Hugely Restrictive Abortion Bans Advance in Spain and South DakotaS

Bullshit legislation decreeing that women shouldn't have control over their own bodies and their own reproductive agency is having a good week, it seems. Both in America and overseas, lawmakers are keeping their noses to the patriarchal grindstone, hard at work attempting to severely limit women's access to safe and legal abortions.

In Spain, the conservative-dominated Parliament recently voted 183 to 151 against abandoning proposed controversial changes to the country's abortion law. These proposed changes would make abortion illegal except in cases of rape or danger to the physical or mental health of the mother — which would render Spain's abortion law among the most horribly restrictive in all of Europe.

According to Newsweek, any woman seeking to have an abortion in Spain because her health would be endangered if she carried to term would face several obstacles. She'd have to "find two doctors unaffiliated with her abortion-provider who are willing to swear the fetus poses a threat to the mother's health," which would obviously prevent women who lack the resources necessary to consult with two separate physicians from having legal access to abortion. She would also have to meet with social workers in order to discuss alternatives to abortion and spend a week-long waiting period "reflecting" on whether she really wants to terminate her pregnancy. Notably, this new law would not allow women to have abortions in cases of fetal abnormality.

According to a popular opinion poll, 70 to 80% of Spaniards oppose the law, and thousands of pro-abortion protestors took to the streets of Madrid earlier this month. But, no matter, it's what the Church wants!

In South Dakota, a less restrictive but nonetheless awful bill has just been introduced, and it's scheduled for a hearing tomorrow. Its purported intention is to "prohibit the dismemberment or decapitation of certain living unborn children and to provide penalties therefore," and a violation of this proposed law could carry a prison sentence of up to 25 years. As Teddy Wilson and Jessica Mason Pieklo point out at RH Reality Check, the nebulous terms of the bill are really malignant: they argue that "the vagueness of the law could allow for interpretations that ban abortion procedures much earlier in pregnancy." How early? Um, well, this law could potentially ban all abortions past seven weeks. This legislation is at once so vague and so threatening that it could prevent physicians from performing first trimester abortions.

As Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women's Clinic in North Dakota, told RH Reality Check: "[The bill] is meant to be inflammatory. It is meant to have a chilling effect." Anne Davis, consulting medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, agreed — noting that the bill doesn't "use language to help providers understand what's what," which could lead providers to stop performing safe and legal abortions out of fear of incarceration.

So, once again, the health, lives and liberty of women are severely endangered under the flimsy guise of protecting the unborn.

Image via AP.