House GOP Aborts Dumb Anti-Choice Bill Because Ladies Vote Too, Huh
Today is the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade , which is one of those Supreme Court decisions that you totally know about! In Roe , the Court held that ladies have a constitutional right to have an abortion up until fetal viability, or roughly 24 or 25 weeks of pregnancy, so if you are a pregnant lady and you have been pregnant for fewer than 24 weeks, you may choose to stop being pregnant, and that is your constitutional right.
On Wednesday, we talked about how Congress was planning to celebrate the Roe anniversary by voting to take away ladies' right to have an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and that made us feel all of the annoyed feelings.
But guess what just happened, hours before the vote? House Republicans CANCELED it! In a strange turn of events, the GOP Congressdudes seem to have listened to the GOP Congressladies, who were like, this rape exception is way too stringent, and although we are aggressively anti-choice, even WE do not like it. And that's saying something. It's weird, Republican men are worried for some reason that voting on an anti-choice bill with a really crappy rape exception will hurt their image with women, can you imagine that? Yes! You can imagine it! And it has come true, they DO have a terrible record on women's issues, and canceling this vote doesn't even change that, because they just turned around and voted for the millionth time to ban federal funding for abortion, which they have banned for decades. Whatever! Happy Roe v. Wade day, everyone!
So, although that's awesome news about the vote being canceled, one, we are pretty sure it will be back at some point soon, maybe even worse, with all of the GOP ladies firmly on board, and two, most anti-choice action is actually happening at the state level. Do you remember some conversations we have had about state legislatures, and how 23 are run by Republicans? Those Republican legislatures are overwhelmingly saying "Oh, hell yes!" to restricting reproductive health in all of the ways.
[contextly_sidebar id="o7Vu7B2f3HKGXXxTCAbh0jxP2pQYd7AL"]The Guttmacher Institute, your favorite source of pro-choice data, says this about the general ability of ladies to access reproductive health services as of January 2015:
During the 2014 state legislative session, 15 states enacted 26 new abortion restrictions. Including these new provisions, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.
That is a LOT of restrictions on a medical procedure that is both safe and legal, and more restrictions will be introduced in the upcoming state legislative sessions, which will make this list even worse. States can't outright ban abortion prior to viability, but they can restrict the hell out of it, and they are being super creative about how they are doing it. Here are some examples of how these restrictions are going down:
14 states have introduced or passed laws that require doctors who perform abortions to be affiliated with a local hospital. That sounds easy! Just kidding, it is not easy - these hospitals often refuse to grant privileges to abortion docs, sorry, ladies! It is For Your Own Good. If the Supreme Court takes up an abortion case any time soon, it may be one of the admitting privileges cases. Stay tuned!
42 states restrict later-term, usually after 20 or 24 weeks. But some states are now trying to restrict abortions even earlier, like practically the instant the sperm hits the egg. The Eighth Circuit is considering whether laws from North Dakota and Arkansas, which ban abortion at 6 weeks and 12 weeks, respectively, are constitutional.
24 states have laws to impossibly regulate the physical structure of clinics. These laws are often hilarious, because legislators say something to this effect with a straight face: "we care about the health of the ladies who wish to not be pregnant, and we will show our deep concern by requiring clinics to comply with obnoxious and impossible building codes that we know clinics can't afford. Oh, you have to shut down? Sorry/not sorry." Because nothing shows you care about ladies' health and safety like shutting down a clinic for not having a wide enough hallway or parking lot.
26 states have a waiting period for ladies who are pretty sure right this minute they would like to stop being pregnant. But what ladies would like doesn't really matter here, please take a seat for 24 to 72 hours.
17 states require ladies to be counseled prior to receiving an abortion. This counseling is sometimes required to include information that is A Total Lie, like "there is a link between abortion and breast cancer" (nope) or "having an abortion will make you mentally ill" (nope).
38 states have passed laws requiring teenage girls wishing to obtain abortions to notify or obtain consent from a parent or guardian. Hey, let's also not give teenagers any sex education or access to birth control, and then we'll see what's what! Here's what's what - when teenagers don't have access to info or birth control, they do sex and get pregnant, and then what you've got is a bunch of pregnant teenagers who have limited abortion access AND probably won't finish high school.
18 states have no option for ladies on Medicaid to obtain abortions. Federal law says NOPE to federally-funded abortions in the Medicaid program, but some states use their own money to help low-income ladies on Medicaid who wish to exercise their right to obtain a abortion. And some states don't, too bad, low-income ladies!
Would you like some good news, because this is has all very bad for ladies who would like to be able to make medical decisions about their bodies? Here is some better news. Since 2010, states have enacted 56 pro-choice measures , according to NARAL, which is way less than the 231 anti-choice measures, but we will take it. In 2014, 17 states plus DC enacted 22 pro-choice laws. Some of the 22 laws involve workplace protection for pregnant women, so these are not about abortion access, but NARAL considers them to be pro-choice, and we love this - protecting pregnant women is wonderful, because being pregnant is a choice that is often fabulous to make.
So things are not completely terrible, especially the part about the House canceling their anti-choice vote, hahaha, but depending on which state you live in, ladies, it may or may not be extremely difficult to actually access your constitutional right to a legal abortion. It is unclear when and how this will reach the Supreme Court, but by this time you are perhaps hoping very hard that Justice Anthony Kennedy will be feeling extremely sane when that happens, because he will probably end up being The Decider if the current court decides to take up the issue.
This has been your Happy Roe Day sort-of-comprehensive choicesplainer, but without personhood and contraception, which might appear at a different time or maybe not, and now we are going to go look at internet videos of cats.