It’s almost an unbelievable figure – 916. That’s the amount of legislation that Republicans introduced from January to April, trying to regulate a woman’s reproductive system. It’s absolutely stunning!
This information comes from a report by The Guttmacher Institute, and it finds that 49 states have contributed to this number with various bills geared towards regulating abortions and a woman’s right to choose. The report says that in 15 states, the following measures became law:
- expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it more onerous than that in any other state, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to obtain counseling from a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;
- expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;
- require the health departments in Utah and Virginia to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics;
- revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;
- limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and
- revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.
The report continues;
In addition to these laws, more than 120 other bills have been approved by at least one chamber of the legislature, and some interesting trends are emerging. As a whole, the proposals introduced this year are more hostile to abortion rights than in the past: 56% of the bills introduced so far this year seek to restrict abortion access, compared with 38% last year. Three topics—insurance coverage of abortion, restriction of abortion after a specific point in gestation and ultrasound requirements—are topping the agenda in several states. At the same time, legislators are proposing little in the way of proactive initiatives aimed at expanding access to reproductive health –related services; this stands in sharp contrast to recent years when a range of initiatives to promote comprehensive sex education, permit expedited STI treatment for patients’ partners and ensure insurance coverage of contraception were adopted.
Four months, 916 bills introduced. Sounds like a new record is about to be set. Whatever happened to Roe v. Wade? You know, the 1973 decision by the Supreme Court that gives women the right under the 14th amendment of the Constitution to have a choice? The law that has guided this issue for the last four decades.
Why is Roe v. Wade now a mute issue?