So far, 2011 has been the most brutal year for abortion rights in recent history. In the 12 months since the red wave of the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans passed 92 abortion restrictions in 24 states, triggering a so-called war on women that has closed dozens of clinics abortion across the country and dominated national political debate until 2014..
Widespread and coordinated attacks on access to abortion in states are on the rise again.
Then Donald Trump happened and he distracted the country with his almost daily catastrophes, stunts and scandals. He also added three anti-abortion conservatives to the Supreme Court, one of them replacing feminist icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, thus pretty much ensuring a backlash for women’s rights.
Today, widespread and coordinated attacks on abortion access in states are on the rise again, but they are coming at a faster rate than they did in 2011, going under the radar, and have a better chance of reaching a very friendly Supreme Court. In other words, 2021 is shaping up to be the worst year for abortion attacks in decades, and hardly anyone seems to be talking about it.
The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization that tracks abortion bills in states, assessed the damage in a report released last week: In the first four months of 2021, state lawmakers introduced 536 jaw-dropping abortion restrictions, including 146 bans, and 61 of those bills were enacted. Almost half (28) of the restrictions were passed last week, between April 26 and April 29, the most anti-abortion bills signed in a single week in more than a decade.
In the first four months of 2021, state lawmakers introduced 536 jaw-dropping abortion restrictions.
Among the laws enacted last week: Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a bill banning abortion at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat, before many women even realized they were are pregnant. (It won’t become law unless a federal appeals court upholds similar legislation in another state.) Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed three new anti-abortion laws, including one that bans the abortion entirely. procedure outside of medical emergencies. Arizona has enacted a ban on abortion in cases where a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome, is detected. Montana has banned 20-week abortion and required that abortion medications be administered in person, rather than telehealth, which will severely restrict access for women (especially low-income women and mothers who are working) in the sprawling rural state amid the pandemic.
Other new restrictions include mandatory ultrasound bills and so-called TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) laws, which are onerous regulations designed to prevent the operation of abortion clinics. The Supreme Court struck down such a law in 2020, with Chief Justice John Roberts providing the alternative vote, but that was before Trump added the very religious right-wing judge Amy Coney Barrett to the court, flipping her into full swing. security outside the swing voting territory.
Trump has also appointed more than 200 Conservative judges to the federal bench, radically reshaping the federal justice system for the foreseeable future and providing more opportunities for anti-abortion laws to make their way to the Supreme Court and challenge the previous one. .
More than 200 Republicans in Congress directly asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe in an amicus brief last year.
Republicans have been open about their strategy of using state-level restrictions as a means to challenge Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion until the fetus was viable. More than 200 Republicans in Congress directly asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe in an amicus brief last year.
The problem is, abortion is an incredibly common procedure (1 in 4 women will have one by age 40), and a majority of the American public supports legal abortion in all or most cases. Republicans have been relentlessly focused on abortion in 2011, even turned against them in the 2012 presidential election, when President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney, thanks to an unprecedented gender gap at the polls.
The Republicans’ best hope this time around is for a much calmer but more effective war on abortion, a war that largely avoids political backlash but suddenly appears in the Supreme Court. Maybe it’s time to get your attention back.
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