The Right Wing Has Made It Next to Impossible for Many Women to Get Abortions
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They say it's too easy.
According to 48 percent of American voters, it's "too easy" to have an abortion in this country.
Every year, legislatures introduce hundreds of bills to restrict abortion. Every year, dozens pass. This year has been no exception. The Center for Reproductive Rights published a report on the nearly 50 new laws that have already been passed this year: biased counseling, forced ultrasounds, bans on insurance coverage, parental notification... And it's only September.
Louisiana was among the many states to pass new laws restricting abortion. One of them gave the state's Department of Health the authority to shut down any abortion clinic -- permanently -- for health and safety concerns.
And it had its first success: it shut down the Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport. According to the Department of Health:
The Legislature gave us this authority because they recognized we must have the ability to stop unsafe practices that place these already vulnerable women in danger.
But closing abortion clinics doesn't protect vulnerable women. And under Louisiana's new law, once a clinic is shut down by the health department, its owners and managers are prohibited from ever operating another clinic, ensuring one less provider for the women of Louisiana and making it that much harder for them to obtain an abortion in that state.
The State of Louisiana just accomplished what the terrorists who attempted to bomb that same clinic in 2005 failed to do, shutting down the clinic.
Consider the challenges a woman in Missouri now faces. There is now only one provider in the entire state, so unless she's lucky enough to live in St. Louis, she will have to travel, perhaps 100 miles or more, to even reach an abortion provider. That is the case for one in five patients at the clinic in St. Louis.
If she's a minor, she'll first need her parents’ consent. Maybe she knows her parents will say no. Maybe she’s afraid she’ll be punished if they find out she wants to have an abortion. Maybe she’ll be kicked out or beaten. Maybe she’ll even be killed. These things happen.
She can go to the court and hope that a judge gives her permission. But judges don’t always say yes. Maybe she’ll get one of those judges who thinks that at 17, she’s too young and immature to make the decision about whether to terminate her pregnancy. Not too young to have a baby, of course, but too young to have an abortion.
That’s the end of the line for her.
If she gets the consent of her parents, or the court, she has to travel to St. Louis. Maybe she has a car. Maybe she takes a bus. Maybe a friend gives her a ride. If she’s lucky.
At the clinic, she is told about the physical and psychological risks of abortion. It doesn’t matter that there really aren’t any. The procedure is perfectly safe. But that’s not the point. The point is to scare her, to make her think she is putting her life in danger.
She is given a brochure that tells her about “the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child.” She will have to look at color photographs and descriptions of a fetus, from conception to full term.
The brochure also says: “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”
That’s not a medical opinion; that’s a religious belief. The state is not supposed to be in the business of promoting religious beliefs, but that’s the law in Missouri now.