Abortion

U.S. Passed 47 New Anti-Abortion Laws in 2015

Already these new measures are being challenged-and blocked-by the courts.

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Chapendra/Flickr

In 2015, U.S. states introduced upwards of 350 anti-abortion bills and passed 47 of them, according to a report from the Center for Reproductive Rights.* This is down somewhat from 2013, but an increase over the number of measures passed in 2014.

"Not content with trotting out the same old restrictions on safe and legal abortion, politicians [in 2015] introduced new and increasingly troubling ways to come between women and their trusted health care providers," said Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup. 

Molly Redden at The Guardian details some of these recent anti-abortion trends

In a break from previous years, the laws most heavily favored by abortion foes in 2015 pose direct barriers to women seeking abortions. Earlier laws were aimed at causing abortion clinics to close. This year, two states, Arkansas and Tennessee, passed laws that force women wanting an abortion to make two in-person trips to the abortion clinic instead of one. The first trip, which must take place two full days before the second, is for anti-abortion counseling. Florida passed a similar, 24-hour waiting period that is the subject of a court fight. And North Carolina and Oklahoma established a 72-hour waiting period between a woman's first call to an abortion clinic and her appointment.

Other popular laws restrict certain methods of abortion with little to no supportive evidence from mainstream medical groups. One of these is a model law appearing to criminalize a procedure commonly used when a woman is more than 12 weeks pregnant. Another narrows the window of time in which women can use medication to end their abortions – a more private, less expensive option that has made abortion widely available to many rural women. A bill passed in Arkansas even suggests to women that they can reverse an abortion performed with medication, an assertion which is not backed up by any credible evidence.

Already these new measures are being challenged—and blocked—by the courts. 

Another 2015 trend was legislation to prohibit private health insurers from offering abortion coverage and/or bar state health-insurance exchanges from including plans with such coverage. And jumping on the human-trafficking-awareness bandwagon, a Texas measure now requires all staff at abortion clinics (and no other types of medical facilities) to take a training course on how to spot sex-trafficking victims. 

U.S. legislators last year also introduced hundreds of measures designed to roll back abortion restrictions or otherwise bolster reproductive freedom—although very few of these measures were passed. Brights spots include a successful Oregon measure allowing pharmacists to provide birth control pills and patches without a prescription; an Illinois law allowing advanced-practice nurses to write prescriptions for oral contraception; and a New York measure (still awaiting the governor's signature) ending the practice of shackling pregnant prisoners while they're in labor.  

Other "pro-choice" measures touted by the Center for Reproductive Rights, however, attempted to sacrifice religious freedom at the alter of contraception and abortion access. California passed a bill requiring religiously based pregnancy-counseling centers to offer information about abortion, and several states introduced (but failed to pass) legislation that would require all employers, including those with religious objections, to offer employee health-care benefits that include the full spectrum of contraception coverage. 

* The Center for Reproductive Rights says "nearly 400" measures introduced, but it's counting at least 20 measures to defund or end state Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood, which I wouldn't count as "anti abortion" bills per se, even if they're mostly motivated by abortion animus. 

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  1. Should have saved this one for tomorrow so Reason could end 2015 with a bang.

    1. I think you did something, and seeable it was.

  2. Would any of these have prevented Kermit Gosnell? If they would have, than they are worth it. The pro-abortion crowd seems to ignore women’s health to maintain the purity in their ideology just as much as the pro-life crowd sometimes.

    1. Then*

    2. Would any laws have prevented someone who broke already-existing laws? Wow great question, really makes you think.

        1. You two look so cute together.

      1. More and strictier state inspections and a functioning regulatory system would have prevented it.

        1. On how many issues are you pro-state inspections and a robust regulatory system?

        2. We must support the sanctity of back alley abortions or else we’ll regress to the bad old days of back alley abortions!

  3. Finally, a chance to settle the abortion question for libertarians. GO!

    1. Deep dish sucks, therefore abortion should be highly regulated, but mostly legal in 57 states.

  4. by the courts

    This just in, ENB wants dictatorial powers for a certain few. /not very serious

  5. This time around, the legislation is a little more detailed, providing a graphic definition for “dismemberment abortion.” The term apparently refers to “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off.”

    So first they want to make it illegal to dilate and extract the fetus intact, and now they complain about the “dismemberment.” Yawn.

  6. ENB, is that you in the picture?

    1. No, a random girl with a creative commons license on her Flickr photos.

  7. What does a photo of a redhead attempting to hide hide their gingerness have to do with abortion?

    Was one of the proposed laws to outlaw ginger reproduction? Was there a law that forced redheaded couples into abortion?

    1. Kill the ginger babies!

    2. Just like a fetus, gingers have no soul.

  8. Many of those “new anti-abortion” laws were bans on elective abortions after 20 weeks. A move in the right direction in my opinion.

      1. Arizona, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia according to the linked pdf. Idaho and North Dakota also mentioned defending those laws in court.

  9. What I don’t understand is why some women wait so long to get an abortion that the fetus needs to be pulled apart to be removed. Isn’t it so much safer for all involved if it’s done fairly early?

    Assholes please note: I believe women have the right to abort whenever they please, I’m not saying they can’t or shouldn’t ever.

    1. Too late, I have already labeled you a cosmoyokel.

      1. Cosmoyokel?

        Sounds like a Soviet Space Peasant.

        1. That’s just what a cosmoyokel would say.

        2. Me and my buddies Jethro and Billy Bob like to get us some fancy umbrella drinks and Chardonnay because we hit the tractor pull.

          1. Because, before, whatever.

      2. Well, guilty as charged on that.

    2. You don’t have to wait that long to get a D&E, and there are plenty of reasons why you would, e.g., you just discovered a fetal abnormality, or you just found out you had cancer, or it took you more than a couple weeks to save the money. And D&Es; are far safer than giving birth.

      1. I can see if a health problem comes up late-term, but that’s about the only case where I could see waiting more than a month even.

        I also don’t see why there can’t be more early-term purgative drugs available. Well, I do, but you get the point.

        1. Currently medical abortions (i.e., purgative drugs) are only available during the first eight weeks, which is barely enough time to know you’re pregnant (the clock starts two weeks before you actually conceive, so you will only have missed one period, maybe, and that will only have just happened two weeks ago when you hit eight weeks). If you know at eight weeks and wait a month, you’re already on the doorstop of the second trimester. D&E is not all that “late-term.”

          1. D&E is not all that “late-term.”

            I believe they are like a one-hour procedure. Third trimester abortions is a longer process (a few days, I think).

            1. I meant to add that they are second-trimester procedure.

          2. OK, I guess I’m more mystified by women waiting until the seventh or eighth month when it becomes a pretty major procedure.

            Personally it’s rather disgusting to wait so long, but it ain’t my body.

      2. Yes and shooting my 2 year old would be hell of a lot cheaper than raising him and putting him through college.

        The fact the D&Es; may be safer than giving birth (I am not necessarily conceding the point, but even if it is true) is a non-sequitor.

        1. It’s not a non sequitur to Sparky’s comment wondering why women wait so long when terminating earlier would be safer. No one wonders why women wait all the way until delivery when that’s more dangerous. Well, no one except me at least.

          1. No one wonders why women wait all the way until delivery when that’s more dangerous. Well, no one except me at least.

            Because you are a misanthropist bitch. May you choke on your hatred…

  10. “U.S. legislators last year also introduced hundreds of measures designed to roll back abortion restrictions or otherwise bolster reproductive freedom…[inlulding] a New York measure (still awaiting the governor’s signature) ending the practice of shackling pregnant prisoners while they’re in labor.”

    Is this what you’re referring to? It seems the governor signed the bill last week:

    “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation relating to the restraint of pregnant inmates.
    The bill (A.6430-A/S.983-A) prohibits the use of restraints during the transport of all pregnant inmates
    at State and local correctional facilities, and within eight weeks after the delivery or pregnancy
    outcome, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances.
    “These common sense reforms strike the right balance that protect the health and dignity of a
    pregnant inmate, while also addressing public safety concerns,” Governor Cuomo said. “This
    legislation has made New York’s criminal justice system fairer and stronger and I thank the sponsors
    and advocates who worked so hard to get it passed.”

    “While current law prohibits the use of restraints on an inmate about to give birth, it does not address
    the use of restraints on pregnant inmates prior to or after childbirth or pregnancy outcome.”

    1. And it appears from this list that Catholic Charities of Buffalo and Catholic Charities of Orange County supported the anti-shackling bill.

      And this article shows that the California Catholic Conference supported an anti-shackling bill in California five years ago.

      Who knew that Catholic groups wanted to “bolster reproductive freedom?”

  11. Ok here goes:
    Contraception (not the same as abortion, obvious I know, but it seems i have to clarify):
    Condoms:
    Cheap. Generally speaking ANYONE can buy a box of rubbers. As far as I know there are no legal restrictions due to age or whatever. They are also pretty damn good at preventing STDs AND pregnancy.

    Birth control pills:
    Feminists like to argue that insurance should HAVE to covert birth control pills like with men getting ED drugs. 1) see number above re: condoms. 2) ED is a diagnosable medical problem. Being fertile is not. Second, I can’t get my testosterone without a prescription. And my low T is ALSO a diagnosable medical problem. Why should a women be able to get estrogen or progesterone (that is what birth control pills are!) without a script if I have to get a script for my T? I thought women wanted equality? 3) Generally insurance (even Catholic charities et al.) pay for bc pills if it is for a diagnosable medical problem.

    IUDs: They are invasive. Should they need a prescription? From a medical ethical standpoint, the same as any other similarly invasive device. Should insurance carriers be forced to cover them? See BC pills above. And IUDs are not generally prescribed for anything other contraception. And of course, See Condoms above.

    1. ABORTION:
      I know we all won’t agree. But from a LEGAL standpoint, can’t we hit the margins to try to maximize liberty for ALL involved? Let say before a certain time, no legal restrictions (use plan B, or whatever) (Say first trimester). After a certain time, ONLY if the life of the mother is threatened (say third trimester). Then lets restrict the haggling to the middle ground. Of course, the states could be empowered to regulate it during the second trimester based on each individual state.

    2. They are also pretty damn good at preventing STDs AND pregnancy

      Condoms are terrible at preventing pregnancy.

      IUDs: They are invasive. Should they need a prescription?

      You need a medical professional to insert them, making a prescription kind of irrelevant.

      1. From what I have been able to find, condoms have a perfect use failure rate of 2%. The “Pill” has a perfect use failure rate of 0.3%. However, in the few minutes I have here at work, I haven’t really been able to dive into the details of these stats. (Incidentally, the failure rate of unprotected intercourse with full ejaculation inside is 85%, so I am not really sure how they came to these numbers.) On its surface however, I don’t see that a 2% failure rate should be considered terrible. And condoms really are the best choice (obviously other than abstinence) in terms of preventing the spread of STDs.

      2. Condoms are terrible at preventing pregnancy.

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that line.

      3. Condoms are terrible at preventing pregnancy.

        Richard Belzer on Reagan’s teen pregnancy programs,,, “Suck more dick!”

  12. this is a great time to be a guy.

    The women are doing all the work on making sex cheap and easy.

  13. You think this is bad?

    Many states have laws saying you can’t drink beer on the beach. And this oppressive infringement of a basic human right has been in place for *decades*

    Think about that while you’re having your next abortion.

  14. In a break from previous years, the laws most heavily favored by abortion foes in 2015 pose direct barriers to women seeking abortions. Earlier laws were aimed at causing abortion clinics to close. This year, two states, Arkansas and Tennessee, passed laws that force women wanting an abortion to make two in-person trips to the abortion clinic instead of one. The first trip, which must take place two full days before the second, is for anti-abortion counseling. Florida passed a similar, 24-hour waiting period that is the subject of a court fight. And North Carolina and Oklahoma established a 72-hour waiting period between a woman’s first call to an abortion clinic and her appointment

    How is making someone wait 1 to 3 days ‘anti’? These laws don’t prevent anyone who actually wants an abortion from getting one, it’s just requiring you to be sure… California’s waiting period for exercising a constitutional right still holds up, doesn’t it?

    1. California’s waiting period for exercising a constitutional right still holds up, doesn’t it?

      Sure, but is that a byproduct of liberty that waiting periods for guns are upheld?

  15. Has anyone here followed — more importantly, does anyone understand — the current legal basis for abortion rights? I only know about Roe v. Wade. In that case, the principle on which the case turned was privacy: The Justices reminded us that there was a whole class of potentially objectionable — even disgusting or horrifying — things that people could expect to do within a bubble of personal privacy, which the government did not have the authority to pierce, abortion being one such activity. I am then surprised, not to have seen Roe be used since then, in the service of, for instance, gay sex, drug use, and a whole host of other things typically done “in private” that some people want to prohibit or punish. Since Roe has NOT served as precedent for a broad dismantling of authoritarian policies in the name of protecting personal privacy, one might think that there really WERE a special “right to an abortion,” rather than a right to privacy, under which abortions could be pursued and performed. So have subsequent decisions defined and upheld THAT right in particular? If privacy is still the basis for the right to an abortion, then why are supporters so public about it? It would seem that all bets would be off, in terms of enforcement, once it became known that so-and-so were considering or had had an abortion. Such a thing wouldn’t be the case with rights that we can exercise in public, such as free speech or association, for example.

  16. I have to wonder what it is about the courts taking decisions away from the people, about things like abortion and homosexual marriage, that is so attractive to supposed libertarians.
    Seems like a complete contradiction to the philosophy.
    Or are we to believe that the courts are the guardians of libertarianism?

    1. The absolute, inalienable right of a woman to control her own body “privately” is the same as her inalienable right to protect her own dignity. This must be given absolute priority “for a time” like 11-weeks like done by the FIRST constitutional gestation regulation you will all learn of in a few months or Arkansas Act 301.

      1. See Curtis J. Neeley Jr., Petitioner v. Louis Jerry Edwards, et. al., (15-7059)
        in HTML to explain what SCOTUS will do at http://human-dignity-us.org
        It also explains WHY the other two momentous just had to be done.

  17. I still contend that a woman has a “right to removal” but a practice that intends not only to remove, but eliminate the fetus is absurd. Remove the fetus without injury, if the anti-abortion people really do believe in their cause they will fund a way to deal with the fetus post-removal. This is what we should be working towards.

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