Seventy percent of all state abortion restrictions introduced in the 2015–2016 legislative session are based on false information, according to the results of a study from the National Partnership for Women & Families, released on the heels of Wednesday’s Supreme Court arguments on a Texas anti-abortion law.
The 251 faulty bills in 37 states were found to be either based on lies about abortion procedures and doctors or on false assumptions about why a woman would choose to get an abortion. Or both. These proposed laws have likely contributed to the public’s equally misinformed beliefs about abortion.
“There is no place for lies in health care, and that includes women’s health care,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership in a press release.
The group’s report parses out the variety of different regulations, including the political strategy spearheaded by anti-abortion lawmakers and found in the Texas law now in front of the Supreme Court. This strategy, called “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,” or TRAP, is based on the false assumption that abortion is a highly dangerous procedure conducted by inexperienced doctors. To combat this assumption, TRAP laws place tight, unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers — many of which force them to shut their doors.
In other legislation, lawmakers are trying to force abortion providers to supply women with false information about abortion. As an example, researchers turn to a New York bill that would require a provider to tell women seeking an abortion that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, a lie debunked by both the American Cancer Society and World Health Organization more than a decade ago.
Another Alabama bill introduced would force a woman to get an ultrasound, even if it’s unnecessary, and force the doctor to describe the fetus — even if the woman requests not to hear it. This, the study points out, is a lawmaker’s way of doubting a women’s private medical decisions and, essentially, her own freedom of conscious — a legally mandated right.
“Lies are being turned into laws in states across the country, and it must stop,” the report reads.