Repro Wrap: Abortion Access Dwindles as Election Day Looms and Other News

Campaigns and court trials. That in a nutshell sums up this week, the last full week before the 2014 midterm elections take place.

As voters head to the polls, there’s a feeling of trepidation in the air for abortion rights activists. North Dakota is considering a Human Life Amendment, a constitutional rewriting to state life that includes “every stage” of development, which is expected to open the floodgates to lawsuit after lawsuit once it passes. Teddy Wilson at RH RealityCheck talks to two women who discuss how their own choices could have been affected if “personhood” existed in the state at the time and if the right to life “must be protected” no matter what. One woman writes to the local paper about how she would have been forced to keep her baby on life support against her will. Keiko Zoll explains how “personhood” would have made her own becoming a mother impossible.

The Tennessee amendment that could open the state up to a number of new abortion restrictions is considered too close to call, and machines flipping votes and supporters trying to rig the election aren’t helping things at all. Polling place workers are also being accused of handing out biased information on what the amendment does.

While Democrats are trying to woo their own party’s women voters, it turns out that the Republicans are specifically targeting Democratic women voters, too. Whoever wins won’t just be in charge of the Senate, but potentially in charge of a number of state houses, too, and that means even more abortion restrictions in 2015.

Meanwhile, court cases continue to pile up, especially around clinic closures. One Oklahoma judge – an abortion opponent – ruled in favor of a law that shuts down a clinic in Oklahoma that provides half the state’s abortions. An emergency order has been filed with the Oklahoma Supreme court to reverse that. In Indiana a challenge is being heard to the new state law requiring all clinics be held to Ambulatory Surgical Center standards, even if they only offer medication abortion, a bill written specifically to close one clinic and one clinic only in the state. North Carolina’s mandatory ultrasound bill, which has been on hold in the courts for years, is once more up for review.

Both Oklahoma and North Dakota had rulings this week saying that their laws requiring doctors only do FDA protocol for medication abortion — despite the protocol being out of date and no longer a medical best practice — should be upheld. For both states that means that medication abortion is now virtually banned, since the FDA protocol is far more expensive, requires far more medication than necessary and requires multiple trips to a clinic. In North Dakota, that means that an already extremely limited array of options in this one clinic state has dwindled even further. In Iowa, the medication abortion telemed program has been attacked by the state board of health (which is all anti-abortion), and the Des Moines Register is defending it.

In Ohio, as the state moves to shut down the last clinic in Cincinnati, which would bring the state down to just seven clinics, anti-abortion activists are trying to turn a shuttered Toledo clinic into a “memorial to the unborn.” And in Arizona, a legal group is pushing to have a page that discusses abortion as a means of ending a pregnancy removed from a school textbook — for honors biology.

Alabama recently reopened two clinics that had been shuttered, one the only clinic in northern Alabama. Now anti-abortion activists are trying for a second time to shut the clinic down over it’s zoning variance — an argument already used once in court where they lost. I spoke with the owner of the clinic about all of the hoops he had to jump through to move and reopen the Huntsville clinic.

Finally, one last reminder to vote – the fate of many abortion restrictions could literally count on it.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

57 comments

Jim Ven
Jim V7 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA SOMLAI3 years ago

noted

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Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thank you.

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Dennis D.
Past Member 3 years ago

Joseph B. Repeat after me.. The Hyde Amendment..

Also in an abortion no babies are killed as that would be illegal.

I know you have had all this explained to you.. But seriously.. Quit watching fox news.. It just makes you more challenged than a container of geological specimens..

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Christine Stewart

Get out there and VOTE!

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Rosemary Diehl
Rosemary Diehl3 years ago

It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. Really could change the way things seem to be going. Personhood Smersonhood!

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silja salonen
silja salonen3 years ago

Thank you

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Joseph B.
Joseph B3 years ago

Taxpayer funded abortion rights are dwindling, and rightly so!
There should be space on your tax form to personally donate your money to kill babies- You are welcome to do so-
If you want to personally donate, Do so-
Leave us alone that want no part of taxpayer funded death and allow us to decline to give!

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Janet B.
Janet B3 years ago

Thanks

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