State lawmakers introduced nearly 400 such bills in 2015, 47 of which passed, according to a report released this week by the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The new laws are concentrated in Southern states, where many abortion providers have already been forced to close. At least 20 bills were introduced in response to undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, which purport to show Planned Parenthood engaging in illegal sales of fetal tissue—claims that have not be verified by any of the numerous investigations launched since. At least a dozen states tried to defund Planned Parenthood. Others tried to ban fetal tissue research completely, or to impose costly new regulations about medical waste disposal.
Arkansas legislators earned a dubious distinction for being most rabidly anti-abortion. The state enacted more restrictive laws than any other, including a Planned Parenthood defunding measure. Arkansas also passed a bill that forces women to wait 48 hours between an initial consultation and an abortion procedure, and requires doctors to tell patients that medication abortion can be “reversed,” an assertion that isn’t supported by scientific evidence. North Carolina and Oklahoma increased their mandatory waiting periods to a full 72 hours, joining three other states with the country’s longest forced wait between state-mandated counseling and an abortion procedure.
Kansas and Oklahoma pioneered a new tactic for limiting the window in which abortion is legal, passing laws that criminalize doctors who perform a technique known as “D and E,” which is commonly used to end a pregnancy in the second trimester. The Center for Reproductive Rights calls it the “safest, most effective, and most commonly used” procedure in the second trimester. It’s also the only one doctors use after 14 weeks of pregnancy, and so the ban could effectively make all abortions after that point illegal. Legislators in West Virginia, where only two health clinics provide abortions, overrode the governor’s veto to criminalize abortion after 20 weeks. Wisconsin also passed a 20-week ban.
Texas managed to put up more red tape for women seeking abortion care: an “abortion ID” law, which requires women to provide “proof of identity and age” to verify that they are not a minor. The measure “could serve as a backdoor ban on undocumented women and low-income women,” the Center for Reproductive Rights wrote, because they are more likely than others to lack the necessary identification.
A number of the legislators who introduced these bills were Tea Party members who swore to their supporters that they were not interested in social issues and instead were focused on lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.
But the truth is that these conservative Republicans are NEVER going to stop attacking a woman's right to choose, and will continue chipping away at the Roe vs Wade decision until either they manage to get repealed or until people stop electing them.
Anybody who thinks any differently has simply not been paying attention.
And as a result I am sure we will see more cases like the Tennessee woman who recently tried to perform her own abortion with a coat hanger.
But don't worry, now she's in jail for it. Which I'm sure is exactly how the Republicans want it.