It's The 48th Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade And States CAN'T WAIT To Get Up In Your Uterus!
Today is the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I would like to say that, thanks to certain recent electoral victories, things look less bleak than they did last year at this time — and in some ways they do! — but we've got a very, very rightwing, anti-choice Supreme Court to contend with and a lot of states that are scrambling for an opportunity to come up with a case that will get Roe overturned.
But there is some good. Biden is reportedly preparing to revoke Trump's Mexico City Policy rule that bars non-governmental organizations abroad that receive funding from the United States from providing abortions or even referring patients to places where they can get one. That will certainly save some lives. Biden has also said he wants to revoke the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. That would be great, but also difficult even with Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress. It is likely he will undo other Trump rules regarding reproductive rights — like overturning the gag rule preventing organizations that receive Title X funds from performing or referring patients for abortions, restoring federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and restoring the birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Do I personally trust Joe Biden to be great on abortion? No, not so much, because historically, he has not been, and trust has to be earned. Press Secretary Jen Psaki's comments to EWTN regarding the Mexico City Policy were vague and reinforced abortion stigma in a way that is also ... not great.
Well, I think we'll have more to say on the Mexico City Policy in the coming days. I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly. He started his day attending church with his family this morning but I don't have anything more for you on that.
My hope, however, is that he has enough pro-choice people around him that he'll do the right thing with regard to abortion rights. Existence precedes essence and as long as what he does is good, that's fine. Though a little work on the messaging probably wouldn't hurt.
Also good? New Mexico lawmakers are looking to repeal a 1969 law outlawing abortion — to ensure that the right to abortion is preserved for residents of the state even if Roe is overturned federally. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Iowa are doing the opposite — trying to pass a law that will make abortion illegal in the state if Roe is overturned, and in Kansas, lawmakers want to overturn a 2019 state supreme court ruling that abortion is a "fundamental right" under their state constitution.
What we really have to worry about is the very anti-choice Supreme Court and all of the states looking to pass laws barring abortion that could lead to a Supreme Court case that would give them the opportunity to overturn Roe.
Legislators in Montana just introduced four shiny new anti-choice laws including House Bill 167, a "born alive" bill that requires doctors to care for fetuses that are "born alive" during an abortion. There is no mass epidemic of fetuses being "born alive" mid-abortion only to be immediately stabbed in the head by a psychotic doctor, and if there were, existing homicide laws would apply. (There was one psychotic doctor who did that, and he is now in prison for life, without the possibility of parole.) These laws are only put forward to make abortion look extra grizzly and to force pro-choice lawmakers into casting an awkward looking vote, which then allows Republicans to run on "Senator so-and-so loves post-birth abortion."
The other bills include:
• House Bill 140, which would require health care providers to offer pregnant women an ultrasound before an abortion, except in emergency situations.
• House Bill 171, a proposal to restrict access to medication abortions.
• House Bill 136, which would ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation.
House Bill 171 would also require doctors to tell medication abortion patients that their medication abortion can be "reversed" with a dose of progesterone, which is A) not true and B) actually dangerous.
What I would really like, now that we have a majority in Congress, would be a law preventing idiots from making laws based on "science" they made up themselves. That would be nice. But if they do want to continue doing that, then I say we get to counter all of the fracking they want to do by claiming that doing so could disturb the subterranean habitats of the gnomes.
In South Carolina, with an even larger Republican majority than they had last year, lawmakers are getting ready to debate the "South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act," which would outlaw abortion after six weeks — in violation of Roe v. Wade — and charge doctors who fail to listen for a heartbeat or hear one and provide an abortion anyway with a felony, punishable with up to two years in prison. On Thursday, a vote to add an exception for rape and incest to the law failed.
North Dakota legislators are currently pushing House Bill 1313, which would just straight up make it a Class AA felony to provide an abortion, punishable by life in prison without parole.
Kentucky just passed House Bill 2, which would give the state's very anti-choice Attorney General Daniel Cameron the right to regulate abortion clinics. They also passed Senate Bill 9, another "born alive" anti-choice bill.
Legislators in Wyoming have also introduced their own "born alive" bill.
The fact is, even with Roe in place, there are many areas in the country where those who don't have a lot of money or the ability to take several days off of work don't have access to abortion at all. It will be worse if any of these bills makes it to the Supreme Court. That court is one consequence of Donald Trump's presidency that will be with us for a very long time.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse