So far this year, states have enacted 39 new restrictions on access to abortion. Although this is significantly lower than the record-breaking 80 restrictions that had been enacted by this point in 2011, it is nonetheless a higher number of restrictions than in any year prior to 2011. Most of the 39 new restrictions have been enacted in states that are generally hostile to abortion. …Fully 55% of U.S. women of reproductive age now live in one of the 26 states considered hostile to abortion rights. – Guttmacher Institute
THE WAR ON WOMEN in the 21st century exploded because of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, aided and abetted by the first female and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Pres. Obama, who needlessly signed an executive order, while also codifying the Hyde Amendment into the Affordability Care Act, making it the first time in history the ultra conservative legislation was in law for all time.
… The Obama Administration responded immediately by imposing a total ban on abortion coverage in the pools that echoes the Stupak Amendment, even though nothing in the law requires such action. …
[...] The FEHBP, like the Stupak Amendment, imposes a total ban on non-Hyde abortion care, meaning that non-federal money cannot be used to supplement premiums in order to purchase a plan that includes abortion coverage. Thus, without even any political or legislative benefit to receive in exchange, the Obama Administration has imposed a more restrictive abortion funding rule on PCIPs than is required for health insurance exchanges or Medicaid.
One would expect a Bush-style administration to “assume” that Hyde applies to the high risk pools or to interpret the Executive Order broadly to cover more than the exchanges and CHCs. But it is extremely disappointing to see an ostensibly pro-choice administration go out of its way to appease those who have always opposed health reform and who will continue to make political targets of those who voted for reform regardless of what the Administration does on abortion. It is never ok to trade women’s rights for political reasons, but in this case the calculus seems to be particularly bankrupt.
It was an easy layup from there for right-wing religious conservatives across the country. A mini-Stupak wave in 2010 that became a tsunami, the challenges to women’s self-determination rising without any overt court challenges to Roe v. Wade, because those in the so-called women’s movement today are too afraid that Roe could be overturned.
While the right fights to continue moving reproductive health care away from making self-determination for women easier, women’s groups and other allies keep losing through the decision to protect the status quo that keeps receding.
Meanwhile, Perry and his Health and Human Services executive commissioner, Thomas Suehs, vowed to create a new, entirely Texas-funded WHP. And Health and Human Services and the Texas Attorney General’s Office made it very clear in a letter to the 5th Circuit judges this week that in their WHP, doctors would be banned from even discussing the existence of abortion with their patients. [Dallas Observer Blogs]
What do women think would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned by SCOTUS, because of a challenge to what’s happening in the states? It would be a short-lived “victory,” because it would wake up the next generations of women, men too, to what happens when you compromise women’s civil rights, privacy and self-determination to religious conservatives who are against full freedoms and equality for women. Right now the argument over a woman’s right to basic self-determination continues in a hamster wheel of political insanity, while women are stripped of rights already won, state by state.
The fight would at least be real, instead of the current debate that revolves around Democrats being hailed as champions of women’s freedoms, which is certainly true to a point, especially when compared to Republicans, which is the main argument by Democrats to keep women voting for them, but always ends in compromise when compared to the individual equality men enjoy without demand.
Is this really what modern women in the 21st century are going to accept, settle for?
It doesn’t impact me, personally, but I continue to be amazed at the laziness of the feminist argument today that always ends in applause for Democrats, the very political party who enabled Stupak and resulted in the Hyde Amendment being codified in law, with the Affordability Care Act making it a lot harder for women to get emergency abortion surgery if they need it.
I’ll close with some better news, at least as of mid-year 2012, including the Mississippi judge that continues to block the closure of the only abortion clinic in that state. Then there’s this from Guttmacher:
Fourteen of the 19 states that include a line-item for family planning have adopted their state budgets as of July. Despite the continuing sad state of state budgets and the widespread attacks on family planning funding last year, no state has singled out family planning funding for draconian cuts so far this year. Ten states maintained level funding for their family planning programs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a measure that would have restored funding to the state’s program, which was eliminated in 2010. Maine slashed family planning funding by 25%, a cut in line with those taken to other health programs. And surprisingly enough, two states moved to increase funding: Minnesota restored $1 million in funding through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, and Virginia increased the 2010 funding level by 23%.
States also seem to be backing away from efforts to defund family planning providers. In 2011, eight states moved to disqualify at least some family planning providers from receipt of state family planning funds; so far this year, only three states have done so. Arizona adopted a measure disqualifying agencies that either provide abortions or that specialize in the provision of family planning services. Kansas and North Carolina disqualified specialized family planning providers from being eligible for state funding; litigation filed shortly after the Kansas provision was adopted has blocked enforcement of the provision, which is identical to one adopted–and enjoined–last year. Aside from the ongoing saga in Texas (see below), no other state has specifically taken aim at Planned Parenthood affiliates by name so far this year.
This article has been updated.