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January 22, 2016

FEATURED BLOG

"Women Are Still Being Denied the Full Benefits of Roe v. Wade," Heidi Williamson, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "At this point," on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, "many Americans may assume that it's easier than ever to access abortion services -- but nothing could be further from the truth," Williamson writes. According to Williamson, "Roe was profound not only because it affirmed women's basic right to health care and well-being through abortion care, but also because it ushered in medical standards and regulations that ensured women were safe during the procedure," helped "bolste[r] the success of the then-newly established Title X program" and strengthened women's "ability to pursue educational and economic opportunities." However, despite these advances, "women have been denied the full benefits of Roe for decades," she writes, pointing to the Hyde Amendment and the "undue burden" standard established in the Supreme Court's 1992 Planned Parenthood [v.] Casey decision. Williamson writes, "Ever since [the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision], , states have increasingly sought ways to encroach upon a woman's ability to access abortion care. More than 200 state-level abortion restrictions have been enacted since 2010 -- almost the same number as the total number enacted in the 15 previous years." The Supreme Court this year will consider "Whole [Woman's] Health v. Cole, the most significant women's health case since Casey," Williamson continues, noting that the high court could either "affirm Roe in a manner that enables the right to abortion and ensures access for the most vulnerable women in Texas" or further restrict women's right to abortion by upholding the law (HB 2) and permitting states "to restrict other reproductive health procedures through legislation that is neither medically necessary nor grounded in evidence." She concludes, "On this 43rd anniversary of Roe, we must reflect on how far we are from realizing its promise and recommit ourselves to ensuring universal access to reproductive health services that includes abortion access for all women in need -- regardless of their race, zip code, region, or source of insurance" (Williamson, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress,1/21).

What others are saying about the Roe v. Wade anniversary:

~ "How Roe v. Wade Survived 43 Years of Abortion Wars," Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones.

~ "8 Stories That Show What Abortion Was Like Before Roe v. Wade," Stephanie Hallett, Ms. Magazineblog.

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"43 Years Later, Anti-Choice Advocates Continue To Ignore 'Roe,'" Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "Forty-three years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, ... when it comes to abortion rights" the "legal landscape [is] arguably as hostile and confusing for many pregnant patients as it was before Roe," Mason Pieklo writes. For example, Mason Pieklo highlights Texas' HB 2 -- an omnibus antiabortion-rights law that includes targeted regulations of abortion providers -- and a pending Supreme Court challenge to the measure, noting, "Should the State of Texas succeed in defending those restrictions this spring before the [Supreme] Court, the result could be a fresh new wave of abortion clinic closures across the country." Further, as TRAP laws cause reproductive health care providers to close, patients will increasingly "have onlyCatholic facilities from which they can seek services," Mason Pieklo notes. She continues, "[W]ith those facilities refusing to provide contraception, abortion, sterilization, or related reproductive health care to [their] patients ... what good is a constitutional right to abortion if doctors and hospitals can legally refuse to provide it?" In addition, Mason Pieklo draws attention to a case in Tennessee in which a woman was "indicted ... on a charge of attempted murder under the state's general homicide statute" after "allegedly ... attempt[ing] to induce her abortion." She writes that this case "send[s] the express message to other pregnant people in Tennessee that should they try and terminate a pregnancy themselves, they will face a choice: Seek medical care for complications and go to prison, or avoid care for any complications altogether." While "the anniversary of Roe v. Wade marks an important milestone for gender equality and ... the reproductive rights movement," it "no longer marks progress forward," Mason Pieklo writes, pointing to the Hyde Amendment and state-level abortion restrictions. She urges "reproductive rights advocates to move past the anniversary," noting that "it's more of a reminder that no matter the law, conservatives will never quit with their attacks on women's bodies and our ability to manage them" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 1/22).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "As Anti-Abortion Groups Gather in D.C., a New High Profile for a Radical Movement," Miranda Blue,Huffington Post blogs.

~ "The Miseducation of California Nurses: Legal Loophole Enables Spread of Anti-Choice Medical Myths," Nicole Knight Shine, RH Reality Check.

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"New Poll Finds Public Is Outraged by Anti-Choice Laws Once They Learn About Them," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "A new national poll commissioned by the National Institute for Reproductive Health ... finds that less than half of voters are aware of" the increasing number of state-level abortion restrictions, "[b]ut once they learn about [this trend], they're not happy about it," Dusenbery writes. According to Dusenbery, the poll found that "[n]early two thirds say these anti-choice laws are taking us in the wrong direction and huge majorities support policy proposals to ... undo them: to ensure, above all, that abortion is regulated based on medical evidence, not politicians' political beliefs." Further, "the poll also found widespread agreement about what the abortion experience should be like: safe, legal, informed by accurate medical information, respectful, supportive, affordable, and without shame," she writes. She adds, "In other words, the vast majority of American voters -- whether they identify as pro-choice or pro-life, whether they think abortion is morally wrong or not, whether they'd personally get one or wouldn't dream of it -- think abortion should be a positive experience for those who do chose it." This finding puts "[the majority of Americans] utterly out of step with the anti-choice extremists currently populating our state legislatures -- a fact they may just not realize." According to Dusenbery, the poll also found that the number of "proactive pro-choice state bills, both proposed and enacted, more than doubled between 2014 and 2015," with 76 such bills passing in 31 states last year. Noting that NIRH has made a "'playbook for abortion rights' that includes dozens of model bills to advance reproductive health and rights," she concludes, "it's past time for those of us with public opinion on our side to get in the game" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 1/21).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Illegal Abortions Onscreen: Depictions of a Pre-'Roe' World," Renee Bracey Sherman/Gretchen Sisson, RH Reality Check.

~ "Reclaiming Roe for Women at Home and Abroad: Time To End Hyde and Helms," Serra Sippel,Huffington Post blogs.

~ "Desperate for Abortion Care, Women in Texas Are Pawning Their Wedding Rings," Callie Beusman, VICE's "Broadly."