Tag Archives: abortion regulation
Seventeen children died in yet another school shooting this week. The Republican Party that cares only about children before they are born has done nothing to stop more kids from dying. Instead, their focus on forcing women to birth babies they do not want or cannot care for remains steadfast. Here are five new ways anti-choice zealots are working to control women as they ignore the needs of living, breathing children.
Mississippi abortion clinics might soon be prohibited from providing abortions past 15 weeks gestation. The state already bans abortions past 20 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. This week, the majority-Republican house voted to ban all abortions beyond 15 weeks. The measure garnered some support from Democrats, apparently ever willing to throw women under the bus.
Women who seek abortion clinics or a pregnancy test on Google maps may be diverted to crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) instead. CPCs offer little or no medical care, but do tell women lies about the physical and psychological perils of abortion. Some even lie to women about the services they offer, in an attempt to stall a woman’s abortion. In so doing, they may cause a woman to wait until her second trimester, when abortions become more expensive and more legally restricted.
Georgetown University students recently tested what happens to women who call CPCs seeking help. They found that these centers are often dishonest about their intentions. Rather than using overtly anti-choice language, they use covert tactics to stall women seeking abortions, and to instill fear about the procedure. Yet they offer few or no resources or support for women undertaking the Herculean task of raising a child born from an unplanned pregnancy.
Arizona Wants Women to Justify Their Abortions
In Arizona, the Health and Human Services committee approved Senate Bill 1394 along party lines. The bill would require abortion providers to review a checklist of possible reasons for abortions, allowing the state to gather data on why women seek abortions. While the law does not ban abortions for specific reasons, the process could make women seeking abortions feel threatened—or even create the illusion that a woman can only seek an abortion if the government thinks her reason is good enough.
Tennessee Votes to Force Women to Look at Pre-Abortion Ultrasounds
Abortion: Republican Legislators in the Tennessee House recently approved legislation requiring women to undergo ultrasounds prior to seeking an abortion. The original version of the bill would have banned abortion after a heartbeat can be detected—usually around 6 weeks gestation. In a new version of the law, abortion providers would be required to perform an ultrasound, then share the results with women seeking abortions. Democratic Representative Sherry Jones, in a floor debate, called the measure “emotional abuse.”
Trump Administration Budget Endangers Women
The Trump Administration recently unveiled FY2019 budget could slash programs for women and children. It creates significant additional requirements for low-income people seeking support services, reduces Medicaid funding, and blocks access to preventative care at Planned Parenthood and similar clinics.
May Rupert, Senior Director of Policy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement:
“President Trump’s proposed budget harms women, families, immigrants, low-income people and all others who deserve a government that protects and respects their rights, health and well-being.
“Instead of using this opportunity to propose meaningful investments that would improve the health and well-being of women and families, the Trump administration has created a budget that erects barriers to critical healthcare coverage and services for women.
“This budget does not represent a meaningful starting point for negotiation. Congress must flat-out reject this effort to make it more difficult for women to access abortion and essential services.”
As states across the nation move to constrain women’s abortion rights, U.S. maternal mortality continues to rise. The trend stands in contrast to other nations, which has seen sharp drops in deaths during and after pregnancy.
Republican’s haven’t made a peep about the upswing in maternal mortality. They have, however, moved to increase it by working to slash social safety net programs, remove maternity coverage mandated in the Affordable Care Act, limit access to birth control, and force women to carry to term even pregnancies resulting from rape. Republicans’ stark opposition to any policy that could lower abortion rates or reduce maternal mortality suggests their anti-choice politics have nothing to do with protecting life.
A study that’s gotten little press attention quietly argues that increased access to abortion could save women’s lives. In the midst of a maternity care crisis, the research argues, fewer—not more—abortion regulations could mean the difference between life and death. Republicans continue to attempt to regulate the practice, in spite of data suggesting regulations harm women.
Saving Women’s Lives With Abortion
The study—a doctoral thesis that looked at maternal mortality across the globe—emphasizes that unsafe abortion kills tens of thousands each year. In 2015, more than 300,000 women worldwide died from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
The dissertation’s recommendations include:
Increasing access to knowledge about abortion. When providers understand abortion and the reasons women seek it, they are more likely to offer quality care.
Allowing midwives, not just doctors, to perform abortions. Research suggests that increasing the number of abortion providers can improve outcomes and lower the number of unsafe abortions.
Increasing access to contraceptives.
Improving women’s access to chemical abortions, including the so-called abortion pill.
Educating medical students about abortion laws. Doing so reduces stigma and increases empathy toward women who seek abortions.
Republican Anti-Abortion Measures Can Kill Women
Pro-life sentiments seem only to extend to the fetus—not the woman who carries it, and certainly not the baby after he or she is born. Their anti-abortion maneuvers read like an exact mirror image of recommendations to save women’s lives.
State legislatures have enacted measures to:
Require doctors to provide women with medically inaccurate abortion information.
Limit which providers can perform abortions, and in which contexts.
Decrease access to the abortion pill.
Force women to carry pregnancies to term, even if those pregnancies threaten their lives.
Under a Trump administration, these laws are likely headed to the Supreme Court, where abortion rights face an uncertain future. As men fight over what women can do with their bodies, women’s lives hang in the balance.
Abortion extremists have taken their fight to such extremes that women may now have to report any evidence of a miscarriage. Because most miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she’s pregnant, this means that laws regulating miscarriage could actually criminalize menstruation–in other words, simply experiencing something most women experience now subjects women in states such as Indiana to draconian regulations.
Enter Periods for Pence. The movement is fighting back against extremist legislation by phoning Indiana state legislators with information about their periods. After all, if Republicans think they know better than women’s doctors, shouldn’t women be able to call those same Republicans seeking information about their bodies? The result has been a protest that is both hilarious and profound. To learn more about Periods for Pence and why anti-abortion regulations could affect women who intend never to have an abortion, read ACOL’s piece about the topic here.