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 Womens 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.