Abortion Rights News: USSC Let's Stand Oklahoma State Court Ban On Mandatory Ultrasounds & Abortion Pills
1. After many years playing defense on abortion rights, advocates seeking to protect women’s health options launched a new offensive strategy on Capitol Hill. The first initiative is the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and in the House by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
WHPA is designed “to protect a woman’s right to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services.
If passed, the WHPA would pit the federal government against states rights advocates and new laws “that fail to protect women’s health and intrude upon personal decision-making,” according to its sponsors. Asserting that “a woman’s constitutional rights should not depend on her zip code,” the bill “promotes and protects a woman’s individual constitutional rights, no matter where she lives.”
2. In a second action, women’s reproductive health professionals around the country have launched All Above All, dedicated to educating members of Congress and their staff on the importance of public funding of abortion care for low-income women.
All Above All is supported by 28 organizations throughout America and intends to lift bans on public funding for abortion as blocked by the Hyde Amendment.
Organizers describe the campaign as a “bold, national, multi-year effort to bring together Millennials, people of color and groups from around the progressive universe to build the political power and will to lift these bans on coverage.”
WPHA does not address funding bans, writes RH Reality Check. The reality is that passing WHPA tomorrow would still leave the option unavailable to America’s poorest women. Removing the Hyde Amendment is a long-term goal that will take persistence and countless hours of dedicated efforts.
3. This week’s New York Magazine profiles the real life stories of 26 women — in honor of 26 Republican legislature states that have passed over 111 provisions that restrict abortion access. Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, “perhaps none seems further from being resolves, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion” writes Meaghan Winter.
The article points out what we all know: the experience of abortion in America is increasingly based on one’s zip code. Not only does it vary by state but also by culture, race, income, age, family — and by the response of a boyfriend.
Also in NYM Why the Abortion Pill Didn’t Change Everything.
In 1993, Time magazine declared mifepristone — the abortion pill that’s often called RU-486 — “The Pill that Changes Everything.” In 1999, The New York Times Magazine called it a “little white bombshell” with “enormous political consequences.” Think again.
4. The state of Oklahoma lost another round in its battle to restrict abortion access in the state when the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in which a lower state court found HB 2789 requiring women to have an unnecessary and expensive ultrasound scan to be unconstitutional.
The new law mandated that the pregnant woman be given the chance to view the ultrasound image and be given a medical description, including “the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”
Last week, the USSC dismissed an Oklahoma appeal on the permissibility of limiting abortions based on RU-486. The Oklahoma laws are important because they are among the earliest enacted after the Tea Party came to power in 2010, launching the Republican War on Women and women’s health as its top priority. via CNN
5. A major decision due any minute from the USSC will send the clearest signal yet of the court’s view on all the challenges to women’s abortion rights. The state of Texas filed a defense of the state’s new abortion restrictions, after Planned Parenthood and others appealed directly to the Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction blocking portions of the new law that introduce doctors’ hospital admitting privileges requirements.
The emergency appeal and Texas response was filed with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who can rule on the injunction himself, or present the case to the full court.
Access to contraception is also under assault in Texas. A new report confirms that more than a quarter of the family planning clinics are shuttered in the Rio Grande Valley, leaving Texas’ poorest women without access to cancer screening and birth control — previously provided by Planned Parenthood. 9 of 32 family planning clinics in the area — most not providing abortion services — have closed.