At least 11 states have passed laws this year regulating or restricting abortion, giving opponents of abortion what partisans on both sides of the issue say is an unusually high number of victories. In four additional states, bills have passed at least one house of the legislature.
Kim Smith of Norman, Okla., listened to the debate in the State Senate on an override of a veto on an abortion bill last week.
In a flurry of activity last week, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi signed a bill barring insurers from covering abortion in the new insurance exchanges called for under the federal health care overhaul, and the Oklahoma Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Brad Henry of a bill requiring doctors who perform abortions to answer 38 questions about each procedure, including the women’s reasons for ending their pregnancies.
It was the third abortion measure this session on which the Legislature overrode a veto by Mr. Henry.
At least 13 other states have introduced or passed similar legislation this year. The new laws range from an Arizona ban on coverage of abortion in the state employees’ health plan to a ban in Nebraska on all abortions after 20 weeks, on the grounds that the fetus at that stage can feel pain.
Fetal pain is a subject of debate in the medical community, and the United States Supreme Court has recognized the government’s right to ban abortions only after a fetus becomes viable, which is more than a month later.
“The right-to-life folks are seeing just how far they can push things,” said Joseph W. Dellapenna, a law professor at Villanova University and the author of “Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History.” Professor Dellapenna said it was “almost a certainty” that one of the laws would end up in front of the Supreme Court, where Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s views on abortion are untested, as are those of Elena Kagan, President Obama’s new court nominee.