Is the South About to Become a Legal Abortion-Free Zone?

If Alabama is successful in following Mississippi’s lead and passes a host of new regulations designed to drive abortion clinics in the state out of business, then we will have officially entered into a new phase in the abortion wars: the creation of legal abortion-free states.

The Alabama House of Representatives just advanced The Women’s Health and Safety Act, a bill that mandates an Alabama-licensed physician be present at every abortion and also requires those doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Hospitals have wide discretion in granting admitting privileges, and the permeation of Catholic-owned and affiliated hospitals has resulted in denial of privileges to practitioners who perform abortion.

It’s this issue — admitting privileges — that is tied up in legal challenges in Mississippi where the state’s only provider fights to stay open. A proposed amendment to the Alabama bill would have prohibited hospitals from that very practice, from denying admitting privileges to doctors solely because they perform abortions. But that amendment was rejected by lawmakers.

The law is a change from current practice where clinics partner with local doctors who have hospital admitting privileges to provide follow-up care. The practice has proven safe, efficient and cost-effective, but anti-abortion legislators hope to change the narrative and argue that these new requirements are there to “empower” women. “This truly is a women’s rights bill,” state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin, a Republican who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement. “It protects the right of a woman having an abortion to have it in a safe and healthy environment.”

Lawmakers have long pursued anti-abortion measures in the name of protecting women, so this rhetoric shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But it does represent a shift, and one that was informed in part by the November 2012 election. Support for abortion rights is at an all-time high and candidates that were openly and aggressively hostile to women’s rights lost badly in November. This fact is clearly not lost on politicians like McClurkin who have stepped up in the party’s re-branding efforts by offering a law that will take away women’s fundamental right to write their own destinies all in the name of advancing women’s rights.

Related articles:

3 Looming Abortion Battles in 2013

Alabama Supreme Court Declares A Fetus Is A Child

Fetal Pain Law Takes Effect

Photo from infowidget via flickr.


Vanessa S.
Vanessa S2 years ago

Does anybody have the statistic on how many of the 41 million induced abortions every year are due to rape? I haven't actually found that yet.

Geri Mellgren-Kerwin

Marianne, trying to explain why men worship their gonads and their body products is impossible probably because the source of it is shrouded in the dark past. I generally connect it to patriarchy, or societies that are centered in maleness. This is the only thing I can see that would lead to overvaluing, virtually worshipping oneself, if a male, and undervaluing femaleness as this country does. Did you ever meet a man who didn't think he had a rocket in his pants, the secret to YOUR eternal happiness? It's downright comical.

Geri Mellgren-Kerwin

Thank you Marianne, I agree that to expect a rape victim to have the child resulting from rape is inhuman.

Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

@Dan O again:

Good Lord, is every word you SAY cherry-picked from anti-choice web sites?

"Rape is never the fault of the child; the guilty party, not an innocent party, should be punished" ...can be plucked from any number of anti-choice sites:
etc. reported on a RWNJ group called "40 Days of Life:"

"40 Days for Life, the group which holds hundreds of protests outside of abortion clinics throughout the country, in “ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments” also says that pregnancies resulting from rape are “extremely rare” and “can be prevented”:

“What about a woman who is pregnant due to rape or incest?”

a. Pregnancy due to rape is extremely rare, and with proper treatment can be prevented.

b. Rape is never the fault of the child; the guilty party, not an innocent party, should be punished.

c. The violence of abortion parallels the violence of rate.

d. Abortion does not bring healing to a rape victim."

When you can't formulate an argument on your own, with your own original thoughts and words, do you really have a point to make at all? Or do you really hold women in such low regard that you fell somebody else’s empty rhetoric is plenty good enough to use against them?

Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

Finishing that thought:

I have never known a rape victim who wanted to be pregnant. Most of them viewed that potential as a kind of contamination equal to or worse than the actual rape.

Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

I agree, Geri: it would be nice. But they can never seem to understand that granting equal human rights to what is basically an undeveloped parasitical organism means reducing the host body (woman) to a food source. The cannot give up the fallacy that the presence of human DNA in a cellular organism equates to the existence of a fully differentiated human being.

I also suspect they secretly worship sperm as something almighty and life-enforcing. They certainly think a woman should have no right to resist or reject one.

I have never been able to understand the emotional value they put on an unwelcome and unwanted ejaculation. Why should a woman be expected to accept inside her own body something they'd scrape off their shoes in horror if some deviant masturbated on them in the subway? Using an unwilling woman instead of his own hand hardly makes the act LESS deviant. And ejaculating into her struggling, resisting body instead of on the floor hardly makes that bio-goo suddenly sacred. Why would any woman willingly bow down to some false sense of value attached to that kind of invasion and abuse of her own DNA?

No man can know what it feels like to be pregnant. Or to give birth. Men can be raped, but they can never, ever, know the fear, revulsion, and horror of realizing that the violation might have left them pregnant, or, which is infinitely worse, that it actually has.

I have never known a rape victim who wanted to be pregnant. Most of them viewed that poten

Geri Mellgren-Kerwin

Dear Marianne C., It would be nice if these anti-choicers were able to accept facts and stop kidding themselves that they "respect the human person." What we have is an example of the hypocrisy that is a way of life with them. When you make a zygote into a human person in your mind and give it rights, you are as far as you can go in denying the personhood of women or the validity of their rights.

Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

Dissecting the rest of Dan O’s dissertation:

“The violence of abortion parallels the violence of rape” -- also comes from

“A child is a child regardless of the circumstances of her conception” – also from, but also appearing as “his conception” on,, and coalitionforlife-com, among others

“No adverse circumstance for one human being changes the nature and worth of another human being” -- first reference is found on, but it appears to be reworded from some site that imagines itself to be the Halls of Shambala. (How does the light shine?)

These are not arguments. They are not facts. They are the sort of bumper sticker logic with which anti-choice advocates slug their letters to the editor.

The most polite description of these slogans is that they are repeated among the anti-choicers in the hope that the general public will begin to accept them as facts. They lack the seed of truth necessary to being even aphorisms. A fact is defined by objectivity and truth, and by having proven by study and observation as reality -- not by pithy, histrionic saws.

Such clichés, with their unoriginal thought and predictable overuse, can never be substitutes for fact, as they are by their existence not required to CONTAIN any facts.

Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

By the way, Dan O, you got your profound bumper sticker statement, "Abortion does not bring healing to the rape victim" from the pro-life site at

The site, despite it's name, does not actually contain many relevant FACTS about abortion. It is made up of bumper sticker logic, catch phrases, and right wing opinion about somebody else's pregnancies.

When you insist on getting your "information," and I use that term in its loosest possible sense, from anti-choice extremist web sites, you are dooming yourself to NEVER find real facts. All you find is more empty rhetoric and disinformation that sounds like it supports your own disinformation. .

Tim C.
Tim C3 years ago