Slowly but surely, American women are losing the right to choose

With state legislatures and Congress going after abortion full force, “personhood” laws cropping up around the country, and even victims of rape and incest facing an increasingly callous, mostly male army of anti-abortion zealots in elected office, American women’s right to decide whether to give birth has never been in greater jeopardy.

From the Daily Beast:

Underground abortions have returned to the United States, just as pro-choice activists have warned for years. And women have started going to jail for the crime of ending their own pregnancies, or trying to.

This week Jennie L. McCormack, a 32-year-old mother of three from eastern Idaho, was arrested for self-inducing an abortion. According to the Associated Press, McCormack couldn’t afford a legal procedure, and so took pills that her sister had ordered online. For some reason, she kept the fetus, which police found after they were called by a disapproving acquaintance. She now faces up to five years in prison, as well as a $5,000 fine.

Idaho recently banned abortions after 20 weeks, and McCormack’s fetus was reportedly between five and six months old. But according to Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, under Idaho law, McCormack could have been arrested even if she’d been in her first trimester because self-induced abortion is illegal in all circumstances. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an 8- or 10- or 12-week abortion,” says Kolbi-Molinas. “If you do what you could get lawfully in a doctor’s office—what you have a constitutional right to access in a doctor’s office—they can throw you in jail and make you a convicted felon.”

While horrific, McCormack’s case is not unique. In recent years, several women have been arrested on suspicion of causing their own abortions, or attempting to. Most have come from conservative rural states with few clinics and numerous restrictions on abortion. In America’s urban centers and liberal enclaves, the idea of women being prosecuted for taking desperate measures to end their pregnancies might seem inconceivable, a never-again remnant of the era before Roe v. Wade. In fact, it’s a slowly encroaching reality.

Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled House crammed its docket with abortion bills this year — though they took up not a single jobs bill. And literally hundreds of anti-abortion bills were taken up in state legislatures across the U.S.

States with anti-abortion laws passed or pending. Source: NARAL.

The supposedly liberty-loving tea party movement has been completely consumed by “forced birth” zealotry.

But perhaps the most radical new tactic of the Christian right, which makes no attempt to hide its goal of controlling American life in every conceivable aspect, including the most intimate personal decisions, despite their being a distinct (and declining) minority within the population, are the so-called “personhood amendments“, which are sweeping across the country at an alarming pace. Here’s how a moderate Republican group describes them:

Radical members of the personhood movement are progressively moving forward in initiating personhood legislation within state legislators. If personhood legislation is passed and enacted into law, reproductive health and individual liberties face severe threats.

Personhood amendments serve as modifications to a state’s constitution establishing a legal definition of what constitutes a person – granting those rights and protections. If enacted, these initiatives will not only ban abortion in every instance but potentially prohibit women access to emergency contraception, birth control and in-vitro fertilization.

That site also lists the pending “personhood” amendments by state, and how close they are to passage. These amendments are so radical, they would make it a felony for a doctor to remove an ectopic pregnancy (such pregnancies are not viable, and could kill the woman carrying one), and would outlaw contraception entirely.

Clearly, the Christian right’s new tactic is to hurl a barrage of forced birth laws at the states and at the federal level, egging on legal challenges they hope will wind up in the right wing Roberts Supreme Court, where the ideological gang of four can be counted on to take the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. The only question in that case would be Justice Kennedy, who has proven quite amenable to many of his right wing colleague’s arguments.

If one of these laws were to wind up in front of the Court, women’s right to determine what happens inside their own bodies, or even to resist a government order to bear the child of a rapist, would be in the hands of one man.

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8 Responses to Slowly but surely, American women are losing the right to choose

  1. bmull says:

    I often wonder why the pro-choice lobby is so ineffective, while the NRA is very effective. The most obvious answer is that NARAL is incompetent. If so, why is that and what can be done?

  2. Pingback: Bill Kristol Admits GOP ‘Making a Mistake’ by Slashing Corporate Taxes; In California, Efforts to Ban Circumcision Gain Momentum; Nevada Legislature Passes Transgender Housing and Public Accomodations Protections; and more… » Daily

  3. Kate says:

    This is so disgusting. As a woman who is completely capable of making my own choices for my own body, I am horrified and dismayed that my rights are quickly disintegrating before my eyes. We need a voice. We need LOUD voices. Why are we so cowed that we never hear the other side of the story? We’re letting our rights that our mothers and grandmothers worked so hard for slip through our fingers. I’m honestly starting to be afraid to have sex at all. I guess that’s what they wanted.

  4. Teresa says:

    It’s about time women speak up. This is ridiculous and younger women will soon be losing rights that have been handed to them by women that came before them. I am capable of making decisions that affect my body. I don’t see the radical right lining up to adopt children that are not wanted.

  5. Robert says:

    I am absolutely appalled at the theocratic bigots that are raising so much money and concentrating on making life so much harder and worse than it needs to be. Rather than making this country like Saudi Arabia they should move there.

  6. Jodi says:

    I guess the people are speeking. Maybe more people are Pro Life.

  7. John says:

    NO Jodi, men (and religion) are taking control of your bodies again and you should be PISSED! Pissed off enough to do something, to stop them.

  8. Alex says:

    More people are not “pro-life,” since anything brought before the public get overwhelmingly voted down (like Colorado’s personhood amendment last November). But it doesn’t matter if the majority didn’t support choice. Nobody has the right to make a capable adult’s medical decisions for them. End of story.

    Politicans are not doctors and neither are my neighbors. Anti-choice rhetoric is full of biological fallacies. I’m qualified to make medical decisions because it’s my physical and mental health at stake. You’re welcome to do the same for yourself.

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