Tag Archives: Abortion

September is Abortion Access Month

English: There is a prohibition on the use of ...

English: There is a prohibition on the use of federal government funds for abortion in the United States. However, some states fund abortions out of their own revenues. State funds abortions through legislation State funds abortions under court order (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September is Abortion Access Month. As it turns out, it takes quite a bit to get an abortion in this country, and accessing safe and legal abortion care is becoming more difficult. One of the biggest hurdles for folks seeking abortion care is the fact that, for many, it is quite simply unaffordable. Who are the folks that cannot afford abortion care?

The National Network of Abortion Funds helps to bridge the gap between a legal abortion and the ability to afford one by fighting laws that undermine access to safe and legal abortion care while helping folks who need abortions today.

The Hyde Amendment means that low-income folks who have their health care covered by Medicaid have to come up with a way to pay for their procedures out-of-pocket, even though the fact that they are on Medicaid means they’re already having trouble making ends meet. Women of color, who are disproportionately poor, bear the brunt of these restrictions. Queer, trans, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer folks – also disproportionately poor– bear a heavy part of this weight. (And yes, trans folks might need an abortion, and reproductive health care is indeed a trans health issue.)

The National Network of Abortion Funds’ annual survey shows that on average, funds are only able to help one of every seven people who contact them for help. The funds are to bridge the gap between what patients have and the cost of an abortion. This process includes determining whether the person lives in a state that covers abortion care via Medicaid (only seventeen do); how much the procedure will cost, how much the person has, and what they could sell to come closer to that amount; whether there is a nearby clinic, and if it requires a waiting period, a mandatory ultrasound, or any other non-medically necessary procedure; whether they have a way to get to the clinic, or a place to stay if it’s a two-day procedure; and details about childcare, elder care, and work schedules.

These are just the logistical concerns. This gap exists because we (as a society) do not treat abortion as health care. We do not take it seriously as a social and medical need. And we devalue the experiences of millions for whom this gap is the difference between getting the care they need and having it unavailable to them.

We must call for an end to the bans on federal funding for abortion care. An abortion costs an average of $451 in the first trimester and can sometimes cost $3,000 or more. This is an impossible sum for many people. Every pregnant person must decide whether to bring a child into the world. We cannot continue to allow religious extremists and politicians to interfere in a family’s decision about how many children to have and when to have them.

That is why this month is Abortion Access Month. September 30 is the 38th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, and September 28th is the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. During this month, be motivated to end the deep disparity created by politicians withholding federal funds, and to remember that we are the experts on our own lives. We deserve the tools and opportunity to build the futures and families we want and need. We invite you to join us and add your voice to a loud and unapologetic call to all our policymakers: let’s end the unequal health care system that treats reproductive health care as something separate from all other health care. Let’s repeal the Hyde Amendment!

Join @abortionfunds with #ACCESS13 for more information about what you can do. But, please start by signing the petition to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Via Feministing.

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Poll: 66% Opposed to Ban on Abortion after 20 Weeks

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the f...

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the fight for health insurance reform to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sixty-six percent of people believe that abortions should be legal after twenty weeks if the woman would “suffer serious long-term health problems” from a full-term pregnancy, according to a new survey.

Sixty-one percent said the procedure should be legal in cases when the fetus is not viable, or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/abortion/319509-poll-finds-opposition-to-20-week-abortion-ban-in-specific-cases?utm_campaign=Choice&utm_medium=Argyle%2BSocial&utm_source=twitter&utm_term=2013-08-30-16-26-09#ixzz2dWVPylOx

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Arizona Anti-Abortion Bill Starts Counting Fetal Age Before Conception

pregnancy test

pregnancy test (Photo credit: slayerphoto)

A week ago, hundreds of Catholics rallied in Phoenix, Arizona to protest the Affordable Care Act. The Catholic Sun has a nice gallery of photos on Flickr, in which placards are visible in the sunshine, reading “Pray to End Abortion,” “God’s Will Not Obama’s Will,” and “Religious Freedom for All.”

Less than a week after that protest, the Legislature state passed the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation we’ve seen since the Great Republican Takeover of 2010. In Arizona, they’re going beyond “fetal pain” bills like Nebraska’s, which outlaw abortions twenty weeks into the actual pregnancy.

Last Thursday, the Arizona House passed HB 2036, which would make abortions illegal after twenty weeks, but what matters most is when those 20 weeks begin. Confused? Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones breaks it down:

…Arizona’s law would actually be more restrictive than others, as the bill states that the gestational age of the fetus should be “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman…”

Most women ovulate about 14 or 15 days after their period starts, and women can usually get pregnant from sexual intercourse that occurred anywhere between five days before ovulation and a day after it. Arizona’s law would start the clock at a woman’s last period—which means, in practice, that the law prohibits abortion later than 18 weeks after a woman actually becomes pregnant.

Amanda Marcotte, writing in RH Reality Check, points out that this isn’t about preventing abortion so much as it is about combining legal authority with moral and using both to restrict women’s sex lives:

Now with this Arizona bill, if a woman is deemed pregnant two weeks before she actually is, prosecutors could even have a chance to look at your choices when you weren’t even pregnant—before you even had the sex that made you pregnant—and blame those choices for bad outcomes. They’re creating, brick by brick, the legal basis on which to prosecute a woman who drinks some alcohol, becomes pregnant two weeks later, and miscarries, even though she didn’t drink while pregnant. And you best believe that when feminists protest this, they’ll just paint it as if we’re more interested in protecting drunken sluts than “babies.”

When you ask why a party would gin up a fake federal war against Catholicism while at the same time it passes laws like this, you’ve likely answered your own question.

Via MSNBC.

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55% of Women Live in Anti-Choice States

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(Photo credit: EN2008)

Fifty-five percent of reproductive-age U.S. women lived in an anti-choice state in 2011, up from 31% in 2000, according to a Guttmacher Institute policy analysis.

The increase is the result of a shift in the abortion policy landscape at the state level, including a record number of abortion restrictions enacted in 2011.

“In 2000, the country was more evenly divided: nearly a third of women lived in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states,” says Rachel Benson Gold, Guttmacher’s director of policy analysis. “By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states. This growth came largely at the expense of the states in the middle. Only one in 10 women lived in a middle-ground state by 2011.”

Via Guttmacher.org.

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Washington Poised to Require Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance

English: Rep. Albert Wynn (left) joins Gloria ...

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At a time when many states are making it harder for women to get abortions, Washington appears headed in the opposite direction.

Fifteen states restrict insurers from covering abortions. Twelve are considering such measures. By contrast, a bill that has passed Washington’s House and is working its way through the Senate would make the state the first to require all health-insurance plans except those claiming a conscience-based exemption to include abortion coverage.

The measure, House Bill 2330, would require insurers who cover maternity care, which Washington insurers must offer, to pay for abortions. New York is the only other state considering similar rules, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Supporters say the state is protected by its existing conscience exemptions and note the bill has a self-destruct clause nullifying it in the event it were found to conflict with federal law. They say it would simply makes sure that women in Washington, one of four states to have legalized abortion before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, continue to have easy access to abortions once changes in federal health-care laws take effect in 2014.

“Washington state has historically been in the forefront for women’s reproductive rights,” said Rep. Eileen Cody. “We’re just trying to maintain the status quo.”

Via The Seattle Times.

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Georgia Democrats Introduce Bill Banning Vasectomies in Response to Attacks on Abortion Rights

English: Close-up of the Georgia State Capitol.

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The Georgia House Judiciary Committee will take up a measure that would prohibit abortions past the twentieth week of pregnancy.

The bill sponsored by Doug McKillip (R-Athens) attempts to tighten “life of the mother” exceptions to abortion:

No such condition shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the pregnant woman or that the pregnant woman will purposefully engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

In response, House Democrats scheduled a hearing at the state Capitol to propose a bill that would ban Georgia men from seeking vasectomies.

From the press release:

“Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Yasmin Neal, author of the bill. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams added, “The Republican attack on women’s reproductive rights is unconscionable. What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954’s author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of this General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.”

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Oklahoma Legislator Tries to Ban Food Products Containing Aborted Fetuses (Which Isn’t Happening)

Seal of Oklahoma.

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A state senator in Oklahoma has filed a bill to make it illegal to sell food or products that contain aborted fetuses.

Is this about vaccines? Is this a backdoor attempt at setting a legal precedent that will later outlaw abortion? I have no idea. Nor, apparently, does State Senator Ralph Shortey:

I don’t know if it is happening in Oklahoma, it may be, it may not be. What I am saying is that if it does happen then we are not going to allow it to manufacture here.

I don’t know what to say about this. If this is what we do now (make every gross thing illegal, whether or not it’s actually happening), then I would like a legislative effort to prevent anyone ever driving in the left lane without passing a car in the left. Oh, heck, it’s probably best to sponsor all-purpose legislation against Things That Are Bad. That should cover it.

Via Religion Dispatches.

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Florida Bill Would Impose Life Sentences for Abortion Doctors

English: Rep. Albert Wynn (left) joins Gloria ...

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Roe v. Wade affirmed that women have the right to seek an abortion until a fetus is viable. Florida legislators don’t agree with the decision, so they’ve introduced a bill that violates it. The near-total ban on abortion in the state won’t stand, but lawmakers have packed it chock full of methods to take away a woman’s right to choose, in the hope that some bit of it will wind up becoming law.

The Florida Independent reports that last week, Republican state Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Baptist minister, introduced legislation that would make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape and incest. House Bill 1151 would create the “Florida for Life Act,” and establish that, “all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at conception.”

The only exception would be when the mother’s life is at risk; in that circumstance, doctors would have to sign paperwork attesting to the fact. The bill states:

A termination of pregnancy may not be performed unless:

(a) Two physicians certify in writing to the fact that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the termination of pregnancy is necessary to prevent the death of the patient;

(b) Two physicians certify in writing to the fact that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the termination of pregnancy is necessary because to continue the pregnancy would unreasonably reduce the likelihood of successful treatment of a life-threatening disease of the patient; or

(c) A physician certifies in writing that a medical emergency existed and another physician was not available for consultation prior to the time necessary to perform the termination of pregnancy. The physician’s written certification must clearly describe the medical emergency.

If a doctor performs an abortion on a woman who isn’t on the brink of death, that’s a felony, and the physician could spend the rest of his or her life in prison.

In case this is a little too extreme for Florida legislators, they have plenty of other anti-choice legislation to choose from. Last year, Republicans introduced a record eighteen bills attacking abortion rights. Now there’s a variety of new legislation that could redefine the termination of a “viable fetus” as the death of an “unborn child,” impose burdensome restrictions on abortion facilities, and ban abortions after twenty weeks. Seven anti-abortion bills have already been introduced in the 2012 session.

Via Jezebel.

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Big Surprise: Rick “A Fetus is a Person” Santorum Is a Hypocrite

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

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In 1996, Rick Santorum’s wife had a medically necessary procedure that resulted in the deliberate death of her fetus. Today, Mr. Santorum says that having such a procedure (again, even to save one’s own life) should be a crime.

Karen Santorum’s difficult pregnancy and induced early delivery is no secret; in a 2004 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, her husband characterized the procedure as harrowing but necessary. Mrs. Santorum, in her nineteenth week of pregnancy, received a surgery to save a pregnancy doctors thought had little chance of survival. After the surgery, she came down with an infection, and doctors told Mr. Santorum that unless the fetus was removed, his wife would die. The doctor also told Mr. Santorum that his wife’s fetus would not survive outside of the womb. Doctors gave Mrs. Santorum a drug that induced labor, she delivered, and, unfortunately, the doctors were right.

Mr. Santorum said of the terrible event, “The doctors said they were talking about a matter of hours or a day or two before risking sepsis and both of them might die. Obviously, if it was a choice of whether both Karen and the child are going to die or just the child is going to die, I mean it’s a pretty easy call.”

After Mr. Santorum talked to the press about his wife’s pregnancy and their loss, rumors circulated that Mrs. Santorum had an abortion and not induced delivery. Our Silver Ribbon asserts that Karen Santorum did, in fact, have a second-trimester abortion.

The irony is that whether Karen Santorum had an abortion or medically induced the birth of a non-viable fetus doesn’t matter in the eyes of someone with views as extreme as Mr. Santorum. He’s against abortion if there is no hope of the fetus surviving to full term, or even if the woman carrying the fetus risks death doing so. Karen Santorum would have died if the fetus were not removed, and labor was induced knowing that the fetus would not survive.

As Rick Santorum gains ground in the polls, please remember that Mrs. Santorum’s lifesaving medical intervention is different from the abortions that Mr. Santorum wishes to outlaw only in that the woman getting the lifesaving medical intervention was Karen Santorum. His policies would prevent other women from receiving the care they needed, and leave scores of non-Santorum children motherless. If that’s not hypocrisy, then I don’t know what is.

Via Jezebel.

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Study Reveals What Kind of Woman Has a Second Trimester Abortion

English: Histogram of abortions by gestational...

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Nine of ten abortions in the U.S. occur very early in a pregnancy, but until now we didn’t know much about the sort of woman who has an abortion in her second trimester.

Guttmacher Institute researchers conducted analysis of 9,493 women who terminated their pregnancies after the twelfth week of gestation. Women who receive second trimester abortions tend to be young, uneducated, poor, and black, until sixteen weeks’ gestation. After that point, the demographics shift: women receiving abortions at sixteen weeks or later tend to be high income and using health insurance to pay for the procedure.

Because the cost of an abortion increases as the weeks pass, women with high incomes or good health coverage would be more likely to be able to afford a procedure after sixteen weeks. Teens and women with low levels of education might have later term abortions because of a lack of knowledge about their options or access to reproductive health services or because it takes them time to secure the money necessary.

In general, the poorer and less educated a woman was, the greater the chance was that she’d have a second trimester abortion.

More than half of women who received abortions at sixteen weeks or later were terminating intended pregnancies, which means we can infer that some of those procedures may be due to a threat to the mother’s health or an insurmountable birth defect.

The results of this analysis may seem obvious, but they’re important in building a case for more access to contraception and first-trimester abortion providers for young, poor women, as late-term abortions are not fun, and they usually involve women who wish it could have turned out differently. Furthermore, the myth of the flippant pregnant woman deciding to have an abortion at 20 weeks needs to be debunked once and for all.

Via Jezebel.

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