Jul 19, 2010
Eleven states have passed additional laws this year to restrict the right to an abortion.
Reactionary laws proposed against women are not new, having cluttered legislatures for at least 20 years.
But they are on the increase.
At least 350 such bills were introduced on the state level in each of the last five years, according to a research organization, with about 370 more already this year.
State law makers are following in the footsteps of Congress, which began restricting the right to an abortion almost as soon as the landmark ruling Roe v. Wade, making abortion legally available, was issued in 1973.
The restrictions include laws against funding abortions; laws requiring “counseling a woman” before allowing abortion; laws that ban abortions after a certain number of weeks; laws requiring parental notification for young women; etc.
Just as in the days when abortion was illegal in this country, poorer women face the most difficulties in obtaining an abortion. A wealthy woman could always find a doctor to give her an abortion, even before it was legal. That is still true today when many obstacles keep abortion services from being widely available.
The pressure on women in some states is almost as bad as it is in countries where the Catholic Church has been able to prevent legal abortions. In Utah this year, a 17-year-old girl paid a man to beat her in order to end her unwanted pregnancy. How did Utah legislators respond? They passed a law to charge women in such circumstances with homicide!
Women gained the right to choose abortion in this country by fighting reactionaries, whether in the halls of Congress, the state houses or the religious institutions. Protecting that right and lifting the current restrictions on abortions will be won the same way.