The War on Constitutional RightsPosted: July 11, 2012
We’ve already seen many many ways that states are trying to restrict constitutionally-granted rights like voting. Many states are trying to restrict the rights of women and the GLBT community. Access to abortion rights suffered severe blows under any state suffering from Republican Majority Rule. A recent report showed that 39 states enacted restrictions on a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
Here are some examples of the kinds of assaults that women have had to endure as Republican majorities try to force them further into second class citizenship.
– Waiting periods: So far this year, states have considered requiring counseling and extending waiting periods for women seeking an abortion. In April, Utah enacted the most extreme waiting period law by requiring women to wait a full 72 hours between obtaining counseling and having the procedure. Twenty-five other states have waiting period laws that generally require the woman to wait 24 hours.
– Fetal heartbeat: Oklahoma and Louisiana adopted measures that attempt to use the fetal heartbeat to dissuade women from seeking an abortion. The Oklahoma law requires health providers to offer women the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat if they are after eight weeks’ postfertilization. In Louisiana, health providers must make the heartbeat audible, often necessitating a transvaginal ultrasound.
– Mental health: Arizona and South Dakota passed laws requiring counseling on the unsubstantiated negative mental health consequences of abortion. Nine states now require the counseling. The myth that there is a causal link between abortion and mental health issues has been largely debunked by mental health professionals.
– Public pressure helps: Only 30 percent of abortion restrictions passed by one chamber have actually been enacted so far this year, a significantly lower rate than the proportion signed into law at this point in 2011. Public pushback against the transvaginal ultrasound law in Virginia likely squashed momentum for similar provisions in Alabama, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. In addition, last November’s defeat of the Mississippi personhood amendment probably helped thwart efforts for similar laws elsewhere in the country.
This really does look like a war on Women and their health. It will take years to unravel the damage that Bobby Jindal has done in Louisiana in just a few short years.
A year ago, 2011 was record-breaking in terms of attacks on reproductive health. While this year is set to have fewer restrictions on the books, 2012′s figures are still higher than any year prior to 2011. As was the case last year, issues related to abortion and family planning funding were lightning rod issues in a few state legislatures. In fact, 14 of the new restrictions have been enacted in just three states — Arizona, Louisiana, and South Dakota — three of the most hostile to reproductive health.
No wonder my Ob/gyn daughter is trying to move to the safety of a blue state where the state government doesn’t try to influence what she can and cannot do as a doctor. Here’s the 19 worst states to live for women who would prefer the states stay out of their VAGINAS!