CHICAGO (AP) — It's legal to get an abortion in America, but in many places it's hard and getting harder.
Just this year, 17 states set new limits on abortion, and 24 did last year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights nonprofit.
More than 30 new abortion laws have been enacted this year, a record topped only by the unprecedented 92 laws last year.
Abortion-rights advocates find the growing restrictions troubling, while abortion opponents are encouraged, saying the laws are working. In several states with the most restrictive laws, the number of abortions has fallen slightly.
The issue remains important to many voters. A Gallup poll released this week found that nearly 40 percent of female registered voters surveyed in 12 swing states consider abortion the most important election issue for women, even outranking jobs.
And it remains divisive. A Gallup poll last month found nearly as many voters consider themselves "pro-life" as those who say they are "pro-choice."
APPHOTO ILALT442: In this March 8, 2011 photo, anti-abortion protesters gather outside the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Ill., as Rev. Chris Comerford, right, from St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Granite City speaks out against the abortion clinic. It's legal to get an abortion in America, but in many places it is hard and getting harder. Just this year, 17 states set new limits on abortion; 24 did last year, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Most states now require pre-abortion counseling, and over two dozen require waiting periods. In several of these states, the number of abortions has fallen, pleasing abortion opponents who say the laws are working. (AP Photo/The Telegraph, John Badman) (8 Mar 2011)
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