Last Friday, a federal judge issued a decision that protects women’s access to abortion, finding unconstitutional a Wisconsin law that would have shut down an abortion provider and seriously hindered access for thousands of women. The state law required all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the health center where the abortion was performed. These types of laws are medically unnecessary which is why major medical groups like American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Medical Association oppose these restrictions.
The law would have forced one clinic to shut its doors for good and the other three to absorb the patient load. With patients at these clinics already facing unusually long wait times (3-4 weeks) because of a lack of abortion providing physicians, it is unlikely the remaining three would have been able to serve all patients in need. Read more »
Once again, state politicians are seeking to insert themselves into women’s medical decisions and violate their constitutionally protected right to abortion. Ohio’s House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on H.B. 69, a bill that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This could be as early as six weeks, before many, if not most, women even know they are pregnant. Abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected would only be allowed in the most narrow and dire of circumstances. This is blatantly unconstitutional. Even supporters of the bill acknowledge that it violates the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade holding that abortions cannot be prohibited before viability. Similar abortion bans failed in the past two legislative sessions, in part, because anti-abortion legislators recognized that the bills were unconstitutionaland would subject the state to years of litigation. Read more »
On this year’s 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, abortion providers around the country received plastic handcuffs with notes that read “Could you be next?” The organization who sent them said their intent was to “make a connection.” Yeah, right.
Unfortunately, working at an abortion clinic often means receiving harassing mail, faxes, and phone calls. But it doesn’t stop there. According to the National Clinic Violence Survey [PDF] by the Feminist Majority Foundation, nearly one in five abortion clinics experience severe violence, including arsons, bombings, and gunfire, and in the last four years, targeted intimidation of and threats to abortion providers, clinics, and staff has increased significantly, with 51.9% of clinics affected by some form of harassment or intimidation. The most widely reported types of harassment include the mailing of anti-choice brochures and the posting of personal information on the internet. Read more »
Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates will vote on H.B. 2568, a bill that would unconstitutionally ban abortion after 20 weeks. Not only do some West Virginia politicians think that they, not women themselves, should make this deeply personal medical decision, but the House Health Committee even voted down an amendment that would have made exceptions in cases where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. According to one West Virginia politician, “Obviously, rape is awful . . . what is beautiful is the child that would result from this.” Read more »
Setting aside for the moment that these bills are unconstitutional, I want to reflect on the people who would be most hurt by these bans. Mother Jones recently compiled the stories of six women who obtained abortions after 20 weeks. The common theme in each of their stories is that a 20 week abortion ban would have meant that politicians—not these women and their doctors—would have made the women’s deeply personal, medical decisions.
So what happens when politicians do interfere with this decision? Read more »
In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court recognized that a woman has a right to make fundamental decisions affecting her health and future, including whether or not to obtain an abortion. In the decades since Roe, women and their families have come to rely on the right to an abortion.
Today, however, the well-established right to an abortion is being attacked under the guise of religious freedom, putting a woman’s ability to obtain a safe, legal abortion in jeopardy. The first refusal law was enacted shortly after Roe, allowing individuals and entities to refuse to provide abortions or sterilizations due to religious beliefs. Since then, nearly every state has adopted a comparable law. Recent years have seen an increase in legislative activity related to refusal laws, as well as an expansion of refusal rights. For example, in some states medical professionals can refuse to provide referrals to women, pharmacists can refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, and hospitals can refuse to offer health care services to which it is opposed. Read more »
Who knew a fight over a reporting requirement for rape survivors could take down a horrible bill that would impose a nationwide abortion ban on later pregnancies? But that’s exactly what happened last night. Just as I was about to get on a treadmill to work out the stresses of the day, I learned that the House Rules Committee was hastily convening at 9 pm to replace the 20 week ban bill with a totally different anti-abortion bill.
You can’t make this stuff up when it comes to abortion politics. Read more »
On Tuesday, while President Obama reminded us, “[T]hat every women should have access to the health care she needs,” I was returning home from the premiere of Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. Some of the stories were heartbreaking and some were amazingly uplifting, but they all had one thing in common—each woman made the decision that was best for her and her family. Read more »