"No Signs Of Stopping"
More Anti-Abortion Bills Threaten Reproductive Rights In Ten States
Abortion rates declined by 13 percent over three years according to the latest data, with researchers finding an increase in birth control use having a more significant effect than restrictive abortion laws. But that information won’t stop opponents of reproductive health and a woman’s right to choose. After three years that contained a record-breaking number of state-level abortion restrictions, state legislatures are developing even more attacks. Here is a run down of ten of the worst, or head over to ThinkProgress where Tara Culp-Ressler goes over them in more detail:
1. Alabama is attempting to ban abortions after just six weeks. Lawmakers in the state are holding a hearing on a so-called “heartbeat” bill–or bill that would ban the procedure after a heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six week into pregnancy. The measure violates Roe v. Wade.
2. South Dakota may ban most abortions and threaten doctors with life in prison. Proposed legislation in the state would “prohibit the dismemberment or decapitation of certain living unborn children,” vague language that could end up having far-reaching implications for abortion care in the state. Doctors in violation of the proposed measure could face life in prison.
3. Oklahoma wants to follow in Texas’ footsteps and shut down abortion clinics. Even though Oklahoma already has a law that imposes stringent restrictions on abortion providers, the proposed bill would tighten those restrictions even further to bring them in line with Texas’ law. It was approved by a Senate panel on Monday.
4. Indiana could put abortion doctors at risk for more violence and harassment. The measure being considered in the state would require “back up doctors” for abortion procedures, and then publicize the names of those doctors, exposing them to potential threats and harassment. “It does nothing to improve women’s health. All it will do is target doctors who provide health care for women,” state Sen. Vaneta Becker (R) explained.
5. Iowa wants to allow women to sue doctors for “abortion distress.” The upshot of this would be to place abortion providers under the constant threat of a costly lawsuit from a former patient who regrets their abortion.
6. Missouri may force women to wait three days before having an abortion. Although mandatory waiting periods are a popular type of abortion restriction, research has proven that they don’t actually change women’s minds about whether to continue a pregnancy.
7. South Carolina and West Virginia want to ban later abortions with no consideration for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. Nine states have already passed similar “20-week” abortion bans, which violate the protections guaranteed under Roe v. Wade. Later abortions are already very rare.
8. Mississippi is so intent on banning abortion that it’s poised to pass an unnecessary bill. Another 20-week abortion ban is currently making its way through the Mississippi legislature, but it is entirely unnecessary because the state’s only remaining abortion clinic only performs procedures up to 16 weeks.
9. Kentucky wants to force abortion doctors to describe ultrasound images to their patients. This type of abortion restriction was recently struck down in North Carolina for violating the First Amendment, since it compels doctors to deliver an anti-choice message sanctioned by the state.
10. Iowa is trying to eliminate abortion access for low-income and rural women. Iowa earns another spot on this list for going after “telemedicine” abortion — essentially, the practice of using video technology to allow doctors to remotely prescribe a pill to women who may not have access to a nearby clinic.
BOTTOM LINE: 2014 is already shaping up to be another banner year in the GOP’s war on women, particularly at the state level. It’s going to be a year when progressives and women’s rights advocates push back harder than ever.