A measure that would make abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal failed to pass the House of Representatives. Many in leadership felt that a requirement that rape be formally reported to police before the abortion could take place was unfair to victims. In cases of incest, the bill would only allow abortions after the 20-week mark if the victim was a minor. The rally against the mandate was led by Representative Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, who was one of several conservative women to vote against it. Ellmers explained after the vote, “The thing is—I am pro-life. I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that life begins at the point of conception.” Ellmers said, “Millennials are with us on so many issues. But when we come off as harsh and judgmental, we stop that conversation. We need to do a better job.” Several states already have their own laws banning abortions after 20-weeks. Another bill renewing an existing ban on any federal funds being used for abortion passed instead ... Discuss

The Abortion Debate Needs More Grace

Why our rhetoric surrounding abortion needs to offer grace, not condemnation. Read More

According to a new report from the CDC, the latest numbers (from 2011) indicate that the abortion rate in America has fallen to nearly an all-time low, but there are still 219 abortions performed for every 1,000 live birth deliveries. The report says that in 2011, more than 730,000 abortions were performed (though the number could actually be closer to 1 million), which represents a dramatic decline over the last 40 years. Experts say that the falling abortion rate could be due to a number of factors including access to contraception and changing social norms ... Discuss

Two years ago, the state of Texas was home to 41 abortion facilities. Following this week’s ruling by a federal appeals court to enforce new legislation, only seven will be allowed to stay open. This summer, a lower court stalled the enforcement of new laws that outlined higher on-site standards at the state’s abortion clinics and required providers to be able to admit patients to nearby hospitals. This week’s ruling though allows for the enforcement of the new rules, and will effectively force the closure of most of the state’s facilities—unless they can make some expensive changes. And though the ruling will be appealed, experts think in the end, the state’s new measures will be upheld meaning the new round of closures are likely inevitable ... Discuss

Overriding a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon, conservative legislators in Missouri have officially changed the state’s waiting period for getting an abortion from 24 hours to three days. Following the vote, Nixon criticized the move and the new bill which does not make exceptions for incest or rape ... Discuss

Here’s an interesting article from the National Journal that looks at the lasting effects of abortion-restricting legislation recently passed in Texas. Even though elements of the laws are likely to be decided by the Supreme Court, as the article notes, abortion providers in the state are facing closures, and may never reopen no matter what the courts ultimately decide.

There were more than 40 clinics that provided abortions in Texas in 2011. There are now 20 still open, and after the law's last steps of implementation are taken in September, all but six are expected to close. Most of the closed clinics will never reopen, their operators say.

Texas’ laws that put new restrictions on abortion providers became the subject of a national dialogue after Sen. Wendy Davis conducted a day-long filibuster attempting to block it from going through last year. Though initially successful, Gov. Rick Perry eventually had the new measures passed, effectively shutting down almost every abortion provider in the state ... Discuss