It’s been 40 years since the Supreme Court issued their ruling in Roe v. Wade, making abortion a private matter between a woman and her doctor. Twenty years ago, the SCOTUS ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that states can limit access to abortion as long as it doesn’t place an “undue burden” on women seeking treatment. Well, the states have run with this and plainly, some of them need a dictionary to look up “undue” and “burden” because they have made it damn near impossible.
Remapping the Debate has come out with a chart that shows what restrictions each state has placed on abortion access. And Oregon comes out the clear winner in the “we understand what the Supreme Court meant” contest. My home state of Washington comes next with only one restriction – we don’t allow late-term abortions without a good reason. Not surprisingly, Oklahoma is the most restrictive state, with a near-complete ban. This is, of course, unenforceable under Roe but that didn’t stop the Sooner state and it won’t until someone once again takes a case to the SCOTUS.
The various restrictions include waiting periods, parental involvement, mandatory counseling and the ever-popular ultrasound requirements. Some of the states require – not just allow – that doctors out-and-out lie to their patients, telling them that abortion causes breast cancer and other debunked medical hokum.
The easiest way for states to limit access has become regulating the clinics right out of business. Recently, Mississippi has all but closed the only clinic in the state with nonsense regulations. North Dakota and Kansas are also down to only one clinic because of regulations that are unnecessary and burdensome. We’ve written here on Addicting Info about Michigan’s attempts to do the same, most recently here. Their latest game is requiring funeral arrangements for fetal remains, which would more than double costs for clinics and patients.
Until someone takes a case all the way up to the Supreme Court, we can expect states – especially those states who value ideology over safety – to continue to chip away at abortion rights. Many of our readers may be too young to remember how things were before Roe v. Wade. They might not realize how important it is to be able to have safe medical abortion available. But many of us older women (and men) do recall deaths from botched “back-alley” abortions and trips south of the border to filthy clinics or to Sweden if one was rich. We remember using herbal abortifacients and trying to induce miscarriage. What we are talking about here is government (you know, the thing those righties swear that they hate – unless it enforces something they want) stepping into a private matter simply because one religious group says so. One look at this chart shows that the most egregious violators of that privacy are states where religion has an undue influence on legislatures. And it will only get worse unless we stop it. Speak out, women. Because the ideological despots certainly are and look where it’s got them. And us.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…