WASHINGTON ― 2016 was a watershed yr for reproductive rights: The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory to abortion rights supporters in June that warned states to not move legal guidelines that impose a burden on women’s entry to abortion with none medical justification.
Still, Republican state legislatures enacted greater than 60 abortion restrictions this yr and launched greater than 500, according to an analysis by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Ten anti-abortion legal guidelines have been dominated unconstitutional and blocked by the courts, however lawmakers are outpacing the lawsuits and discovering new methods to chip away at reproductive rights.
“Undoubtedly, this new barrage of attacks shows that the anti-abortion movement has abandoned its pretense of protecting women’s health and safety, instead making it crystal-clear that the end goal is attacking family planning providers and banning abortion care altogether,” the report states.
Louisiana’s state legislature launched the strongest assault on abortion rights this yr, passing seven new laws that prohibit entry to the process. Among different issues, the restrictions triple the state’s obligatory ready interval earlier than an abortion from 24 to 72 hours; they ban the dilation and evacuation process, the most secure and commonest abortion technique used within the second trimester; they ban abortions after 20 weeks in instances of genetic abnormalities; they usually require women to have their fetal tissue buried or cremated after an abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights challenged all seven of Louisiana’s new restrictions earlier than they went into impact, and the state agreed to not implement them whereas litigation proceeds.
Indiana, underneath the management of Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R), enacted an anti-abortion omnibus bill with a slew of latest restrictions. The regulation requires women to obtain state-mandated counseling and an ultrasound a minimum of 18 hours earlier than the process, forcing women to make two separate journeys to the clinic. It additionally prohibits women from selecting abortion if the fetus is recognized with a genetic anomaly, and mandates that fetal tissue be cremated or buried. A federal district courtroom blocked the regulation in June, ruling that the restrictions are unconstitutional and unrelated to any professional state curiosity.
Other state legal guidelines have gone into impact. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a invoice into regulation that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy ― two to 4 weeks sooner than the viability commonplace set by the Supreme Court. Oklahoma enacted an unprecedented regulation referred to as the “Humanity of the Unborn Child Act,” which, amongst different issues, would have required public restrooms in restaurants, hospitals, schools and hotels to publish indicators that urge pregnant women to hold to time period. (Following protests, the Oklahoma senator main the cost updated the law to solely have an effect on restrooms of abortion suppliers.) Eight states handed legal guidelines meant to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest household planning supplier, and eight states banned or restricted the donation of fetal tissue for medical analysis after an abortion.
The slew of latest legal guidelines continues a six-year development towards eliminating entry to abortion. States have enacted greater than 300 restrictions since 2011. The Supreme Court’s determination this yr in Whole Women’s Health vs. Hellerstedt solely struck down two of those legal guidelines ― a pair of restrictions in Texas that required abortions to happen in ambulatory surgical facilities, or mini-hospitals, and required abortion suppliers to have admitting privileges at an area hospital. But it set a authorized commonplace on which courts can rely as they contemplate legal guidelines that prohibit entry to abortion with none profit to women’s health.
Republicans could also be emboldened to move much more anti-abortion legal guidelines in 2017, since President-Elect Donald Trump and his administration are pleasant to the trigger. Reproductive rights advocates are counting on the courts to dam these efforts.
“As we embark on 2017, we should maintain our leaders accountable to the Constitutional protections assured in Whole Woman’s Health,” stated Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “A woman’s ability to access basic reproductive health care services like contraception or a safe, legal abortion are essential to her health and well-being.”
This submit has been up to date to mirror that an Oklahoma senator launched an modification to the state’s regulation on rest room signage.