About one year after the passage of HB 2 in Texas, anti-abortion activists are seeing exactly what they hoped to see. Half of the clinics in the state have already closed, with most of the rest expected to follow in the next two months, and the number of legal abortions being reported has dropped drastically as a result.
One thing everyone can agree on, based on the newest study of abortions in Texas, is getting to a provider is a multi-hundred mile effort. “Researchers… determined that the number of women living in a county more than 200 miles from an abortion facility increased from 10,000 in 2013 to 290,000. In September 2014, that number is expected to rise to 752,000,” reports one news source.
Reported abortions in the state have dropped 13 percent, according to the study, but that isn’t entirely accurate. It shows only those who abort legally, and who do it in the state, versus traveling outside the state to get a termination. The study also notes that the number of later in gestation abortions is rising, a sure sign that people are finding it much more difficult to end a pregnancy as quickly as they would like.
Now, we wait a little longer, and see if there is a resulting surge in the birth rate to accompany this. If not, we know that the abortions are still happening, they’ve just become clandestine affairs.
One business owner in Jackson, Miss., confiscated a number of large, graphic anti-abortion signs placed outside his building. Now, local police are being sued over not stopping him from doing so. Also, anti-abortion activists in Huntsville, Ala., are now claiming the city is breaking zoning rules in order to let the relocating local abortion clinic reopen, and may sue as well.
In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker is pushing to have the state stop enforcing the new birth control mandate that requires no copay contraceptive coverage in insurance plans. Gov. Walker is likely just the first to start this campaign, so it is a good thing that the Administration is already looking for a new way to cover birth control for those whose employers may object to it.
Also in Wisconsin, a judge has clarified that the state’s medication abortion law does not require a doctor to be present while each of the medications in a medicated abortion are ingested, a question that had local abortion providers unsure how to best offer the procedure. Abortion opponents claim that the intention of the law was never in doubt, that accused reproductive rights advocates of engaging in “frivolous lawsuits” and wasting taxpayer’s dollars, without, apparently, the slightest trace of irony.
In other wasting taxpayer dollar legal news, Idaho wants to appeal their 20 week ban, which was blocked in the court as unconstitutional, and Arkansas is still pushing ahead with challenges on its unconstitutional 12 week ban. Both bans directly violate Roe v. Wade, which says that you cannot ban abortion outright prior to viability, which is still around 24 weeks gestation.
Should men get to have a say in whether a person aborts? So says the folks behind this “MENistry.” And a MENistry sounds much like what you will encounter if you read the very, very fine print on this misleading new crisis pregnancy center ad in Chicago subways.
The debate is heating up in Tennessee over a ballot amendment that would allow the state to put more restrictions on abortion. Now the fight is trickling down into local races and could have a huge impact on the fall out from the midterms for the state. There are also national implications on abortion rights for everyone, as ThinkProgress explains.
In New Orleans, a week long conference of some of the most extreme anti-abortion protesters ever has been wrecking havoc on the area, where clinics, churches and even daycares are seeing their services interrupted by protests, street preaching, graphic signs and calls for redemption. Meanwhile, the city accidentally gave the group a letter of commendation for their work. I’ll explain more about Operation Save America, who they are, and their history in the movement this weekend.
Finally, in good news, it has been a year now since North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory traded women’s rights away for support from the far right wing, and he brought a plate of cookies to activists in exchange for supporting a bill that was meant to close all the clinics in the state. Happy anniversary, and thank goodness there are still no new regulations to be seen.
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