Almost 400 Anti-Abortion Bills Were Introduced In The U.S. In 2015
Choosing whether or not to have children is a constitutional right for women in the U.S. Since anti-choice activists can't undo the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized that fact, they've partnered with lawmakers across the country in their efforts to gradually chip away at that right on a state-by-state level -- with an alarming rate of aggressiveness in 2015.
According to a new report from the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), nearly 400 bills aimed at shutting down abortion clinics or making it extremely difficult for women to obtain abortion care have been introduced across the country in 2015. Forty-seven of them have already been passed.
The report details the impact of every anti-abortion bill introduced in the states this year, and is very clear about the motivations behind the proposed legislation: "The ultimate goal of these politicians is to criminalize women’s health services one by one until no safe, legal options are available to any woman who makes the decision to end a pregnancy."
Many of these bills -- most of which appeared in southern states -- were aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood or banning fetal tissue research as a result of those fake videos claiming to show that the women's health organization illegally sold fetal tissue for a profit (a claim that has been repeatedly disproven).
Other bills proposed clinic regulations so difficult to follow that they'd likely force the few remaining clinics in southern states to close. Still others created mandatory waiting periods or state-sanctioned "counseling" for women seeking an abortion -- both medically unnecessary measures that are generally aimed at shaming women and suggesting that they're incapable of making their own choices. Arkansas passed a bill requiring women to wait 48 hours between an initial consultation and an abortion procedure, and North Carolina and Oklahoma both increased their mandatory waiting periods to 72 hours -- the longest waiting period in the country.
Texas, which has already made it nearly impossible for clinics providing abortion care to remain open in the state, passed a new law "explicitly targeting minors, undocumented women, and low-income women," according to the report.
One of the measures in the Texas bill forces all adult patients to provide a photo ID, ostensibly to prove that they are not a minor. The report explains that "This 'abortion ID' requirement could serve as a backdoor ban on undocumented women and low-income women from obtaining abortion care," and notes that the bill also makes it virtually impossible for abused and neglected Texas teens to receive abortion care in the event that they can't obtain parental consent.
The Supreme Court hasn't heard a case related to abortion rights since 2007, but in late June, the court is expected to hear a case regarding some of the measures included in Texas's HB2 laws, which have forced most of the state's clinics to close since it passed in 2013. As a recent report from The Nation notes, "The ruling could help roll back other state laws aimed at narrowing abortion access -- or it could sanction the campaign to make abortion effectively, if not legally, unobtainable."