April 5, 2013
"Outlawing Abortion Won't Help Children with Down Syndrome," Alison Piepmeier, New York Times ' "Motherlode": Piepmeier -- whose daughter has Down syndrome -- discusses recently enacted legislation (HB 1305) that made North Dakota the first state to prohibit abortions when the fetus has genetic defects. She writes that while it is "troubling ... that rates of termination for pregnancies where Down syndrome is identified are extremely high," legislation "outlawing abortion is not a reasonable response to this situation." In interviewing women for her book on prenatal testing, Piepmeier found that many who chose abortion felt it "was an incredibly painful decision" but "recognized that the world is a difficult place for people with intellectual disabilities." Rather than banning abortions, North Dakota lawmakers "should make the state a welcoming place for people with disabilities," she writes, concluding, "Let women have abortions for whatever reason they choose, but make it a world they would like to bring a child into -- even a child with an intellectual disability" (Piepmeier, "Motherlode," New York Times, 4/1).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions in North Dakota:
~ "Why is North Dakota Torturing Women?" Jessica Valenti, The Nation.
~ "North Dakota's Only Abortion Clinic Isn't Going Anywhere," Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog."
~ "North Dakota Governor Justifies Abortion Bills, Local Activist Tries To Get Public Vote on Bans," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "North Dakota's Ban is a Bad Way To Stop Selective Abortion," Amy Julia Becker, The Atlantic.
"Seven States Working Hard To Shut Down Abortion Clinics," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress": Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers -- or TRAP -- laws "represent one of the most serious threats to reproductive rights in the nation," Culp-Ressler writes. "Under the guise of 'protecting women's safety,' Republican lawmakers are successfully pushing unnecessary, complicated restrictions on abortion clinics that will ultimately force them to close their doors," she explains. She highlights efforts to "undermine women's right to legal abortion services" in Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia that could affect abortion clinic operations (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 4/3).
"Nevada Lawmaker Receives Death Threats After Talking About Her Abortion," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": During testimony in support of proposed legislation (AB 230) that would require more comprehensive sex education in Nevada's public schools, state Assembly member Lucy Flores (D) shared "her own personal story about the consequences of inadequate sex ed -- all of her sisters became teenage mothers, and Flores herself decided to have an abortion when she became pregnant at 16," Culp-Ressler writes. Flores "faced some serious repercussions" -- including death threats -- "for her honesty about her own experience," Culp-Ressler reports. "Even though one in three U.S. women has had an abortion by the time she is 45 years old, pervasive stigma surrounding the topic prevents the vast majority of those women from feeling safe enough to talk about it," she adds, noting that "some women's health advocates insist that more people need to follow in Flores' footsteps and speak up about their own abortion stories -- including women of all walks of life, as well as the men whose partners have chosen an abortion" (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 4/4).