State Legislators Propose Draconian New Abortion Restrictions, Because Apparently They Want to Fail Louder

Illustration for article titled State Legislators Propose Draconian New Abortion Restrictions, Because Apparently They Want to Fail Louder

After a fairly disastrous election for Republicans, party faithful have begun wondering aloud if maybe the GOP should begin its much-touted focus on jobs and the economy rather than spinning its wheels in America's uterus with abortion restrictions that piss people off and end up being struck down in the court system, anyway. But in at least four states now, conservative legislators have decided that what this world needs now is more abortion restrictions.


Let's start with Wisconsin, my beloved home state that has somehow managed to fill its state government nearly entirely with fuckwits. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, right to life groups there are hoping to introduce legislation that will force pregnant women seeking abortions to view their ultrasound before the procedure as well as banning abortions after 20 weeks, under the dubious assertion that at that point, fetuses can feel pain (quick summary of why that's stupid — very few abortions take place after 20 weeks, and the ones that do are often the result of unforeseeable or tragic circumstances — birth defects, health threats, etc. "Fetal pain" bans are awful). While specific legislation hasn't been introduced yet, anti-abortion rights lawmakers are chomping at the bit to endorse the idea of the bills, including Governor Scott Walker and several state representatives. In fact, one of the itty bitty silver linings for the GOP this year was the party's successful retaking of both chambers of the Wisconsin state legislature. Anti-abortion legislation here would cut through the system like a hot knife through creamy locally made butter, after which it would likely be challenged and defeated in the court system, like other fetal pain laws.

There is so much good beer in Wisconsin, guys. Drink some of it and stop worrying about other people's bodies! Please!

This weekend's New York Times has a charming rundown of what's next for women in Texas, home of a special breed of rootin' tootin' birth forcin' cowboy. You may recall that during the last few legislative sessions, politicians there have tried their darndest to make it illegal for federal Title X money to be used by Planned Parenthood on the false grounds that the money would be going to support abortions. Courts intervened, and rather than continue accepting federal money that had to go to Planned Parenthood, Texas scrapped its Women's Health Program altogether and instead started its own program that basically funnels taxpayer money into religious organizations that think sperm is magic. Anyway!

Now, state lawmakers are pondering a measure that would force women receiving medicinal abortions (sometimes referred to as RU-486) to have a doctor present during the administration of both drugs required to complete the pregnancy termination, thus requiring two doctor visits for something that should only require one and making abortion more of a pain in the ass for women who caught their unplanned pregnancies early. It's a lovely way to make a relatively non-invasive medical procedure more punitive to women. To make matters worse (and this isn't something the Times reported), anyone who has had a medicinal abortion or been around a woman who has had one knows that the second step of the process produces some pretty painful cramps and near-immediate heavy bleeding in some patients. To avoid infection, medicinal abortion patients are told not to use tampons during the process, either, and so, if this new law in Texas is enacted, women who choose medicinal abortion will be forced to make two visits to the doctor's office and probably drive home while cramping and filling a pad with blood, just because some bolo tie wearing evangelical wants them to feel bad about their choices. What's Texan for "fuck that?"

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, now that Republicans have taken control of both Houses, lawmakers can't wait to start creating jobs and reducing the deficit by making it more difficult for pregnant women to make choices about their bodies. According to the Commercial Appeal, conservatives in the state want to ban telemedicine, or the practice of prescribing abortion drugs via televised call between a doctor and patient. In a rural state without many clinics, this move will make it more difficult for low-income, rural women to access abortion care. State lawmakers also want to enact a 20-week ban.

Anyway, great ideas, guys. Making America into the Poland circa 1931 of the Founding Fathers' dreams.


[Commercial Appeal]



The Halappanavar situation has me wondering— could these rules be used to deny a woman an abortion even if she is miscarrying? I do know women who have had a d&c rather than wait for all the fetal tissue to be expelled. Are those classified as "abortions" or something else?