Briefing

Roe v. Wade at 40: Six questions about the state of abortion rights today

On Tuesday, the United States marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic US Supreme Court decision that granted women the right to an abortion. Here is a look at the state of abortion rights in America today.

By , Staff writer

2. Where have abortion's foes had their biggest successes?

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    Antiabortion supporters parade down St. Paul St. during the March for Life in downtown Dallas, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
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Americans United for Life (AUL), an antiabortion group, just released its annual “life list,” which ranks states on the basis of ongoing legal efforts to “create and sustain a culture of life.” Its Top 10 antiabortion states: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Arizona, Nebraska, Indiana, Missouri, Georgia, and Virginia. The group gave a special mention to five states – Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Virginia – for legislation enacted in 2012.

Some of those measures, says Charmaine Yoest, president and chief executive officer of AUL, were fairly groundbreaking ones – such as Arizona’s ban on abortions past 20 weeks, which is being challenged in court. Other big areas of focus, Ms. Yoest says, have been on defunding abortion providers, regulating access to chemical abortions (in which drugs are used to induce an abortion), and passing “opt out” legislation, in which states restrict insurance coverage for abortion in the new exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

“Over the last two years, we have seen this tremendous upsurge in pro-life legislation at the state level,” Yoest says. “And we actually improved our position [in the 2012 elections] in terms of pro-life representation at the state level.”

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