National Legislative Update

Read some of the accompanying statements so you can better understand what the National Legislative issues are really about.

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Anti-abortion folks have turned in their decades old bloody fetus posters which have failed to scare women and did not decrease public support for abortion rights, for new consumer protection posters of “regret”. Stating unsubstantiated numbers of women post abortion “experience grief or depression”.

“They are “trying to make themselves into a consumer protection movement, just trying to take this awful product of safe, legal abortion off the market for” our own good. — New York Times Poses Questions About Abortion but Isn’t Really Interested in the Answer 7.2.13 by Amanda Marcott

“But in terms of consumer products, frankly, abortion gets an A+.”

“Abortion is roughly 14 times safer than giving birth.” — The risk of death associated with a full-term pregnancy and delivery is 8.8 deaths per 100,000, while the risk of death linked to legal abortion is 0.6 deaths per 100,000 women, according to the study. That means a woman carrying a baby to term is 14 times more likely to die than a woman who chooses to have a legal abortion, the study finds. “Regardless of one’s sentiments about abortion, legal abortion is very safe, and dramatically safer than continuing the pregnancy,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.

As for the claim that women suffer from mental illness because of abortion, it has been repeatedly studied, and the American Psychological Association says, “no evidence of a link has been found”.

Republican legislatures in 13 states have argued that they introduce bills not to restrict access to legal abortions, but to improve the safety of women obtaining them. This is a known or an ignorant lie. The Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) has expressed opposition to Texas efforts to restrict access to safe, legal abortions opposing these “legislative proposals that are not based on sound science or that attempt to prescribe how physicians should care for their individual patients.”

“Our role is to ensure that policy proposals accurately reflect the best available medical knowledge. SB5/HB60 [one TX legislative attempt] will not enhance patient safety or improve the quality of care that women receive. This bill does not promote women’s health but erodes it by denying women in Texas the benefits of well-researched, safe, and proven protocols.” — 6.30.2013 by Zachary Pleat

Wisconsin, North Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Ohio have passed various laws restricting access in 2013. One of these laws was passed in Tennessee in 2012 requiring physicians who provide services in day surgery abortion clinics to have hospital privileges. Shutting down a clinic that had been providing services for 38 years, with TN Republican legislature, Stacy Campfield stating, “one [clinic] down, 7 to go”. Clearly showing this law was an excuse to close clinics, not about women’s safety.

“Hospitals often grant privileges only to physicians who guarantee minimum number of annual referrals, a requirement the abortion providers can’t meet because abortion problems that require hospitalization are rare [0.3% Guttmacher Institute] according to the [ACLU] lawsuit.  And some hospitals won’t grant admitting privileges to abortion providers out of political, ideological or religious reasons.”

Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich signed a 2-year budget that includes at least five new anti-abortion provisions. HB59 will defund Planned Parenthood clinics, reallocate family planning funding to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers, strip funding from rape crisis centers that give their clients any information about abortion services, impose harsh restrictions on abortion clinics that will force many of them to shut down, and require doctors to give women seeking abortion information about the presence of a “fetal heartbeat”. 52% of Ohio voters didn’t support the budget specifically because it includes attacks on reproductive rights, like defunding Planned Parenthood and shutting down abortion clinics.” —, 7.1.2013 by Tara Culp-Ressler

42% of women having abortions have income levels below the federal poverty line, and women have reported having “to borrow money from friends and family and forgo paying rent, groceries and utilities to pay for their procedure.” Guttmacher Institute and the New York Times reported on an ongoing longitudinal study that compared women who wanted to get an abortion but were denied to women who got the procedure. The study found that two years after being denied abortion services, women “were three times as likely to end up below the federal poverty line.”  — 7.5.2013 by Hannah Groch-Begley

If these Republican legislatures “want to truly be walking the walk of a pro-life agenda, they would be expanding Medicaid, they would be funding education, they would be doing everything in their power to end hunger, homelessness, illness,” said Busby [Heather Busby, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choic Texas] Texas “would not be last in education, with the most uninsured children; [Texas] would not have the highest teen pregnancy rate.” “They would not only be funding Planned Parenthood, but including it in the women’s health program. They would be expanding family planning services – that is how you truly reduce the need for abortion,” she said. Pro-Choice Activists Flood Texas Capitol in Round Two of Abortion Overhaul Battle 7.3.2013 by Candice Bernd, Truthout| Report


What The Abortion Fight Unfolding In Tennessee Means For The Rest Of The Country
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Abortion Anniversary
Activists on both sides of the abortion debate are already gearing up for a big fight in Tennessee this fall, preparing to pour millions of dollars into a campaign regarding an abortion-related ballot measure up for consideration in November. The issue at hand, which is related to one paragraph in Tennessee’s constitution, isn’t necessarily on most Americans’ radars. But the outcome of that fight could actually have big implications for women living in other states.
Essentially, when voters in Tennessee cast their ballots on Amendment 1, they’ll be deciding whether to give their state the power to restrict abortion more stringently than it currently does. Thanks to a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that defined abortion as a “fundamental” right, the state’s constitution actually has even broader protections for reproductive rights than the U.S. Constitution does. But Amendment 1 would strip out that proactive language and allow lawmakers to enact more hurdles to the medical procedure, like mandatory waiting periods and forced counseling requirements, that are currently considered to be unconstitutional.
The “Yes on 1” campaign is trying to raise $2.1 million to ensure the ballot initiative will pass, saying that it’s important to allow elected officials to determine state laws related to abortion. They’ve even enlisted Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who star in the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” to drum up public support for Amendment 1. Meanwhile, reproductive rights advocates are hoping to raise twice that much to defeat Amendment 1, making the argument that the campaign for the measure is based on an entirely misleading premise.
“Anti-choice members of the General Assembly claim that abortion is completely unregulated in Tennessee and argue that the amendment is necessary in order for them to place restrictions on or regulate access to abortion. However, the Assembly has been passing laws for years that do just that,” Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee notes on its site, pointing out that lawmakers have already imposed restrictions like abortion insurance bans and parental consent laws. And in general, abortion is a medical procedure that’s already highly regulated.
Ultimately, if Amendment 1 passes, it threatens to make it even more difficult to get an abortion in an area of the country where women’s reproductive rights are already under siege. Thanks to harsh restrictions on abortions that are forcing clinics out of business, a broad swath of the South is losing access to reproductive heath facilities altogether. Right now, Tennessee remains an option for women in neighboring states who are running out of other choices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four abortions performed in Tennessee are sought by a resident of a different state. The “Yes On 1″ campaign touts that statistic as evidence that the state is becoming ripe for “abortion tourism,” arguing that it points to the need for additional regulation. But reproductive rights advocates have a very different take on the issue — they say that women are crossing the border in Tennessee because it’s too hard to get an abortion in their own states, and enacting additional barriers in Tennessee will make a bad situation even worse.
“Abortion rights in the South are going away, and it’s tragic,” Jeff Teague, the president of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, told the Tennessean. “We’re creating a situation where women only in certain parts of the country have access. If the abortion amendment passes, we’re likely to see similar rights disappearing here.”
Over the past several years, as states have passed a record-breaking number of restrictions on abortion, there’s been an increase in the number of women crossing state lines to have the medical procedure. Clinic closures obviously send women farther in search of a facility where they can get an abortion, but they’re not the only type of situation in which women may choose to go to a different state. The type of requirements that Amendment 1 would allow Tennessee to enact, like forced waiting periods, make it more difficult for women to get an abortion because they often have to make multiple trips to a clinic. Some women choose to circumvent that situation by going to a state where there are fewer hoops to jump through.
So if the “Yes On 1″ campaign is ultimately successful, the new policty won’t just affect the women who live in Tennessee. It will also mean that the people in Alabama and Mississippi, where abortion clinics are dwindling, may have fewer places to turn to exercise their right to choose. It will further the emerging trend in the South that’s making abortion nearly impossible to get. And it will give the anti-choice ammunition for their claim that abortion isn’t really a constitutionally protected right.
So far, the concept behind Amendment 1 doesn’t appear to be very popular with the public. According to a recent Vanderbilt University poll, an overwhelming 71 percent of Tennessee voters don’t agree that the legislature should have more authority to restrict abortions. Even the majority of Republican voters are opposed to that concept. However, Vanderbilt researchers point out that doesn’t necessarily translate to a clear defeat for the ballot measure, depending on whether voters are swayed by the “Yes On 1″ campaign materials.