Another New Frontrunner in the Race to Restrict Reproductive Rights

Not to be outdone by Arkansas or any of the record number of other states advancing restrictions on abortion in recent years, North Dakota this week passed anti-choice legislation so draconian it is alienating even self-described "pro-life" lawmakers. Legislatures in states including Texas and Kansas also tried to keep up in the race to be the most backward state on reproductive rights this week, passing legislation that would shut down clinics and endanger women's health. Texas Gov. Rick Perry told lawmakers back in December that his goal was to "make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past" in his state -- and it looks like lawmakers in other states have also set that as a key priority for legislative sessions this year:

North Dakota lawmakers passed legislation defining life as beginning at conception, in an "effort to essentially ban abortion." [AP]

"We have stepped over the line." -- pro-life State Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-ND) on North Dakota's abortion ban. [ThinkProgress]

Anti-choice conservative lawmakers are planning to join a pro-choice rally on Monday in protest. [ThinkProgress]

Late Friday, the North Dakota House also passed a personhood amendment and two other anti-abortion bills. [MSNBC]

Texas legislators approved a bill this week that could close 37 of the state's existing 42 abortion clinics. [Huffington Post]

A Kansas state Senate committee advanced its own "sweeping" anti-abortion bill this week that included a statement that human life begins "at fertilization." [Kansas City Star]

More on Kansas' anti-choice "omnibus bill" -- all 70 pages of it. [RH Reality Check]

An Iowa state senator planned to offer an anti-choice amendment to a bill to prohibit the use of handcuffs on pregnant inmates. [Quad City Times]

Two recent victories for reproductive rights in Minnesota and New Hampshire. [RH Reality Check]

A new poll in Virginia shows that voters in both parties are strongly opposed to proposed new restrictions there. [NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia]


(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Read the full Dispatch from March 23, 2013 here or sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)