When HB 2 finally passed the Texas legislature two special sessions in, abortion rights advocates pointed out that the rules for clinics were so onerous it could effectively end legal abortion for vast parts of the state.
They were right.
Just this week, three more clinics have closed in Texas, bringing the number of open clinics down to 20, from 44 in 2011. This week’s closures are especially devastating not just because they were the last clinics in some of the most remote and rural areas of the state, but because by shutting their doors, that also means that these doctors, who had been providing follow up care for those who had attempted to induce their own miscarriages and failed, will not be able to provide that service, either.
These areas, with some of the highest rates of poverty in the state, are literally back in a pre-Roe landscape, where they must find the resources to travel hours, and stay over night, to get an abortion somewhere legal, try to accomplish it on their own illegally, knowing that they will have to turn to a hospital if there is a complication and that they could be punished, or carry a pregnancy to term, often without the prenatal care, financial support or educational support needed to raise that child.
And “pro-life” advocates are calling it a win.
The twice a year 40 Days for Life began again on Ash Wednesday. But Fat Tuesday was a day of sadness for advocates in Kalispell, Mont., who learned that morning that their clinic had been trashed overnight.
Arizona’s House has approved a bill to allow no reason, surprise clinic inspections, a plan that could violate the right to privacy of patients having abortions when the authorities just pop in to see what’s happening. The law will probably get sued when it passes, and they can defend it right after they finish defending this backdoor medication abortion ban.
South Dakota is still trying to find the right combo of new legislation it can pass to somehow make its law that you need to visit a crisis pregnancy center prior to having an abortion magically constitutional. The newest version? Saying that a crisis pregnancy center can’t refer for abortions OR adoption, to claim there is no financial interest in convincing a patient not to abort. CPCs say they can get around this restriction by setting up a separate entity within their business to just counsel so it isn’t associated with the adoption centers they part with. Of course, when Planned Parenthood separates themselves like that, we are told all money is fungible and it doesn’t count.
Missouri is still pursing a 72 hour wait for an abortion, and one of the bill supporters makes it clear that the intent is to punish pregnant people as much as they can if they really decide to go though with the procedure. “Well I think it’s very demeaning to the child. And it’s very inconvenient for the child to be terminated. So if it’s a little inconvenient for the mother, I think that’s in the great balance of things, I think I side with give the child every shot at achieving birth and life.”
Would abortion opponents change their tune and still believe every baby should be given birth to if their white daughters had been impregnated by men of color? That’s a question asked by one Democrat during Alabama’s heated debate over four new abortion restrictions, all of which ended up passing the house this week. Racism also became a big question behind the proposed “gender based abortion” ban in South Dakota, which some lawmakers believed was about racist beliefs about Asian cultures. That bill ended up passing committee anyway, as well.
A new CNN poll shows the majority of Americans oppose abortion in all case or except in certain circumstances. The results aren’t at all surprising. Usually, the “certain circumstances” in which a person doesn’t oppose abortion is “whatever situation I, or someone I care about, is in that makes her need one.”
In the latest news on buffer zones versus free speech rights, a New Jersey clinic that has recently become a hotspot of anti-choice harassment may be getting a buffer zone. The only clinic in North Dakota says they’d love a zone but probably will never be able to get one. A Wisconsin judge upholds the buffer zone that passed in Madison.
Finally, if you have some spare time, you should probably pray for me, since everyone else is.
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