The U.S. Supreme Court issued a devastating ruling Tuesday in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, refusing to block a law that is forcing one-third of Texas’ abortion clinics to stop offering vital services.
Back in July of 2013, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law H.B. 2, which, among other things, requires abortion providers to obtain unnecessary admitting privileges at local hospitals. Almost immediately, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union joined forces with a local Texas firm and filed a lawsuit on behalf of more than a dozen Texas health care providers and their patients.
The district court judge found the restriction both unconstitutional and unnecessary and prevented the restriction from going into effect. His ruling was a clear victory for Texas families, yet was almost immediately reversed by a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided that decreasing the number of physicians available to perform abortions and increasing the cost of abortions was not an “undue burden” on the women of Texas, and allowed the law to remain in effect while the matter is fully litigated in the courts. Read more »
The ballot measure was being pushed by opponents of abortion who targeted Albuquerque in a novel attempt to put an abortion ban on a city ballot. They hoped to close the city’s clinics, and also wanted to create a new model of attacks on abortion – going city by city, across the country.
But ABQ voters shut that whole thing down. Voters rejected the attempt to ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, recognizing that women need access to later abortion for a variety of reasons, and that the families in those situations need safe and legal medical care, not government interference. Read more »
Early Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice. At issue in Cline was an Oklahoma law which effectively bans a woman’s ability to terminate an early pregnancy through the use of medication abortion. Medication abortion is both safe and legal – and has been since its FDA approval over a decade ago. For a number of women, it is also the preferred method of abortion. One in four women who have an early abortion decides on this method. Not only is medication abortion safe and legal, it is also protects women’s privacy by allowing them to complete the abortion in the comfort of their own homes rather than in a medical office.
Because the scope of the law was somewhat ambiguous, there was a question as to whether or not the statute truly bans medication abortion. Last December, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a decision on the law. Without addressing the law’s scope, the Oklahoma Supreme Court said that the law was an impermissible restriction on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion and therefore violated the U.S. Constitution. In an effort to keep up the fight, Oklahoma appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more »
Politicians in Ohio have gone to great lengths to end abortion in their state. They’re not taking the blatantly unconstitutional route of North Dakota and Arkansas and just banning abortion outright in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. Rather, politicians in Ohio are doing what they can to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to get an abortion. They are also passing measures with the intent of coercing, shaming, and judging a woman seeking an abortion. Make no mistake: these attempts are just as harmful as an all-out ban on abortion, and are increasingly encroaching upon a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
A pregnant woman in Ohio who decides on abortion faces multiple, politician-imposed, medically unnecessary steps. She must receive information intended to dissuade her from her decision and shame her for the deeply personal decision she has made. This now includes forcing her to visit the clinic so doctors can test for a fetal heartbeat and offer her the chance to hear it, and forcing her to listen to a description of the odds of carrying the pregnancy to term. She must then wait 24 hours before obtaining the medical care she originally sought. As an Ohio woman seeking an abortion said, “It’s a hard decision for anybody to make. To make it more difficult by passing these laws and making women feel guilty is terrible.” (And these new requirements are only part of the numerous abortion restrictions that became law in Ohio this year).
Unfortunately, these efforts in Ohio are part of a national trend. Abortion opponents have continued to push the boundaries in an attempt to further challenge the core constitutional protections for a woman’s decision to have an abortion. In the last three years, states have passed a record number of abortion restrictions. These include requirements that a woman undergo a medically unnecessary, physically invasive ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, prohibiting a woman from purchasing a comprehensive health insurance plan that includes coverage of abortion, and imposing unnecessary, costly, and burdensome requirements on the clinics and doctors who provide abortions in an effort to shut them down.
Why this uptick in anti-abortion legislation? Read more »
Just because something has been policy for many years doesn’t make it a good policy. I’ve got a whole list I could go through (not letting women vote, not letting gay people marry, the whole “separate but equal” thing). Add to that list the Hyde Amendment.
What’s the Hyde Amendment? It is an amendment added to the yearly federal funding bill that bans Medicaid from covering abortions with federal money except in the narrow cases where a woman is a survivor of rape or incest or when her life is endangered. Added 37 years ago by Representative Henry Hyde, this harmful rider has been hurting low income women ever since. Read more »
One year ago today, Todd Akin made the statement that would outrage the public and ultimately torpedo his Senate campaign. In explaining his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape, he said, "It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
And what has happened since? In our survey of state and federal legislative action, we documented that politicians and political commentators continue to make the same remarks and they continue to introduce and enact legislation to stop women from getting abortion, including women who are pregnant due to rape. Read more »
Way back in 1984, President Ronald Reagan introduced the Mexico City Policy, a policy that would come to be known as the “Global Gag Rule.” The law denied U.S. international family planning funds to any organization that used its own money to provide, discuss, advocate for, or provide referrals to abortion services abroad. The policy even applied in countries where abortion is legal. Read more »
They passed a very similar bill, SB 353, that changed the content only slightly. But the process was still a problem – like the first bill, the new version contains extreme abortion restrictions tacked on to completely unrelated matters. The first one was tacked onto a bill prohibiting the use of sharia law. This one? Tacked onto a bill relating to motorcycle safety. The current bill was introduced in committee on Wednesday without public notice and quickly moved to the floor, where it passed the next day. Now it heads to the state Senate for consideration, where it is expected to pass. Read more »
On Friday, the Texas Senate passed sweeping anti-abortion restrictions, thatunconstitutionally banabortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and will unnecessary require abortion clinics to meet the standards set for hospital style-surgical centers, among other provisions. The bill now awaits Gov. Rick Perry’s signature. Once signed, it will force most of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics to close. This is certainly a sad day for women’s health. Read more »
At 11 years old, I had the privilege to dream up endless possibilities for my future. At 11 years old, I was nose deep in the Harry Potter series, dreamt of being a teacher one day, a news reporter the next, and an author in my spare time. My dreams were not limited but as expansive as my imagination would allow.
This past week, coverage of an 11 year old girl in Chile being forced to carry a pregnancy to term caused by a rape (by her stepfather) has been inducing criticism globally. Abortion in Chile is absolutely illegal even in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life. What has been even more heart-breaking is the fact that she has been praised for her “depth and maturity” in deciding to go through the pregnancy (not that she was allowed any other option or provided any other choice) by Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. Read more »