For years now, Republicans have made it one of their major rallying cries to end abortion. Their words haven’t been empty. In recent months, they have introduced close to 1,000 anti-choice bills. In just the first quarter of this year, the following bills became state laws:
- expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it the most onerous in the country, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to visit a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;
- expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;
- require the health departments in Utah and Virginia to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics;
- revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;
- limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and
- revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education, while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.
Not really a surprise since he comes from Texas. The Lone Star State has been at the front line in the war on women. From an interview with NPR:
This year, the Texas legislature and Gov. Perry cut funding for family planning clinics by two-thirds. Dr. Celia Neavel is director of adolescent health at the People’s Community Clinic in East Austin and says it is a devastating blow.
“That particular funding was used obviously for birth control, but also Pap smears, breast cancer screening, for diabetes, thyroid disorders, anemia [and] high cholesterol,” Neavel says.
The budget cuts to family planning clinics won’t in the end save Texas money. The state estimates nearly 300,000 women will lose access to family planning services, resulting in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned births. Texas already spends $1.3 billion on teen pregnancies — more than any other state.
Christian’s honesty might be a little refreshing, but it is also frightening. It seems that the Republican agenda is truly to keep women barefoot and pregnant.