KANSAS CITY, Mo. — State legislatures passed fewer but more powerful laws restricting abortion this year, aiming less to tweak restrictions and more to outlaw the procedure.
Nationally, lawmakers have passed about half as many restrictions as the record-setting year of 2011 after Republicans gained control of many statehouses. Still, abortion-rights supporters see the laws this year as increasingly restrictive.
North Dakota banned abortion at six weeks. Arkansas banned most abortions at 12 weeks. Wisconsin and Alabama banned doctors from performing abortions if they don’t have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. And Texas adopted a law requiring abortions be performed only in hospital-type settings.
“Legislatures have been very busy trying to restrict abortion in every way they can,” said Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The difference this year is how states are striking at the heart of abortion access. In earlier years, abortion supporters say, the new rules generally just made it harder to get the procedure.
Laws requiring ultrasound tests, waiting periods or counseling have lost luster while lawmakers press measures that push against court rulings that have for a generation protected the right to an abortion.
“It’s just a more brazen attack,” said Helene Krasnoff, assistant litigation director for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Abortion opponents see the new laws as reflective of public opinion.
“This is America speaking, not a band of a few people,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List. “There are people looking at where do we draw the line.”