2015 Year-End State Policy Roundup

Jan 13, 2016

During the 2015 state legislative session, lawmakers considered 514 provisions related to abortion; the vast majority of these measures—396 in 46 states—sought to restrict access to abortion services. This year will be remembered not only because 17 states enacted a total of 57 new abortion restrictions, but also because the politics of abortion ensnared family planning programs and providers as well as critical, life-saving fetal tissue research.

2015 may also be memorable for setting the stage for what is widely anticipated to be one of the most significant Supreme Court rulings on abortion since 1992. In November, the Court agreed to hear a challenge to a Texas law requiring abortion providers to adhere to the standards set for ambulatory surgical centers and to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. At stake is the question of how far states may go in regulating abortion before their actions amount to an unconstitutional “undue burden” on women’s ability to access care. The Court will hear the case in March 2016, with a decision expected in June; it is still considering whether to review a Mississippi admitting-privileges law. (Also in 2016, the Court will revisit the contraceptive coverage guarantee under the Affordable Care Act, weighing its importance and approach against the contention of religiously affiliated employers that they deserve to be entirely exempt from the law.)

At the same time, several states made important advances in 2015 on other sexual and reproductive health and rights issues Some of the new provisions include measures that allow women to obtain a full year’s worth of prescription contraceptives at one time from a pharmacy, allow a provider to treat a patient’s partner for an STI without first seeing the patient, prohibit the use of conversion therapy with minors and expand access to dating or sexual violence education. See the full analysis here for details.


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One comment on “2015 Year-End State Policy Roundup”

  • Also in 2016, the Court will revisit the contraceptive coverage
    guarantee under the Affordable Care Act, weighing its importance and
    approach against the contention of religiously affiliated employers
    that they deserve to be entirely exempt from the law.

    Since 7 out of 9 of the Supreme Court Justices are Roman Catholics, we all know how they will rule on this aspect of the law. So much for “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.”



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