of the premium for the optional abortion coverage so that the premium fully covers the estimated cost of an elective abortion;
(B) (i) The insurer shall determine the premium required under subdivision (d)(1)(A) of this section on an average actuarial basis.
(ii) (a) When calculating the premium required under subdivision (d)(1)(B)(i) of this section, the coverage issuer will not account for a cost reduction in a qualified health plan offered through an Arkansas health insurance exchange if that cost reduction is a result of abortion coverage offered by the insurer that covers the individual who wishes to enroll for elective abortion coverage.
(b) As used in subdivision (d)(1)(B)(ii)(a) of this section (above), a cost reduction estimated to result from abortion coverage offered by the insurer includes the estimated cost reduction in prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care that would result from using offered abortion coverage
(2) Any issuer of a health plan that offers optional extra coverage for elective abortions must require three (3) separate signatures if a person is enrolling in a health insurance plan that provides other health coverage at the same time as they are enrolling in optional extra coverage for elective abortion:
(A) A signature for the optional abortion coverage;
(B) A signature for the health coverage that does not include optional abortion coverage; and
(C) A signature noting that the person enrolling in both coverages has been given the cost of the separate premium.
(3) (A) Any issuer of a health plan that offers optional elective abortion coverage must provide, at the time a person enrolls in the plan, a notice that specifically states the cost of the separate premium for elective abortion coverage.
(B) The notice required under subdivision (d)(3)(A) of this section must be separate and distinct from the notice stating the cost of the premium for the part of the health plan that does not include optional coverage for elective abortions.
(e) An issuer of a health plan providing coverage offered through a health insurance exchange established in Arkansas is not allowed to discount or reduce the premium for other health coverage if a person also enrolls in optional elective abortion coverage.
(f) This section does not apply in cases where federal law trumps state regulations on health insurance.
This month the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ban on telemedicine for medication abortion is unconstitutional. The Iowa Planned Parenthood’s program is one of a few in the country that allowed women in outlying areas to receive medication abortions after consulting with a doctor via video chat in another office. This allows women to access medication abortion without having to visit a clinic much farther away from where they live. After Iowa’s telemedicine abortion program started several states, including Oklahoma and Kansas, passed laws outlawing the procedure. Unfortunately, many of the states that passed these laws have large rural populations that live long distances from clinics. These are the very populations who could greatly benefit from access to telemedicine abortion care. This ruling does not affect laws in other states, but it does become part of the case law to support similar rulings in other states.
On June 9, a three judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the portion of Texas HB 2 law that requires that clinics providing abortion care meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center (ASC) and that doctors providing abortion care have privileges at a local hospital. The plaintiff’s asked for the law to be stayed while they appeal the case to the Supreme Court, but the court ruled that the law will be allowed to go into effect while the case continues. This means that the state will be left with only nine clinics after July 1. Whole Women’s Health of McAllen was exempted from meeting the hospital privileges requirement but only to provide care to women from the immediate area. Whole Women’s Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights are appealing the court’s decision. On June 29, the Supreme Court stayed the law while they are considering taking the case.
In Ohio, a judge has ruled that the state’s law requiring clinics to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital is unconstitutional. The law threatened to shut down Capitol Care Network, the only remaining clinic in Toledo. The clinic that tried to obtain an agreement with a hospital in the state, but public hospitals were barred by state law from accepting a transfer agreement. Local private hospitals all rejected any agreements with the clinic. The clinic was able to obtain a transfer agreement from a hospital 50 miles away in Michigan, but the state insisted that the agreement did not constitute a local transfer agreement. Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhar ruled that the law allowed outside hospitals and physicians to have too much control over the licensing of abortion clinics. He also noted that the law was unconstitutional because it failed to meet the state’s requirement that legislation have one subject as it was passed as an addition to the 2013 state budget.
A recent Associated Press (AP) study has found that abortion rates have decreased almost universally across the country in the last few years. The AP noted that the primary cause of the decrease is a decrease in the rates of unintended pregnancies through greater access to contraceptives. Other causes of the decrease were clinic closures and restrictions in several states. Both states that have laws favorable to abortion access and laws with many restrictions experienced decreases. Some of the states with the highest decreases were those that expanded Medicaid and fully embraced greater access to contraceptives through the ACA. Researchers speculated that women were able to prevent unwanted pregnancies by being able to access contraceptives more reliably and to be able to afford more effective methods such as IUDs and implants due to their coverage under the ACA. The only states that experienced an increase in the abortion rate were states with less restrictive laws than their neighbors. For example, Louisiana saw an increase in Texas women seeking abortions after the expansion of restrictions in Texas. The study confirms what we already know: better access to methods to prevent pregnancy will decrease abortions and that restrictions don’t make women want to carry unwanted pregnancies; they simply make it harder for them to access abortion care.