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Nearly 400 Anti-Abortion Bills Were Introduced in the U.S. in 2015

mirsasha / CC BY 2.0

mirsasha / CC BY 2.0

A new report by the Center for Reproductive Rights has found that state lawmakers across the U.S. introduced almost 400 anti-abortion bills, with 47 new laws enacted this year that restrict access to abortion.

Many of these measures were Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, restrictions that apply only to abortion providers, which “interfere with patients’ personal decision-making, and ultimately block access to abortion care.”

The report, which details the impact of every anti-abortion bill introduced in states this year, is straightforward in describing what it sees as the motivations behind the bills: “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.”

From MTV News:

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.”

Read more here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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