(CNS News) -- The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group and the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, says that "right-wing ideologues are engaging in a shock-and-awe campaign" this year in the state legislatures by passing myriad restrictions on abortion.
"If this trend continues, 2021 will end up as the most damaging antiabortion state legislative session in a decade—and perhaps ever," said the Institute in a statement released on April 30.
"Since January, there have been 536 abortion restrictions, including 146 abortion bans, introduced across 46 states (all counts current as of April 29, 2021)," according to Guttmacher. "A whopping 61 of those restrictions have been enacted across 13 states, including eight bans.
"As our earlier analysis predicted, state policymakers are testing the limits of what the new U.S. Supreme Court majority might allow and laying the groundwork for a day when federal constitutional protections for abortion are weakened or eliminated entirely," said Guttmacher.
On Apr. 26, the governor of Montana, Republican Greg Gianforte, signed three pro-life bills into law.
"Life is precious and ought to be protected," said Gianforte in a tweet. "Today, I proudly signed into law bills to protect the life of our most vulnerable, the unborn."
On Apr. 27, Idaho's Republican governor, Brad Little, signed a bill into law that prohibits abortion when the unborn baby's heartbeat is detectable, which usually occurs six weeks into pregnancy.
“Idaho is a state that values the most innocent of all lives – the lives of babies," said Gov. Little. "We should never relent in our efforts to protect the lives of the preborn. Hundreds and hundreds of babies lose their lives every year in Idaho due to abortion, an absolute tragedy."
In Oklahoma, GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt signed three pro-life measures into law on Apr. 26.
"I'm keeping my promise to sign all pro-life legislation," tweeted Gov. Stitt. "We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn! HB 2441, HB 1904, and HB 1102."
"State legislatures are also falling back on their well-worn playbook of imposing unnecessary and intentionally burdensome restrictions on abortion clinics and providers," said the Guttmacher Institute. "Five states—Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma—enacted restrictions on abortion clinics, an issue that has not been hot in state legislatures since the Supreme Court in 2016 struck down regulations enacted in Texas."
"The year 2021 is well on its way to being a defining one in abortion rights history," said the Institute.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said of the Guttmacher Institute release, “The unprecedented surge of pro-life activity in state legislatures this year proves life is winning in America."
“Across the nation, state lawmakers acting on the will of the people are taking bold steps to humanize our laws and challenge the radical status quo imposed by Roe v. Wade," she said. "The 61 new laws enacted and hundreds of bills introduced include legislation to stop late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy, end lethal discrimination against unborn children for reasons like a Down syndrome diagnosis, protect unborn babies from the moment their heartbeat can be detected, safeguard women from dangerous abortion drugs, and more. We’re grateful to all our state allies and have been honored to work together to advance many of these vital protections."
“There could not be a stronger rebuke to the Biden-Harris administration, whose pro-abortion agenda is deeply unpopular with Americans of all stripes," said Dannenfelser. "The states are sending an unmistakable message to pro-abortion Democrats nationwide – and to the Supreme Court – that the pro-life movement will never rest until unborn children and their mothers are protected in the law.”