... Forty years after the US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in Roe v. Wade, the abortion wars are raging as hot as ever. From Texas to North Carolina to Wisconsin to Ohio, to name just the most recent examples, states across America are enacting new restrictions in a wave that began in 2011 – a direct result of the conservative backlash of 2010 that swept Republicans into power in the US House, state legislatures, and governor's chairs. Some have made regulating abortion a top priority.
If 2011 saw a peak in the passage of post-Roe abortion restrictions at the state level – 92 – then 2013 is poised to come in second. As of July 30, the number of new restrictions is at 55, past the total of 43 for all of 2012, according to the pro-abortion-rights Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health matters.
And like the political map of the country, divvied up into red and blue states, so, too, are the states increasingly polarized over abortion. Solid-red Texas now has some of the toughest restrictions in the nation, including a just-signed ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At the other end of the spectrum, solid-blue California is moving to expand access to early-term abortions by allowing nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform certain types. ...
But in the realm of new abortion laws, there are far more Texases than Californias. And now there's a new wrinkle: Moderate, battleground states – the "purple" states that decide presidential races, such as North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia – are joining the abortion crackdown as never before. In 2008, all four voted for Barack Obama for president. In 2012, all but North Carolina voted to reelect him.