Thursday, March 15, 2012

Abortion Rights: Troubling trends as Republicans attack womens’ rights

The Guttmacher Institute (GI) that supports sexual and reproductive health has just released a report on the rights of women to have access to abortion.  GI reports that there has been a seismic shift since 2000 in the number of states hostile to abortion as a result of Republicans gaining control of state legislatures.  “Hostile” states were defined as states with four or more of the following restrictions.  “Middle Ground” states had enacted two or three.  “Supportive” states had enacted one or none. 
  • mandated parental involvement prior to a minor's abortion;
  • required preabortion counseling that is medically inaccurate or misleading;
  • extended waiting period paired with a requirement that counseling be conducted in-person, thus necessitating two trips to the facility;
  • mandated performance of a non–medically indicated ultrasound prior to an abortion;
  • prohibition of Medicaid funding except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest;
  • restriction of abortion coverage in private health insurance plans;
  • medically inappropriate restrictions on the provision of medication abortion;
  • onerous requirements on abortion facilities that are not related to patient safety;
  • unconstitutional ban on abortions prior to fetal viability or limitations on the circumstances under which an abortion can be performed after viability; or
  •  preemptive ban on abortion outright in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned

The number of states hostile to abortion rights has grown substantially since 2000.

Much of this increase in hostility toward abortion has come about just in the last year as conservative Republican legislatures have launched an all out attack on womens’ rights to health care. 

As a result of the attacks on rights of women to reproductive health care by Republicans, a majority of women in the U.S. now live in states hostile to their reproductive rights.

We can expect these attacks to continue and for women to continue to lose civil rights as long as Republicans control state legislatures. It is not enough to win the White House and Congress, we must begin to turn back the conservative Republican assault on women at the state level by regaining control of state legislatures.  

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