Abortion Information

Here’s a look at 90 of them.

Joseph Silk, David Brumbaugh, Matthew Hill, Mark Chelgren, Justin Humphrey, and Brad Klippert—just six of the many legislators who have introduced anti-abortion bills so far in 2017.

We’re just three months into the new year, and lawmakers—a handful of whom are pictured above—have already proposed 168 anti-abortion bills at the state and federal levels.

Why does this matter? More than four decades ago, Roe v. Wade affirmed a person’s constitutional right to privacy, effectively legalizing abortion nationwide. But lawmakers have continued proposing and passing bills that make abortion—a medical procedure—harder to access.

Yet these anti-abortion legislators persist—in spite of research that shows that countries with the strictest anti-abortion laws actually have some of the highest rates of abortions in the world, and that there’s a correlation between defunding Planned Parenthood and an increase in maternal mortality rate. Overwhelming evidence indicates that smarter, more humane ways to actually lower the abortion rate involve improving healthcare and healthcare access—such as by making contraception and family planning services more available, not less. But in our country, (overwhelmingly male) politicians continue proposing and passing laws that impede access to safe and constitutionally protected medical care.

Here are 90 of the 168 anti-abortion bills that have been proposed so far in 2017.

There’s a bill that says patients have to receive permission to have an abortion from the person who impregnated them.

Oklahoma Representative Justin Humphrey introduced a bill that would prevent people from having abortions until they’ve received official permission to do so from the people who impregnated them.

“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” Humprey said, explaining his bill. “I understand that [women] feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate—what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that, then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant. So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

There’s a bill that requires medical providers to interfere with an abortion if the fetus shows any signs of life.

The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that requires medical professionals to try to resuscitate aborted embryos and fetuses if they show any signs of life—whether the embryo or fetus is viable or not. Right now, doctors only perform these measures on a case-by-case basis when the chance of survival is high. One doctor told CBS that attempting medical interventions at early stages in gestational development is “cruel” to the parents and would inflict unnecessary harm on a fetus or embryo that likely wouldn’t survive anyway.

There are eight bills that force medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains—or otherwise specify how medical providers should dispose of fetal remains.

Doctors already have established protocols for how they sanitarily dispose of medical waste. But these eight bills would require them to treat fetal tissue differently. “Many doctors and medical organizations have said that [these laws] do nothing for any public health purpose,” David Brown, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, previously told SELF. “It’s a way of putting additional pressure on clinics in the hopes that some won’t be able to withstand the pressure and close. It’s one more potential obstacle to them having to keep their doors open.”

There are five bills that allow patients to sue their abortion providers, even decades later.

These bills would allow patients to sue their abortion providers for emotional distress—even years after receiving the procedure. And while some, like Iowa Senator Mark Chelgren, see bills like these as a way to protect people seeking abortions, legal experts say the consequences could be severe. “When you look at it more carefully, it’s a threat to the woman because it creates deterrents for doctors to do this,” Mark Kende, J.D., director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University, told the Associated Press. In other words, the threat of being sued retroactively could scare doctors out of providing abortions at all—which ultimately hurts people who are seeking them.

There are seven bills that ban abortion entirely.

Some of these bills recognize life as beginning at conception, and view abortions at any state of gestational development as murder. Others seek to criminalize medical providers who perform abortions. All seven view abortion as unlawful in some form or fashion, and all would ban the procedure entirely (with select exceptions, depending on the bill).

There are 10 misleadingly named “Heartbeat Bills” that ban abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detectable—usually around the six-week mark.

So-called “Heartbeat Bills” ban abortions from the moment fetal cardiac activity is detectable. This typically happens around the five- or -week mark—before many people even realize they’re pregnant. (Learn more about what it means to be six weeks pregnant here.) Nine of these bills have been introduced at the state level, but Iowa congressman Steve King proposed the first federal six-week abortion ban: the “Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017.”

Other states, like North Dakota and Arkansas, have attempted to pass similar bills in the past—but their efforts were blocked in higher courts for being unconstitutional.

There are 18 bills that ban abortions after 20 weeks, based on the unsubstantiated claim that fetuses can feel pain at this point.

Twenty-week abortion bans are based on the idea that fetuses can feel pain at this stage in development—despite there being no medical evidence to support that reasoning. These bills are similar to laws already in place in 16 states and to two that were blocked for being unconstitutional.

Worth mentioning: Almost 99 percent of abortions occur before the 20-week mark, according to Planned Parenthood. Often, people who seek late-term abortions do so because they’ve discovered serious fetal anomalies that weren’t apparent earlier. “These are often desperately desired pregnancies that have gone wrong,” Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, previously told SELF.

There are 12 bills that ban abortions through dilation and evacuation, the safest and most common way for a woman in her second trimester to have an abortion.

Dilation and evacuation abortions—or D&E abortions—involve two steps. First, a woman’s cervix is dilated. Second, a doctor surgically removes the contents of the patient’s uterus. The American Medical Association recognizes this as the safest way a woman can terminate a pregnancy beyond the 14-week gestational mark. It’s also the most common way for people in their second trimesters to end pregnancies, as D&E is used in 95 percent of second-trimester abortions.

There are 12 bills that require patients to be offered ultrasounds, have ultrasounds, or listen to sonograms before they can have the abortions they’re seeking.

Ten different states have introduced bills that would require patients to jump a series of hoops before they can have the abortions they’re seeking. (Both New Jersey and New York have introduced two.) Some of these bills require people to have ultrasounds, and others require them to listen to sonogram results. Some just require medical providers to offer to perform ultrasounds on people seeking abortions. If passed, all of them would force people to take additional steps to have the abortions they want or need.

There are 16 other bills that make patients undergo counseling or wait a certain period of time before they’re allowed to have abortions.

State legislators have also introduced bills that would require patients to undergo specific kinds of counseling or wait a certain period of time before they can actually have the abortions they’re seeking. Sometimes, these bills result in people having to make more than one appointment, which can be especially difficult for people who live in rural areas and have to drive long distances to get to a medical provider in the first place.

Source: Self


GOP Politician Says Pregnancy from Rape or Incest Is Like 'Beauty from Ashes'


Invoking God, the Oklahoma House of Representatives just passed a bill outlawing abortion in cases of fetal abnormality—with no exception for rape or incest.

Republican politicians frequently have to say dumb and vile things to justify abortion bans that don’t allow exceptions under any circumstances—including pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger. The latest example comes from an Oklahoma state representative, George Faught, who introduced a bill that would ban abortions due to fetal genetic abnormalities or Down syndrome. The bill would make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions under that criteria; those who refuse to comply could have their licenses suspended or revoked and face fines of up to $100,000.

Defending the fact that the ban would have no exceptions, Faught suggested that “rape and incest could be part of God’s will,” according to the Huffington Post. And when Democratic members of the state’s House challenged him, asking him directly if rape was the will of God, he seemed to imply that, since rape was in the Bible, it’s just a natural part of life that women have to deal with.

“If you read the Bible, there’s actually a couple circumstances where that happened, and the Lord uses all circumstances,” Faught said. “I mean, you can go down that path, but it’s a reality, unfortunately.” Regarding incest, he said, “Same answer.”

When Faught added that the line of questioning from the Democrats “doesn’t deal with this bill,” they made clear to him that it does. “You won’t make any exceptions for rape, you won’t make any exceptions for incest in this, and you are proffering divine intervention as the reason why you won’t do that,” Rep. Cory Williams said. “I think it is very important. This body wants to know, myself personally, whether you believe rape and incest are actually the will of God.”

Faught responded by doubling down on his claims that rape and incest are part of God’s grand design, and victims of rape and incest can “use” the experience. “It’s a great question to ask, and, obviously if [rape and incest] happens in someone’s life, it may not be the best thing that ever happened,” he said. “But, so you’re saying that God is not sovereign with every activity that happens in someone’s life and can’t use anything and everything in someone’s life, and I disagree with that.”

 Apparently the floor was moved by this testimony, as the bill passed in the House with 67 votes. In a statement to a local NBC station after the vote, Faught spoke of the “beauty” of pregnancy that results from rape or incest. “Life, no matter how it is conceived, is valuable and something to be protected. Let me be clear, God never approves of rape or incest. However, even in the worst circumstances, God can bring beauty from ashes,” he said.

Even in the worst circumstances, God can bring beauty from ashes

Faught’s statement, and the the bill—which was authored at the request of an anti-abortion group—have been condemned by doctors and healthcare advocates. “This bill is a deeply damaging to reproductive healthcare, as well as the doctor-patient relationship,” the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice said in a statement. “Further, we find it absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate that the bill’s author, George Faught, argued on the House floor that sexual assault is the will of God. Oklahoma women and families deserve better than a politician that uses his personal dogma to explain away violent crimes against women.”

Faught tried to pass a bill like this last year, but it failed after Senate amendments. According to the Guttmacher institute, only one other state—North Dakota—has a law that bans abortion on the basis of fetal abnormalities. Two other states have attempted to institute similar legislation, but federal courts have intervened, temporarily blocking the laws from taking effect; pro-choice advocates say Oklahoma will face similar legal challenges if the bill becomes law.

“It’s interesting that the bill is drawn so that it only impedes access for one group of people, and, frankly, folks who have fetal abnormalities are in desperate situations themselves,” Julie Burkhart, the founder and CEO of one of only three abortion clinics in the state, told a local news outlet. “So it really works to penalize women, their partners, their families for just trying to make good decisions for themselves.”

Indeed, there are many reasons women choose to terminate their pregnancies when they learn the fetus they are carrying has a genetic abnormality. In some instances, the abnormality may be so severe that it will be incompatible with life. It’s also often the case that severe conditions are detected late in pregnancy, so many late-term abortion restrictions already pose hurdles to women in these situations. But no matter the circumstance, bills like the one proposed in Oklahoma tell women that they don’t have the right to decide what’s best for their families and their own bodies—only God and old white men do.

Source: Broadly


The activists were protesting several anti-abortion measures.

On Monday, the Texas Senate considered several abortion-related bills, including Senate Bill 415, a regulation that would effectively ban a safe and common procedure used for second trimester abortions, which anti-choice legislators have taken to calling a “dismemberment abortion ban.” It passed and will now head to the House.

The Senate also inched forward with SB 25 ― a bill that would effectively allow doctors to lie to pregnant women if they detect a fetal anomaly and are concerned their patients might opt for abortion. It will likely head for a final vote on the floor this week.

But in the Senate chambers on Monday, a group of Texas women were having none of it. The activists arrived decked out in full red robes, an homage to characters in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood’s classic (and distressingly relevant) feminist tome.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
 The scene in Texas sent a quiet warning to legislators that women are ready to push back against the recent increase in anti-choice legislation in states across the country. Pictures of the sheroes quickly made the rounds on Twitter with the hashtag #FightBackTX.

It’s not the only recent example of women using clothing to broadcast a message in legislative quarters. Democratic women wore white to hear President Trump’s first address to Congress last month, a nod to the suffragists and a rebuke of misogynistic policies.

Texas senators voted 19-10 on Wednesday afternoon to require women to pay a separate premium if they want their health plan to cover an elective abortion.

State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, chair of the Senate Education Committee, directs a witness during testimony on March 21, 2017.   
State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, chair of the Senate Education Committee, directs a witness during testimony on March 21, 2017. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a measure that would require women to pay a separate premium if they want their health plan to cover an elective abortion.

Under Senate Bill 20, health plans would still be allowed to cover abortions that are deemed medically necessary. The measure does not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

The vote was 19-10. The measure will get a final vote before heading to the House.

“If you go back to the basics of insurance, it’s to cover large, unexpected expenses,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood. “In the case of abortion, you’re electing to have that procedure done.”

The bill is one of a number of abortion restrictions the Senate has approved recently. Earlier this week, the chamber passed Senate Bill 25, which would preventing parents from suing doctors if their baby is born with a birth defect and Senate Bill 415 which would require doctors to make sure a fetus is deceased before performing a certain type of abortion. Last week, Texas senators passed Senate Bill 8, which would  ban what opponents call “partial-birth” abortions and put restrictions on donating fetal tissue.

Critics of SB 20 say Texans should not have to pay for supplemental coverage for abortions. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in a news release that the measure jeopardizes Texans’ health care options and would have a heavy impact on low-income Texans, people of color and young people.

“Having insurance coverage for abortion is important to ensure that every Texan can access the care they need in a timely manner,” Busby said. “It is wrong for the government to place restrictions on private health insurance companies looking to offer a full range of reproductive health services, including abortion.”

But Taylor told senators that his legislation would allow women to have their abortion covered while not forcing other policyholders to pay for it. He argued that people who are anti-abortion should not have to pay for abortions if they don’t believe in them.

“This is giving the people who support pro-choice the choice to buy that coverage separately and leave everyone else out of it,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he was inspired to push the measure because of his daughter’s recent pregnancy. He recently welcomed a new grandson born with Down syndrome and heart problems. When his daughter found out what her baby’s condition would be, he said, she knew she would not have an abortion. Taylor says his daughter’s situation is why he believes women know deep down if they would want to keep or terminate a pregnancy.

But reproductive rights advocates say no one can anticipate needing an abortion and forcing people to pay for it as supplemental coverage is wrong.

And Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Houston, told Taylor that the bill “is just trying to tell business what to do with insurance coverage they want to provide.”

Taylor pointed to the 2010 federal health law as part of his reasoning behind the bill. The Affordable Care Act allows states to choose how to regulate abortion coverage. Twenty-five states have opted to ban abortion coverage through health insurance plans, according to a 2016 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Melissa Conway, director of external relations for Texas Right to Life, said in a news release Taylor’s bill “would protect the freedom of all Texans to abide by their consciences.”

“Texans deserve the right to decide where their insurance and tax dollars go, and they should not be forced to fund the elective abortions of others,” Conway said. “The majority of Texans are pro-life and neither want nor need insurance coverage for elective abortion.”

Source: The Texas Tribune


Opponents say it would let doctors lie to parents-to-be.

Senate Bill 25, which will now be sent to the Texas House, prevents parents from suing their medical provider if their baby is born with disabilities, even if that doctor discovered the condition during routine prenatal testing and failed to inform the parents.

The architects of the so-called “wrongful-birth” bill have argued it would protect children with disabilities and prevent doctors from facing unnecessary lawsuits. “It is unacceptable that doctors can be penalized for embracing the sanctity of life,” Senator Brandon Creighton (R-TX) said in a press release when he introduced the legislation last fall.

But reproductive rights advocates have been relentless in their criticism of the measure, arguing that it would effectively make it lawful for a care provider who is opposed to abortion to avoid prenatal testing, downplay test results or even lie to patients about results if they believe those patients might consider terminating a pregnancy.

“SB 25 would allow doctors to lie to their patients,” Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, the reproductive healthcare advocacy group, told The Huffington Post earlier this month.

“[It] is another thinly veiled attempt to prevent Texans from accessing their constitutional right to abortion,” Busby reiterated Tuesday.

Sen. Creighton has argued that the bill does not let doctors off the hook for negligent behavior, and emphasized that patients can still bring malpractice suits against care providers. He has said reporters and reproductive rights advocates have mischaracterized the nature of the bill, and derided an earlier HuffPost article on the measure as “fake news.”

The final Senate vote on Tuesday split 21-9, largely along party lines. During an earlier period of debate on the Senate floor, Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-TX) expressed concern that the bill was simply a means of chipping away at women’s rights, The Houston Chronicle reports.

“It seems to be all about restricting and further limiting a woman’s right to exercise her choice as to what she’s going to do in the case of serious defects in the fetus, congenital defects in the fetus,” said Sen. Rodriguez.

SB 25 was not the only abortion bill to move quickly through the Texas Senate this week.

On Monday, in front of a gallery that included a handful of activists dressed in costumes from “The Handmaid’s Tale, legislators passed Senate Bill 415, effectively banning dilation and evacuation, a safe and common procedure used in many second trimester abortions except when a woman faces a health emergency.

Source: Huffington Post


A pro-choice protest On International Women’s Day in London.
A pro-choice protest On International Women’s Day in London. ‘It is time for women to be treated as autonomous adults capable of making their own decisions,’ writes Wendy Savage. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft

We congratulate Diana Johnston for introducing her bill (New bill to challenge UK’s Victorian-era abortion law, 14 March) and are delighted it was passed by 172 to 142 votes. As a 10-minute rule bill, it has no chance of becoming law, but it is important in starting the debate about whether, after 50 years, it is time to revisit the 1967 Abortion Act. It is time to treat abortion like any other medical procedure, and control it with regulation and the GMC. It is wrong that three women have been jailed or had a suspended sentence, and that doctors responding to women’s requests may face criminal prosecution. Many people (and even some gynaecologists) do not realise abortion is a criminal offence unless it conforms with the conditions set out in the Act. Up to 80% of people polled believe the woman should make the decision in consultation with her doctor and 90% of a random sample of gynaecologists surveyed in 2015 said that the woman should make the decision to end her pregnancy. It is time for women to be treated as autonomous adults capable of making their own decisions about continuing a pregnancy, a view that the some tabloid newspapers seem incapable of understanding.

Source: The Guardian


Wellington High School students protesting outside Wellington Hospital in support of women wishing to have abortions in 2014.


Wellington High School students protesting outside Wellington Hospital in support of women wishing to have abortions in 2014.

 EDITORIAL: Abortion law in New Zealand seems to be one of those areas where Government thinking is observably out of step with public opinion. Recent polling by Curia, carried out for the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, found majority public support for the legality of abortions in a range of situations. Support was as high as 77 per cent if a pregnant woman was likely to die without an abortion, down to 54 per cent if the woman cannot afford another child and 51 per cent if she simply does not want to be a mother.

These numbers reveal the existing law is archaic and farcical, and that most agree that abortion should be considered a health issue not a criminal one. Abortion is covered by laws that have not been updated for 40 years. They say that two consultants need to agree that the woman’s mental or physical health is at risk or the baby would be seriously disabled before an abortion can be approved.

In most cases, it is merely a rubber-stamping exercise. Of the 13,000 abortions that were performed in New Zealand in 2015, nearly all were approved on mental health grounds (in 2014, that covered 97 per cent of abortions). Does anyone believe that more than 12,000 New Zealand women risked severe mental health outcomes if their pregnancies went full-term?

Bill English and Paula Bennett hold different views on abortion, but his view will prevail for the time being.


Bill English and Paula Bennett hold different views on abortion, but his view will prevail for the time being.

 That said, abortions are sometimes declined. It was reported that 252 “not justified abortion” certificates were issued in 2016. It is a reminder that while our system appears to operate as abortion on demand as long as doctors agree to bend the rules, they still have the authority to deny abortions without giving reasons.

The fact that one in four New Zealand women have had an abortion suggests it has become mainstream, though it is a difficult personal decision that is rarely taken lightly and often at times of considerable distress. Some noted that even the language of the law reflects earlier, less enlightened times. Doctors are routinely referred to as “he” and the abhorrent term “subnormal” is used in a mental health context. This is what Abortions Supervisory Committee chair Dame Linda Holloway meant when she told Parliament last week that parts of the law seem “offensive” to us now. It also uses outdated medical terminology.

The committee’s appearance before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee put the otherwise dormant issue of abortion law under the spotlight. It made it political. For Opposition, there is the happy coincidence of having a conservative Catholic Prime Minister, Bill English, who refuses to back liberalisation and a Deputy Prime Minister and Women’s Affairs Minister, Paula Bennett, who has said she is “pro-choice” but is toeing the party line this time.

Act leader David Seymour identified that the current law is a “charade” from his party’s liberal perspective. But it is a charade we will keep playing for the time being. Despite such pressure, there is little political will for change and it is unlikely English and Bennett will be embarrassed into reversing their public positions on what remains a private and morally subjective area.

Source: Stuff


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