Chipping Away at The Right To Choose: Abortion Restrictions At Astonishing Record High
Ten state legislatures are still in session, but the damage is done: 19 state legislatures have passed 80 laws to restrict or add obstacles to the women’s right to choose. The Guttmacher Institute reports that the new legislation is more than double the previous record of 34 restrictions passed in 2005.
While choice is a constitutionally protected right (Remember Roe V. Wade?), anti-choice crusaders will use whatever lowly means necessary to force their sexist ideology into action. In Raleigh, North Carolina, for example, anti-choice vandals spray painted “Thou Shalt Not Murder” amongst other graffiti on a Planned Parenthood facility. The action was not one of ill-informed (The clinic does not perform abortions) belligerence, but political activism to back efforts to cut Planned Parenthood from the state budget.
Using budget cuts as leverage, the war on women seems to be a full-fledged government attack. In states like Texas and New Hampshire, cuts to Planned Parenthood were disproportionate compared to other health services. Aside from cuts, state legislatures are also building obstacles to slow women’s access to abortions. Five states – Kansas, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas – mandated pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods.
Particularly disturbing, South Dakota’s mandate includes enforcing a psychologically tormenting experience on women seeking abortion. Pending a legal challenge, the law enforces a 72-hour waiting period during which women must visit “crisis pregnancy center” that will subject them to inaccurate, ideologically-informed information to scare them away from abortion.
More recent weapons in the war against women include:
Claiming “fetal pain,” Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Idaho passed laws prohibiting abortion past 20 weeks of gestation.
Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah passed laws restricting abortion coverage under all private health care plans.
Kansas, Arizona, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Tennessee banned women from receiving counseling via videoconference from an off-site physician to authorize on-site staff to dispense medication. This is especially damaging considering the shrinking number of abortion providers nationwide, especially in rural and small towns.
Clearly, women – stripped of health care and the right to choose in the midst of a devastated economy – are under attack. It is time to fight back.