Wednesday November 13, 2013, 5:34 pm
Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a national abortion ban that would chisel away at the constitutional rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade. Now, their Democratic colleagues are striking back with some abortion-related legislation of their own. On Wednesday, a group of pro-choice senators plan to introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, a measure intended to stem the barrage of state-level restrictions on reproductive rights.
Despite the fact that Roe is still technically the law of the land, state legislatures have still managed to attack abortion access from all angles. Ever since the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision gave states the power to regulate abortion to protect the “health of the mother,” anti-choice lawmakers have rushed to enact several different types of restrictions that supposedly achieve this end. Those state laws — which include forced ultrasound requirements, mandatory waiting periods, restrictions on the administration of the abortion pill, and burdensome clinic regulations — have continued to mount. According to the Guttmacher Institute, this strategy peaked in 2011, when lawmakers enacted a record-breaking 92 new abortion restrictions at the state level.
Now, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a group of Democratic lawmakers wants to change that. According to Roll Call, which obtained a copy of the legislation, the new bill would preempt state’s efforts to indirectly restrict abortion by requiring new laws to be medically necessary. The measure emphasizes that new abortion regulations shouldn’t decrease access to abortion services or require doctors to go against their best judgment.
While the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 wouldn’t immediately supersede the existing state restrictions, it would set the stage for court challenges to officially overturn them.
“This assault on essential, constitutionally protected rights has gone on too long,” Blumenthal writes in an op-ed published on the Huffington Post. “We are introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 this week to end it, once and for all. Our bill would stop states from subjecting reproductive health care providers to burdensome requirements that are not applied to medical professionals providing similar services.”
It’s rare for women’s health supporters to go on the offensive. With the notable exception of California, which recently enacted several pieces of legislation to expand access to abortion, women’s health supporters are typically preoccupied with defending themselves against a steady stream of anti-choice attacks. Even in progressive states like New York, it’s proven difficult for pro-choice lawmakers to enact any proactive measures to move the ball forward on reproductive rights. Indeed, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 represents the first piece of national legislation in nearly a decade that is specifically intended to protect — rather than undermine — abortion rights.
Planned Parenthood is applauding the initiative. “As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, we see firsthand the terrible impact that these restrictions have on women — cutting thousands of women off from access to safe and legal abortion, and from basic preventive health care,” the group’s president, Cecile Richards, said in a statement. “This bill would ensure that a woman’s constitutional rights don’t depend on her zip code.”
Wednesday November 13, 2013, 5:47 pm
To carry, birth, and rear a child is one of the most unique choices a woman has to make in HER life. That others, no matter who they may be, should assume it is their choice to make it for some woman is absolutely horrible ! This is especially true since those who decide for the woman to give birth WILL NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CHILD THEMSELVES !!!!!
Thanks Beverly, now we need stand up with the Senators that are speaking to our rights as women. Beverly T is correct it is a unique choice, and uniquely a feminine choice. The irony of demanding women carry a pregnancy to full term and at the same time the House is cutting SNAP.
Wednesday November 13, 2013, 7:29 pm
I've always thought that the government has no business regulating abortion, because it is between a woman and her ability to bear and raise the child, and her conscience. I consider myself pro-choice, could I have an abortion? I don't know, I haven't been in that position, and thankfully now I'm old enough I don't have to worry about it.
I'm also angry that most of the lawmakers who are trying to make these decisions can't bear a child, which makes their opinions on the matter silly.
Thursday November 14, 2013, 2:08 pm
Noted. Thanks, Beverly. Good to see this initiated....about time! I'm sick & tired of this abortion war, since Roe v. Wade passed in 1973. This is about a health issue that is determined by a woman with input by her physician. It is nobody else's business. Lately, I've heard screaming that people don't want to pay for other peoples' birth control/abortion. How would they like it if I didn't want to pay for their medical necessities? Let's start with Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, etc.
Thursday November 14, 2013, 6:21 pm
Karen, Freya, Beverly M I can not send you stars this soon!
And somewhere inside I am DANCING, but also, sadly, cynical about what the UN-Christians will do in response to this.
Religion may have been created out of our ancestors' need to understand the causes of danger in the world (Jared Diamond), but it soon became a tool for those seeking power over others, and is used to terrorize, inflict pain and to kill...based on fairy tales.
These folks are delusional, who insist that they, and only THEY, know (KNOW??!!) what a magical god, who is everywhere. all the time, really cares about something sooo important in the universe as a freaking touchdown, or home run, while people do unimaginably cruel things to one another, often in the name of that very deity, whatever that particular group of people call it!
Thursday November 14, 2013, 6:26 pm
You want to see a Theocracy? Go look at Iran. Go look at Pakistan, where Asia Bibi is on a death sentence, in a barbaric situation...because she drank from a "Muslim" well!
You want to talk about Holy? How about Holy Shit??
Thursday November 14, 2013, 8:26 pm
It always should have been a states rights issue. Up to the state to protect its most vulnerable. Too bad so many people wish to align themselves with the likes of Nazis, slave owners, and those who tried to wipe out the Native Americans.
Friday November 15, 2013, 1:01 am
I had an Abortion, my GRANDMOTHER had an Abortion, my Daughter had an Abortion. When I and my Grandmother had Abortions, they were ILLEGAL and often unsafe. My daughter, thank the Goddess, had the first SAFE AND LEGAL ABORTION in our Family.
Who knows how many of my great-great-great Grandmothers had Abortions?
The book "Ethno-Botany of Washington" by Erna Gunther, lists several plants known by the Native American Women to "start the menses". Obviously, Native American Women knew about Abortion and had Abortions.
Abortion IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY.
That's right, it's A NECESSITY.
When resources are scarce, for any reason....
Abortion is as OLD AS THE HUMAN RACE, and will endure as long as the Human Race endures, whether it is legal, or not. Illegal Abortion KILLS MOTHERS, while with Legal Abortions, Mothers survive to care for their OTHER children...
I had an Abortion, and I am PROUD TO TELL THE WORLD THAT I DID.