The big story for this week has been the alleged shift of Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, best known for her 14 hour long filibuster attempt to block a Texas bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks post-conception and enforce regulations meant to close all but five clinics in the state.
A Dallas Morning News interview has Davis saying that she would have been okay with a 20 week ban on its own, as long as it had adequate protections for those who might have extenuating health circumstances or other reasons that she and her doctor believe she needs the procedure.
Both Davis opponents and some supporters are claiming that the statement is a pivot on the stance she took during the bill debate and filibuster. In actuality, though, it wasn’t any different from what she had said throughout the debate. What they seem to be missing is that there isn’t a change at all. Her adamant opposition to the bill wasn’t just to the 20 week ban, which she thought was too extreme as written, but also to its inevitable goal of closing most of the clinics in the state.
That’s just what abortion opponents wanted, and exactly why they rolled the regulations into one bill rather than two separate measures. Any opposition to closings the clinics could be framed as opposing the 20 week bill, too, a limit that, although unconstitutional, was highly popular with much of the state. The two were wrapped together to us the “why do you support later abortions” argument to muddy the more extreme goal to close the vast majority of abortion providers in Texas.
Now, it looks like their rhetorical gambit has been effective.
A clinic that provided a second trimester abortion to a Chicago woman who died of complications has settled a wrongful death lawsuit, but that’s not stopping anti-choice activists in the state from pushing for medically unnecessary clinic regulations in the wake of her death. In Iowa, they want to give a pregnant person 10 years to be able to sue a practitioner if she decides she regrets the procedure. In Oklahoma, a new bill on medication abortion limitations and another on requiring admitting privileges for abortion clinics are both on deck.
A South Dakota bill meant to ban “D&E abortions,” the most common form of abortion starting at 14 weeks, has been introduced, calling the procedure “dismemberment of a live fetus.” They are also considering a ban on “sex selection” abortion, of which there is no evidence of being practiced in the state, but there are no clinics offering abortion after the point where sex could be determined. And a doctor who claimed he saw “weekly” complications from abortions has now had his claims officially debunked by the local hospital.
Missouri is once more expanding “conscience rights” for medical professionals, which many worry could make getting a birth control prescription filled a major effort.
Kansas wants to tighten informed consent, which you would think they would have worked into their massive omnibus bill from last year.
Getting into a clinic has become more and more difficult, as these experiences from escorts tell us. Unfortunately, the solution of adding clinic buffer zones may not pan out as an option, as so called “sidewalk counselors” sue the city of Portland, Maine over their newly enacted zone. The gauntlet of people surrounding some clinics could get younger, too, as one Christian-based Girl Scout knock off offers “Respect Life” badges for girls as young as 5 for praying at a clinic.
In good news, Vermont is taking antiquated abortion laws off the books, and Alaska’s change on what constitutes a medically necessary abortion in order to have it covered by Medicaid has been blocked by the courts. Meanwhile, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic is no longer in danger of being closed over lack of admitting privileges, as a hospital has agreed to officially offer them. The down side? That makes it look like the medically unnecessary rule isn’t so totally unreasonable or unattainable, which could have serious repercussions on other states that have passed the same law.
Are the clinic closures happening in Ohio political? Of course they are. Even worse, they will continue to happen regardless of the lack of medical reasons behind them. In Idaho, one city is trying to understand why their abortion rate is increasing when the rest of the country’s rate is decreasing. The likely culprit? People who would normally go to Utah are coming there instead to avoid the 3 day waiting period.
Finally, today we have learned that abortion will cause women to abuse future children, according to one crisis pregnancy center in the U.K., and that likely presidential contender Mike Huckabee may dislike the “Uncle Sugar” birth control mandate, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think our sex drive isn’t a gift from God.
Photo credit: Wendy Davis for Texas