The Anti-Choice Onslaught Continues

Since taking control of many state legislatures in 2010 because of the Tea Party movement, Republicans have waged a relentless assault on reproductive rights, passing over 200 bills from 2011 to 2013. Think Progress has a list of some new bills that will only make things worse:

1. Alabama is attempting to ban abortions after just six weeks.

Alabama lawmakers are preparing to hold a hearing on an abortion bill that would ban the procedure after a heartbeat can be detected — which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. So-called “heartbeat” bills are so radical that they divide the anti-choice community. Last year, North Dakota become the first state to pass one, and that measure is currently blocked from taking effect because it violates Roe v. Wade. Proponents of heartbeat bills typically don’t mince words about their desire to prevent women from having abortions. “It’s no secret that I’m against abortion, and that’s why I support the bill,” Rep. Becky Nordgren (R), one of the co-sponsors of Alabama’s bill, noted this week.

2. South Dakota may ban most abortions and threaten doctors with life in prison.

Proposed legislation in South Dakota could end up having a similar effect as a heartbeat bill, threatening to ban abortion after just seven weeks. The bill in question would “prohibit the dismemberment or decapitation of certain living unborn children,” vague language that could end up having far-reaching implications for abortion care in the state. “It looks like it’s trying to ban abortion using language that is completely unfamiliar and very inflammatory,” Elizabeth Nash, the states issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told the Huffington Post. Doctors in violation of the proposed measure could face life in prison

4. Indiana could put abortion doctors at risk for more violence and harassment.

The Indiana legislature has been advancing a measure that would force abortion doctors to make partnerships with other medical professionals who can serve as “back up doctors” in case anything goes wrong during the procedure. But the bill goes one step further — it would also allow the state to publicize the names of those “back up doctors.” Since abortion providers face a considerable amount of threats and harassment, they’re wary of any state legislation that could make them more vulnerable. At least one Republican in the state is refusing to support the legislation for this reason. “It does nothing to improve women’s health. All it will do is target doctors who provide health care for women,” state Sen. Vaneta Becker (R) explained after she voted against the bill earlier this month.

There are also various TRAP laws, designed to make it too expensive and difficult to keep a clinic open. My friend Robin Marty, co-author of Crow After Roe: How “Separate But Equal” Has Become the New Standard In Women’s Health And How We Can Change That, sent me this quote to use in a chapter I’m writing for an upcoming anthology being edited by John Loftus:

“Thanks to their crusade to enforce their own biblical ideology and their stranglehold on a number of legislatures in red states, abortion is becoming legal in name only. Just like the days before Roe, those with money, means and connections will always be able to decide when and if to remain pregnant and have children. Those who are poor, especially people of color, will be cut off from that same right, and forced to remain pregnant and give birth simply because they don’t have financial ability and resources to obtain an abortion if they want one.”

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight to this kind of thing. And I don’t have a lot of faith in the courts to hold the line.

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  • rpjohnston

    Living in Virginia, I’d be remiss to point out (again) that we have a law mandating that any woman seeking an abortion be raped. It’s mildly encouraging that the state struck down its anti gay marriage amendment but there’s far more momentum for gay rights in this country (and state) than women’s rights. I’m not sure even a democratic curbstomp at the polls would make women’s rights a viable plank, but it’s the best shot I can see.

  • iknklast

    Women who are poor won’t necessarily choose to remain pregnant, though. They might seek out a back-alley abortionist. These butchers are one reason people wanted it legalized in the first place!

  • The Texas legislature passing laws along these lines is why I started donating to Planned Parenthood a couple of years ago, both the national and state organizations.

  • nemistenem

    This crap especially pisses me off because my sis-in-law is a “pro-life” fanatic who frequently protests (very loudly I’m told) at abortion clinics, mostly in her home state of AR. She never shuts up about it and our family get-togethers often spiral into ridiculous conversations. And trust me, NOTHING will change her mind, and she likes to crow about just such laws being passed. I am no fan of rabbi shmuley (his “debates” are almost comical in their lack of substantive points), but I do appreciate his Jewish take on the well, Jewish texts that he easily shows have very little connection to how xtians interpret them. There is really nowhere in the bible where god states abortion is immoral. Of course, as many have pointed out, he is technically the biggest abortionist in history with all his killing of pregnant women and because most conceptions (its a baby!) do not actually lead to pregnancy. Too much to expect the blinded by religion crowd to get these points though, I suppose. Deep sigh.

  • felidae

    Why do these assholes, who obviously hate poor people, want more of them to be born?

  • felidae

    Lyrics from a Depression era song Ain’t We Got Fun:

    The rich get richer

    The poor get children

    Ain’t we got fun

  • eric

    I’m not sure even a democratic curbstomp at the polls would make women’s rights a viable plank, but it’s the best shot I can see.

    Depends on how the curbstomp was delivered. Politicians pay attention to the factions which vote in large numbers. Social Security is a third rail in American politics precisely because people over 65 vote in very high numbers. So probably the best way to make women’s rights a viable platform is for 80% -90% of all eligible female voters to show up and vote in the next election.

  • colnago80

    Just another example, as Elizabeth Drew used to say, elections have consequences. Those Democrats in Florida and New Hampshire who voted for Nader because Gore didn’t measure up to their requirements put Roberts and Alito on the SCOTUS.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Why do these assholes, who obviously hate poor people, want more of them to be born?

    If your life has meaning because of those you despise [1], more of them means more meaning for your life.

    [1] A better term, IMHO, than “hate.”

  • M can help you with that.

    @8 —

    Ah, yes, the patented Clownstick approach:

    Politics isn’t for the advancement of human interests; humans are for the advancement of the Democrats. Everyone to the left of Mussolini owes their absolute allegiance to the Democratic Party without condition. Should the Democrats do 50 things wrong and lose an election, if so much as one of those things might be attributed to the Democrats’ failure to appeal to anyone further left than Margaret Thatcher, then the entire results of the election are the moral responsibility of anyone who was unwilling to vote for a center-right candidate and declare their whole-hearted willingness to do so.

    It’s not just on this issue, either. Just as how, in American politics, humanity is for the Democrats rather than Democrats being for humanity, in Middle East politics we see that Israel is not for the Jews so much as the Jews are for (the genocidal right wing of) Israel. Hence: anyone who’s Jewish and not absolutely devoted to perpetual total war against Arabs, Persians and Turks is a “JINO,” just as leftists unwilling to pledge fealty to center-right polticians are “LINOs.” (Cultural Zionists, being both mostly Jewish and mostly leftist, are of course unacceptable on both counts and thus Nazis by definition.)

    In any case, anyone not willing to place their humanity (and every aspect of their identity) second to whatever the current bug up Clownstick’s ass is must thus be personally responsible for all the evils of the world.

  • nrdo

    @ M can help you with that.

    I have to I think we can appreciate the passion behind your rant, but it doesn’t address the fact that in the real world where there are limitations on what can be accomplished (i.e. democracy), supporting harm-mitigation is the rational and ethical course of action.

  • rpjohnston

    @ 11

    “supporting harm-mitigation” mitigated us right up to a choice between a rightwing party and a blatantly evil one. If we mitigate harm in every single election we’ll end up with shit just as surely as banging our arm with a hammer softly will still eventually break it. At some point you have to stop hammering.

    At some point progressive candidates are going to have to become viable, or at LEAST viable enough to get a noticeable fraction of the vote, or the D’s and R’s will just keep sliding right until the whole damn system breaks (and I’m amazed it hasn’t already). It’s time to stop reducing harm and demanding good.

    That said, I confess to hypocrisy, as I voted for Obama instead of Stein in the last election and mostly Democratic otherwise (I did vote for Joe Galdo, Green, for Rep since Connolly was safe).

  • D. C. Sessions

    I’m a big fan of protest votes. When they don’t swing the election in the direction opposite to what I want to accomplish.

  • Robert B.

    nrdo, you’re short-sighted. If the Democrats can never lose an election by swinging right, what kind of “Democrats” will we have in fifty years? Or twenty? And however far they swing, the Republicans have to go further, whether they want to or not (and a lot of them seem happy to.) It’s already happening, actually. If Ronald Reagan tried to run for Congress today he’d be called a RINO. Eisenhower would have to run as a Democrat.

    I’d rather have eight years of a Republican president (Republican SCOTUS appointments included) than eighty years of presidents of two parties who, while different from each other, are both worse even than today’s Democrats. If it goes far enough, they’ll both be worse than today’s Republicans.

  • mikeyb

    The pro-choice movement is one of the most irresponsible so-called social movements in existence. The truth is by and large these people don’t give a damn about these kids once they are born. How many of them fight just as hard to build a society to support these kids once they are born. You guessed it almost none. These same cultural warriors are the same ones trying to destroy the social safety net in which many of these kids will be dependent upon if they are born, food stamps, welfare, etc. At the same time many of them are also apposed to all sorts of birth control as well. No, these kids should be born and grow up in poverty, filth, diminished opportunities, all in the name of appeasing their misplaced notions of conscience and appeasing their imaginary god. These people make me totally sick.

  • mikeyb

    Sorry I meant pro-life !!!!

  • cry4turtles

    There is a third party in this country-the tea party. I suspect not taking them seriously at the voting booth was something they counted on, and one of the several reasons voters paved the way for their stranglehold. It’s why I vote straight Dem.

  • eric

    @10 – what the heck are you talking about? While I did imply that I think all these extra women will swing things the Democrat’s way, my post and idea has absolutely nothing to do with blind obedience to any party.

    Just to make my point completely clear – I think that womens’ rights would be a viable platform element for both parties if 80-90% of eligible female voters showed up at the polls. And it would be a viable platform element for both parties almost regardless of which party those extra voters vote for. Just having that level of representation at the polls would do the trick, the same way having significant representation of retired people at the polls makes politicians on both sides of the aisle pay attention to their interests..

  • colnago80

    Re M @ #10

    Shorter M: Gore wasn’t in favor of throwing Israel under the bus so piss on him..

    By the way, what the fuck does the appointments of Alito and Roberts, neither of whom are Jewish, have to do with Israel?

  • colnago80

    Re Robert B @ #14

    So you would have been perfectly happy with President McCain appointing the replacements for Justice Souter and Justice Stevens. Just what the country needed, two clones of Roberts and Alito. And you would be perfectly happy with President Cruz appointing the replacements for Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kennedy. Get real.

  • freehand

    nemestenum: There is really nowhere in the bible where god states abortion is immoral.


    In fact, while adultery, rape, and talking back to your parents are on the short list of capital crimes in Leviticus, a non-sexual assault on a woman that leads to a miscarriage is not. Yahweh clearly considered it a property crime, not the murder of an innocent (even though it might have been a boy). I believe that traditional Jewish law did not treat a fetus as a person, a baby, until it drew its first breath. The “pro-life” stance is not biblical.

  • freehand

    coinago80 –

    Are you then perfectly happy with a Democratic president that barely pays lip service to the greatest threat facing humanity, the climate crisis? And who has taken the criminal Fascist procedures of Bush and expanded on them? Obama should have pushed for a single payer system; he should have denounced the Bush war crimes; instead, he has made it impossible for a Democratic president who follows him to even call them that. We have pushed acting on GW back another 8 years – a possibly fatal delay.


    If we must be loyal at all costs Democrats, then they have no reason to change.


    In any event, the consequences of our decisions are difficult to determine. Only an idiot can think they are obvious and unarguable. Would Romney have been worse than Obama? Yes, and more dislikeable as well. Would the next president have been worse or better than whom we will get? Who the Hell knows? I do know this – we have not sent a clear message that we need a truly progressive Democratic party. I was going to vote for Stein, and I’m sorry now that I didn’t.

  • colnago80

    Re freehand @ #22

    Am I happy with Obama. Only when I consider the alternative. I’m a lot happier with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan then I am with John Roberts and Sam Alito.

    As for the single payer system, there was not the slightest chance in hell of enacting such a system in today’s environment. It would have been an exercise in futility.

    Should Obama have had his attorney general investigate Bush administration officials for war crimes? Yes. However, consider that, as the Werner Klemperer character in Judgement at Nuremberg says as he’s being sentenced, “today you try us, tomorrow the Russians try you”. In the context of US politics, today Obama would try Bush and Co., tomorrow a Rethuglican president would retaliate by trying Obama and Co. Don’t think so, the Clinton impeachment was payback for Nixon.

    As for sending a message, been there, done that. In the 1968 presidential election, I, along with thousands of Democrats in California refused to vote for Humphrey and we got Nixon. Lesson learned? Uh, uh. Carter, Clinton, and Obama, all non-progressives. The progressives got their heads handed to them (McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis). Things don’t look too much better in 2016 as the potential progressive candidates, Warren and O’Malley probably won’t be able to compete with Hillary funding wise.

    As for action on global climate change, again, not a chance in hell of getting any meaningful legislation passed given the denialism of the Rethuglican party plus the opposition of coal state Democrats.