Across The U.S., There Are More Waiting Periods To Get An Abortion Than There Are To Get A Gun

As a map from the Huffington Post details, there are currently more states that impose a waiting period on women seeking an abortion than states that impose a waiting period on people seeking to buy a gun. And there isn’t much overlap between those policies, so the majority of states that require women to wait at least 24 hours before obtaining legal abortion services don’t require people to wait any time at all before purchasing a firearm:

(Credit: Huffington Post)

A recent study found that imposing waiting periods on abortion care leads to “excessive emotional hardships” for women seeking to terminate a pregnancy. Requiring women to wait a 24-hour period forces them to make two trips to a health clinic, which can prove to be too difficult for the women who don’t have time to take off of work, money to pay for childcare, or means of transportation.

Of course, although waiting periods provide a direct comparison to gun policy, that’s not the only type of anti-choice law that limits access to abortion care. Republican-dominated states also impose restrictions on abortion providers that force health clinics to close their doors, require doctors to tell women scientifically inaccurate information about abortion risks, force women to look at images of their fetus on an ultrasound before being allowed to proceed with an abortion, prevent women from using their own insurance coverage to pay for abortion care, require women to seek out “counseling” at right-wing crisis pregnancy centers that attempt to dissuade them from choosing abortion, or ban the procedure altogether before the cut-off defined under Roe v. Wade.

In fact, as state lawmakers introduce increasingly stringent restrictions on women’s health, 2013 is shaping up to be the worst year in recent history for reproductive freedom. Jennifer Davlen, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, explains that the mounting pile of state-level abortion regulations are part of a national strategy to attack abortion access from all angles. “The purpose of these laws has always been to stack these restrictions one on top of the other,” Davlen explained on a call with reporters last week. “The goal is making the wall so high that it will be impossible for women to get the care they need.”

On the other hand, even in states that require a waiting period before purchasing firearms, it’s hardly impossible to get access to a gun. Loopholes in existing laws, as well as lenient gun policies that don’t currently require background checks in every situation, allow Americans to easily get their hands on guns, even if they have a criminal record. Last week, a convicted felon being held in a supermax prison penned a letter to the National Rifle Association to thank the gun rights organization for continuing to push policies that will allow him to get himself a firearm even after he’s released from jail.