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9 New Laws in the GOP's War Against Women

Shaming women is more important to Republicans than tackling the economic crisis or any of the myriad problems facing Americans. The consequences for women's health are dire.

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In Kentucky: The state is the second, after Oklahoma, to pass legislation requiring women not only to undergo an ultrasound before seeking an abortion (as is the case in many states), but to actually be shown the ultrasound screen while a technician describes the fetus in detail. If a woman chooses to avert her eyes from the screen, she will still be subjected to the technician’s description. Kentucky women also will be required to wait 24 hours before they can receive an abortion procedure. According to ThinkProgress, “[c]ases of rape or incest are not exempted from this requirement, and doctors face fines as high as $250,000 for disobeying the law.”

Although Oklahoma’s bill is being challenged in court, the Times notes that Kentucky’s anti-choice “victory” has prompted a number of other states, including Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming, to consider similar legislation.

In New Hampshire: The “Live Free or Die” state has conservative leanings, but has thus far refrained from policing women’s bodies, embracing a libertarian ethos towards the issue as it does to many.

But its very first anti-abortion law could be on the books, a parental notification act that is extremely difficult minors who may be faced with disapproving, controlling or even abusive parents. The state has held out against any such legislation in the past, so why the change? Women’s eNews reports that “ proponents think they'll finally be able to get it passed, not only because Republicans control the Senate but also because men are now the majority, unlike in 2008 when the Senate was female dominant.” It’s certainly depressing, but it’s true that even conservative women can help stem the anti-choice tide. Witness Wyoming, where an anti-choice ultrasound law (which would have severely hampered women traveling across the state for an abortion) was voted down, and several Republican women spoke up against it. Change.org has a petition circulating asking New Hampshire to stay true to its flinty nature and keep laws off of young women’s bodies.

In Idaho: A pharmacist refused to fill a prescription written by a Planned Parenthood nurse for a bleeding woman, citing the state’s “conscience” law because the woman may have had an abortion. The pharmacist reportedly asked the woman seeking the prescription (for Methergine, which is used to control uterine bleeding after childbirth and abortion) if she needed the medicine for post-abortive care. If that question sounds less than kosher to you, that’s because it’s not; such questions are not allowed under patient confidentiality rules. Still, the Idaho Board of Pharmacy found that the pharmacist was not guilty of any wrongdoing. A letter from the board’s executive director Mark Johnston said that the group “had concluded its investigation into the incident and found no violations of state laws the board is tasked with enforcing,” according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. Needless to say, the board has established a dangerous precedent.

In Nebraska and Iowa: Nebraska has already passed an extremely dangerous abortion ban after 20 weeks, chasing doctor Leroy Carhart out of the state. This law’s passage has emboldened Iowa, where Carhart says he would like to practice, to put a copycat law on the books. Other states are following suit.

In Ohio: AlterNet’s Robin Marty reports on a “heartbeat bill” which would define life as beginning at the first sign of a heartbeat, extremely early in a pregnancy, and be an effective total abortion ban. Even more frightening, it would seek to divide abortion from other reproductive services affected by other similar attempts, the so-called “personhood” amendments. Read her story here.