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Abortion

“A Battle for Our Identity”: Energizing the Fight Over the Hyde Amendment

A very important debate has been raging in the Senate over the past couple of weeks — one that could be critical to the fight to over-turn the Hyde Amendment* thus ensuring that all women get access to abortion despite their income or source of insurance.

As you may know, the Senate Anti-Trafficking bill was stalled because the bill contained an abortion restriction that would have kept the women helped by the bill from being able to get abortions. This provision would have extended the Hyde Amendment onto a fund made up solely of fines from offenders — the first time the restriction would have been applied to a fund made-up solely of non-tax-payer dollars.

Several women’s health champions in the Senate, including Senators Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein, took to the Senate floor to decry this restriction. “A bill intended to help women should help women,” Senator Murray stated. Read more »

Tennessee Senate Passes Two New Bills Restricting Abortion

This week Tennessee politicians are voting on two abortion restrictions, HB 977 and HB 1368, that would make it much more difficult for women in the state to get an abortion. Both bills passed the Senate last week and are awaiting votes on the House floor. These laws fit the now familiar trend across the country of legislators that seem determined to pass laws at the expense of the health of the women they were elected to represent.

Cutting off abortion access…

So what would these bills actually do? Well, HB 1368 requires that clinics meet the same licensing requirements as ambulatory surgical centers—a requirement that has to do with the number of water fountains and the width of the clinic’s halls, not patient safety. Medical groups, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose these requirements “because they improperly regulate medical care and do not improve patient safety or quality of care.” Bringing clinics into compliance with these unnecessary requirements costs more than $1 million—most clinics don’t have that kind of money to spend on useless renovations, so many will be forced to close their doors if HB 1368 becomes law, which is exactly what these laws are intended to do. Read more »

Hostile to Women, Hostile to Abortion: the Wage Gap and Abortion Restrictions

Today is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date when the wages of women who work full time all year finally catch up to men’s wages. It’s a day to reflect on polices both good and bad that affect economic justice. At the National Women’s Law Center, we work on a range of issues that affect the economic stability of women and their families, including both equal pay and access to reproductive health care. So we thought it was appropriate to look at the overlap between equal pay and access to abortion. Here’s what we found: Read more »

Montana House Passes Telemedicine Abortion Ban, Imposing Substantial Costs on Women

As if living in a remote area miles from a large city wasn’t enough of a barrier, legislators in the state of Montana are seeking to make abortion even less accessible. In March, the Montana House of Representatives voted in favor of a ban on telemedicine abortions. The bill is currently in the Montana Senate and a vote is expected soon. “We all know what this bill is about,” Representative Elli Hill commented, explaining that although proposed under the guise of health and safety, the ban actually seeks to make abortion less accessible to women in remote areas of the state.

Medication abortions administered through telemedicine are as safe and effective as in-person abortions. With telemedicine, a doctor provides a medication abortion to a patient at a local clinic via a live video conference. Telemedicine increases access to abortion, permitting some women to have an abortion earlier in their pregnancy. This actually increases safety and reduces costs. Although abortion is an extremely safe procedure, the risk of complications and the costs of the procedure do increase with each week of pregnancy. Read more »

Abortion Coverage Ban Would Harm Texas Women

Once again, Texas politicians are trying to make it harder for women to access abortion. Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee will hear testimony regarding HB 3130 which would prohibit health insurance plans sold in the marketplace from covering abortion, except when a woman’s life is in danger or to prevent “irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological or emotional condition.” 

This overly narrow exception ignores the real circumstances women face when deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy. By denying women coverage for abortion, the bill cruelly punishes women by making it harder for them to access this needed health care service and will disproportionately harm lower-income women who may be unable to afford an abortion without insurance coverage.    Read more »

Wisconsin Admitting Privileges Law Ruled Unconstitutional

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 »

Unconstitutional Ohio Bill Would Place Politics Above Women’s Health by Banning Abortions as Early as Six Weeks

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 unconstitutional and would subject the state to years of litigation.   Read more »

Mississippi is Determined to Shut Down the State’s Only Abortion Clinic

Earlier last year, in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Currier, a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked a law that would have shut down Mississippi’s only abortion clinic. Read more »

Abortion Providers Are Not Criminals. You Can Keep Your Handcuffs.

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 »

West Virginia Politicians to Women: We Don’t Care About You or the Constitution

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 »