In a year of unprecedented attacks on women's freedom to make choices about pregnancy and contraception, there was a small bit of good news last week. Three more state legislatures adjourned. Which brings the total that can do no more damage this year to 19.Not only does the post attack pro-lifers, the advocate for "choice" actually wants to keep women ignorant about what they are doing by opposing common sense restrictions on abortion.
But the anti-choice victories already achieved in 2011 are surely drawing high-fives among the faithful. In April alone, according to the latest tally by the Guttmacher Institute, nine states passed 33 new laws designed in some fashion to keep women from obtaining abortions. That's on top of the 15 new laws passed in seven states during March. Elizabeth Nash, who tracks legislation on reproductive rights for Guttmacher, told me the wave of proposed laws is greater than "any I have seen in my 12 years here."
You can see a list of what has passed so far here. And an analysis of the bills and amendments affecting reproductive rights that have been introduced in 2011 here. While many legislators have gone home, we haven't yet seen the end of the year's efforts to turn Roe v. Wade into a dead letter.
Not that the coerced-birth forces will be able to claim victory for all the hundreds of pieces of legislation their allies have introduced in each of the 50 states. Most of those bills will be defeated. For instance, it seems highly unlikely that Louisiana will pass the full frontal attack on Roe introduced last month by Rep. John LaBruzzo. His proposal would ban all abortions. No exceptions for rape, incest or even the life of the woman, much less her health. While that is the most draconian bill, proposals for abortion bans to replace Roe have been introduced in 20 states and have passed one chamber of the legislature in five of them...
• Kansas and North Dakota also have mandated state-directed "counseling," and seven other states have introduced such legislation.
• Texas just passed a law that not only requires women to obtain an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, as do 20 other states, but also to hear a detailed description of the development of the fetus. Now on the books in Arizona is a law that requires a woman to undergo an ultrasound at least one hour before obtaining an abortion. Technicians must offer the woman the chance to hear a description of the fetus and listen to its heartbeat.