Republicans may have publicly promised a softer tone when it comes to reproductive rights, but in states across the country the opposite is proving true. First Ohio resurrected their crusade to kill Planned Parenthood funding. Now Wisconsin and Arkansas anti-choicers are insisting legislators push even more restrictions in their respective states.
In Arkansas Republicans are considering a host of new abortion-related restrictions, including a ban on the use of telemedicine, which makes medical abortions more accessible to rural women. Republicans in the state are also looking to introduce their version of a 20 week abortion ban and another that would ban most abortions from being covered through the federal health insurance exchanges created under Obamacare. Last session the state senate passed the restriction but it was tabled by a House committee once it was amended to allow exemptions for rape and incest.
Wisconsin anti-abortion activists had a slew of victories last legislative session and now they are back for more. According to reports, Wisconsin Right to Life will push lawmakers in the state to pass a mandatory ultrasound law, a 20 week abortion ban, a measure that would prevent any state employee from using state health care plans to access abortion care and a bill that would prevent “sex-selection” abortions.
What do these states have in common, besides a rabid anti-choice coalition? They are all controlled by Republicans at every level of the state government which means, despite campaign promises to create economic growth and get state budgets under control, we can expect to see legislative sessions focused on restricting women’s rights and passing legislation that will only create jobs for those attorneys defending these bills in court.
It also means that, despite voters overwhelmingly rejecting the anti-woman platform of the GOP that the party remains beholden to social conservatives at its own peril. The dust may have just settled in the 2012 elections but within a few short months many candidates will begin preparing for the 2014 midterms and voters should too. This last election sent a clear message that legislating against women’s interests is no way to keep a job, but it’s a message that voters will need to reinforce in the next two years. Until it is just no longer tenable for any elected official to claim to be a reasonable, moderate conservative while going along with the agenda of the right’s most extreme elements, these bills will not go away. And if these bills do not go away women and their families have no security that their rights will survive through the next election.
Photo from worldcantwait via flickr.