Anti-Abortion Regulations Increasing for Women Nationwide

by on December 29, 2010 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights

By Lauren Kelley /AlterNet / December 28, 2010

The 2007 Supreme Court decision that upheld a federal ban on late-term abortions has had far-reaching consequences, leading to an increase in state laws restricting abortion.

According to the Washington Post , the 5 to 4 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart “appeared to mark a significant change in the high court’s balancing of a woman’s right with the government’s interest” and “was a key moment in the emerging identity of the court headed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.” Although the high court has not seen another abortion case since ’07, state legislators have gone crazy passing “an increasing number and variety of restrictions” on abortions, knowing that there’s a decent chance the conservative-majority court will uphold them.

One example of such restrictions can be seen in Nebraska, where Speaker Mike Flood recently won passage of a law banning abortions after 20 weeks. Most states consider 22 or 24 weeks the cut-off for a late-term abortion, but Flood was able to pass his legislation by citing bogus “fetal pain” studies.

The importance of Flood’s bill is likely to be felt far beyond Nebraska. Abortion opponents call it model legislation for other states and say it could provide a direct challenge to Supreme Court precedents that restrict government’s ability to prohibit abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Flood may is able to impose significant new restrictions on thousands — possibly many thousands — of women seeking abortions, all because of the floodgates opened by Gonzales v. Carhart. And indeed, across the country this year state legislatures “considered and enacted some of the most extreme restrictions on abortion in recent memory, as well as passing laws creating dozens of other significant new hurdles,” according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

And the worst could be yet to come. “I believe the decision was like planting a bunch of seeds,” said Roger Evans, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood of America, “and we’re just starting to see the shoots popping out of the ground.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar annagrace December 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm

And we also have sanctioned domestic right-wing terrorism on women’s reproductive health clinics and abortion providers. Remember Dr. George Tiller.


avatar Sarah December 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Sanctioned by whom?


avatar annagrace December 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

The groups (Operation Rescue comes immediately to mind) which target clinics and providers are able to do so with impunity. Law enforcement locally all the way up to the federal level are unwilling to acknowledge that the murders and harassment of clinic staff and vandalism of clinics are anything more than the actions of isolated criminals. A grand jury is now considering Dr. Tillman’s murder within the larger context of the other groups.

Shortly after Obama was sworn in, Janet Napolitano issued a report that expressed concern about the rise of extremist groups within the country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. This garnered the outrage of the right and Napolitano backed down. While that is not the same as explicit, formal approval of those groups, silence becomes a form of complicity.


avatar Sarah December 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I agree with your points, but I’m hung up on semantics.

Common definitions are important.


avatar annagrace December 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Sarah- I believe that the words we use are important too and how we understand those words. (My English literature background unfortunately didn’t prepare me for real life as a woman. ) And I also believe that our society sanctions violence against women. Domestic violence is more prevalent than gang violence. Women are beat up, stalked and often die at the hand of a significant other. A woman with black eyes and busted ribs doesn’t have quiet the exciting cachet of gangs? Women who work in family planning clinics are stalked, harassed and intimidated and the local police turn a blind eye.

I stand by my assessment that violence against women and providers of women’s reproductive services are sanctioned by our communities and our government. I cannot claim “hate speech” when I walk through the snarling righteous inches away from me with graphic pictures of my unborn fetus- despite the fact that I am not pregnant and simply there in the complex to get my teeth cleaned. Why is that? Who gets to claim hate speech? I’m not inclined to put too fine of a point on the connotations and denotations of words at this moment.


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