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Repro Wrap: Alabama Introduces Every Abortion Restriction it Can Think of and Other News

Repro Wrap: Alabama Introduces Every Abortion Restriction it Can Think of and Other News

We are midway through many states’ legislative sessions, which means that for many red states, the lipservice to concentrating on “economic issues” has been paid and they can move straight to their favorite feat: limiting a person’s rights to abortion and birth control. In no state is this more clear than in Alabama, where five different bills meant to curb the right to legal abortion, and even birth control, have been introduced or reviewed this week.

Alabama state politicians held a hearing for four bills earlier this week, subtly placing the hearings all on the same day, which was also the day that anti-choice groups were planning a rally at the capital. Three of the bills would change the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 48 hours, would force doctors to tell patients who are having an abortion for fetal anomalies that there are perinatal hospice centers to consider first, and would provide even more restrictions on parental consent, including making the parent show up with a birth certificate and limiting what evidence a teen can present during a judicial bypass hearing. The fourth bill would ban abortion from the point in which an embryonic heart tone can be detected, which could be as little as a week after a missed period.

“Heartbeat” bans have yet to be successfully implemented in the country, and every state that has passed one has had it blocked by the courts. But that hasn’t stopped the majority of Alabama politicians on the panel from voting the bill through. But even that restrictive bill wasn’t good enough for one legislator, who introduced a “personhood bill” later that week.

Louisiana activists managed to stop a hearing over emergency regulations that could have shut down all abortion clinics in the state, but some of those regulations are being proposed piecemeal now in the legislature. Oklahoma is moving forward with their own admitting privileges TRAP law as well. Arizona, meanwhile, is mandating “surprise” random clinic inspections, and Iowa is allowing women to have up to a decade to decide that they regret their abortions and want to sue a provider. Ohio clinics have been shuttering, but now state hospitals are less likely to want to provide care as well, leaving many with no place to go.

A Washington high school that was being sued for not being receptive enough to a new pro-life group on campus is now being targeted with graphic anti-abortion protests on their sidewalk. That ought to teach other schools to just say yes to start with.

Why should states ban abortion based on gender? According to one South Dakota lawmaker, the reason is simple: Asian immigrants are in the country and will abort their girl fetuses unless someone stops them. That could have been the most offensive thing we heard this week, but then a Maine blogger uncovered one local politician saying that if a woman has a right to an abortion a man should have the right to rape. “If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

Although health care disparities, contraception access, abortion, sterilization coercion and other reproductive rights issues disproportionately affect women and girls of color, when we discuss those issues, those same voices are often left out of the conversation. Advocate and writer Renee Bracey Sherman has a must read on how the reproductive justice movement has been whitewashed throughout history. When you are done with that, then check out New Jersey activist Lauren Rankin’s take down of anti-choice lies used to feed the “pro-life” movement.

News from the courts have been good this week, as the the courts refuse to hear Arizona’s case for eliminating Planned Parenthood from receiving funding for providing non-abortion related health care services. In ongoing cases, a legal challenge over the Mississippi law requiring abortion clinics have hospital admitting privileges is now on the docket for this summer. Both cases are a reminder of many states’ insistence on passing unconstitutional abortion restrictions, despite the massive amounts of money defending these cases can cost their own taxpayers.

In good news this week, generic emergency contraception has been approved for over the counter sale, without age restrictions. This means that pregnancy can be more easily prevented even after unprotected sex, without the massive $40-$50 price point of Plan B. Also, South Dakota shelved its bill that could have ended all second trimester abortion procedures; Madison, Wis., approved a buffer zone around its reproductive health clinic (which was immediately challenged by anti-abortion protesters); and Indiana has scrapped its plan to make a publicly available list of doctors providing back up care to abortion providers. Now let’s hope that the state employees who have access to the full list don’t “accidentally” leak it to anti-choice advocates.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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2:25AM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

It IS curious that people who pound on the bible so much don't have a clue what it actually says, like the "life begins at first breath" part and even a recipe for how to conduct an abortion and then they reject what little they are capable of comprehending, like sufficient pay for labor, charity for the poor and protecting widows and children

5:50AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

What is it with these sick SOBs - it seems the only time they care about the wellbeing of anything is when it means they can take control of another persons body.
The minute they are out they wont help feed the kid, or give it heat or medical care (despite the bible being unmistakably clear that as the leaders of a community this is their first responsibility), but they are quite wiling to force a woman to let that parasite mature, claiming their religion as backup despite the fact the bible specifically allows abortion in MANY circumstances including unsure parenthood. They then blaspheme the name of Jesus in claiming they are doing it for him.
These people have no interest in right or wrong, or the words of Jesus, they are just power mad uneducated bigots whose sole belief is in the superiority of their opinions over anyone or anything else, even over proven fact (hence their hate of science)
The scariest thing is that these monsters are not content in the west. They know they are losing and they are moving their efforts to the former USSR where they were shielded from the civil rights movement and the sexual revolution, even from the universal right to vote. These same faces that drive the US religious right are driving the anti-gay and anti-feminist freak show in the former eastern block, happily living the high life suckling from the teat of the ethically bankrupt Russian billionaires who made their fortunes through corruption in the fall of the USSR. They are destro

6:56PM PST on Mar 6, 2014

My blood is boiling. Thank you for exposing the monstrous statements and behavior of the lawmakers. Women must work together to throw the monsters out of office. (p, t)

2:31PM PST on Mar 6, 2014

The forebrain of a human child is the last part of the brain to develop; the piece of brain that even receives “pain” doesn’t develop until nearly 6-7 months in and even then the fetus is flooded with suppressive hormones that prevent pain stimuli from being received and chemically inducing a dream-state that persists until after it is shoved through the really narrow, bone-lined birth channel. Considering all that, science places the capacity to feel pain somewhere from 6-7 months gestation, at the extreme earliest, to shortly after birth when the baby begins breathing and those volatile pain and cognizance-suppressive compounds are finally ejected. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonatal_perception

1:58AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

??????????????----------------------------------????????????????????Really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:38PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

Ruth Ann....it's a SMOKESCREEN! The Republicans have NO IDEA how to solve real problems so they act like school-yard bullies, kicking up dust, picking on weaker people and hoping their religiously fanatical constituents will see them as effective.

5:24PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

While the focus is on this sort of idiocy the powers that be are laughing up their sleeve and plotting the next control moves.

2:20PM PST on Mar 4, 2014

Sadly, agree with Charlene. Not sure why a certain demographic has decided that women, the ones that gave birth to all of them, are no longer capable of making their own decisions. Anyone else lost?

10:39PM PST on Mar 3, 2014

It's all about CONTROL.
It always has been.
We know it's _not_ about living human beings.

3:46PM PST on Mar 3, 2014

Noted

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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