Repro Wrap: Everyone Hates National Right to Life (Even Abortion Opponents) and Other News
Last weekend, the anti-abortion movement broke up with itself, and it was a little bit wonderful. The gist? Georgia Right to Life, the National Right to Life Committee state affiliate that had been a member since even before the Roe v. Wade decision, had refused to support the national organization’s 20 week abortion ban push, because it allowed an exception in the case of rape or incest. On Saturday, they paid the price for being anti-exception, when a newly launched fledgeling group called Georgia Life Alliance stole their affiliation, becoming the new state branch of the NRLC.
To be clear, all of these groups want abortion eliminated under all circumstances. National Right to Life Committee, if it had a magic wand it could wave, would be just as happy to grant legal rights to fertilized eggs and send pregnant people back into the back alleys as Georgia Right to Life’s members would. But they know that that step is unattainable at this moment, and instead are focusing on piling on as many restrictions as possible that will currently stand up to legal scrutiny. And Georgia Right to Life, to them, was stirring the pot.
The Georgia Life Alliance, on the other hand, has already promised obedience. “[W]e will work diligently to support the goals and objectives of the NRLC while also advancing the cause for life in the State of Georgia,” the group pledged in a press release after the affiliation battle. They will also provide endorsements for slightly less out of the mainstream candidates, in the hopes of avoiding a 2012 Todd Akin moment. That’s what happens when your new “pro-life” group is pulled together by conservative political pundit Erick Erickson.
So has the anti-abortion movement suffered a massive schism, and will they pull together enough to continue their fight against the right to terminate a pregnancy? It would be nice, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Yes, the “personhood” wing is very, very angry. But in the end, they all still want the exact same thing, they just can’t agree on how to get there.
In other news, this week marks the one year anniversary of the opening of South Wind Women’s Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, and the clinic announced that they have assisted about 1500 patients with their reproductive health care needs since they opened their doors. Abortions themselves in the state of Kansas continue to decline slightly, meaning that the clinic did not increase the number of abortions performed, but simply allowed more people a closer option to obtain a termination. Meanwhile, GOP leaders are “following the lead” of Kansans for Life, the state’s NRLC chapter, and blocking a heartbeat abortion ban from getting to the floor. Could Kansas be the next state where the anti-abortion movement will schism like Georgia’s did?
The Alabama legislature approved doubling the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 48 hours, making it that much more difficult for a pregnant person to obtain a termination. In other worrisome Alabama news, the law stating that all abortion providers must have local admitting privileges, which had been blocked, will now go to trial.
The Louisiana house has voted on its own TRAP bill with admitting privileges and medically unnecessary and expensive clinic regulations, so the bill will now move to the senate, and a similar bill has passed an Oklahoma house committee. Each bill would shut down all but one or two clinics in the state. And, speaking of one clinic in a state, Mississippi has passed a 20 week gestation (18 weeks post fertilization) abortion ban, which their governor can’t wait to sign.
As was expected, the 5th circuit federal court declared that the Texas bill that is closing almost every clinic in the state is actually constitutional and not an undue burden to pregnant people, because abortion is still legal even if it isn’t accessible to most of the pregnant people in the state. Now, clinic owners are trying a new lawsuit that states that requiring the clinics to rebuild as ambulatory surgical centers is a violation. Here’s hoping this attempt at softening the law fairs better.
In good news this week, the governor of West Virginia vetoed the state’s new 20 week abortion ban, a move that left abortion opponents across the country fuming as lose their “a Democratic leaning state passed it!” talking point. Also, Wisconsin legislators killed off the push to create “Choose Life” license plates that would fund crisis pregnancy centers. The surprising part? It was the state’s Republican legislators who did it.
Finally, Rennie Gibbs, who was jailed for giving birth to a stillborn baby, which the state claimed occurred because she used cocaine, has had the charges dropped in the “depraved heart murder“ case that has haunted her since she was 16-years-old. Sadly, prosecution claims it will consider still filing manslaughter charges against her later this year.
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