Ultra-Conservative States Keep Chipping Away at Roe v. Wade

On Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed yet another into law that restrict women's rights to abortion. This one requires doctors to administer an ultrasound before performing an abortion, and decreases younger women's access without parental notification. Both passed bypartisan opposition the Florida Independent calls "fervent." This comes on the heels of Florida Senator Marco Rubio's bill that would make it illegal for minors residing in parental-notification states to cross state borders to obtain an abortion. Next up: GPS on our uteri? 

The New York Times neatly summarized the attack on women's abortion rights today, in a front page piece about the states that have banned abortion after 20 weeks. The laws, enacted in Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama, are based on the premise that fetuses can feel pain -- a notion disputed, the Times says, by mainstream medical associations across the world:

The laws directly conflict with the key threshold set by the Supreme Court: that abor- tion cannot be banned until the fetus becomes viable. Viability, the ability to survive outside the womb, usually occurs at the 24th week of pregnancy or later, and is determined in individual cases by a doctor, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst in Washington with the Guttmacher Institute, a research group. [...] 

“These 20-week laws are absolutely unconstitutional,” said Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal group. No one has yet challenged the laws in court, in part, because they are so new that few potential plaintiffs have emerged. But advocates for abortion rights are also proceeding warily, fearful that a weak case could end up in the Supreme Court and upend the legal structure established by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and subsequent decisions, with fetal viability as the all-important dividing line between access to abortion and stringent limits.

Depressing is an understatement. Read the full piece here

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 27, 2011, 6:32am

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