The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 74/No. 24      June 21, 2010

State laws used to go
after right to abortion
(front page)
DES MOINES, Iowa—About 370 antiabortion bills have been introduced in state legislatures in 2010, reports the Guttmacher Institute.

In Mississippi a new law prohibits insurers from covering abortion in the new “insurance exchanges” provided for in the federal health-care bill.

The Oklahoma legislature overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s vetoes of three antiabortion laws, the latest of which requires doctors performing abortions to answer 38 questions about each woman’s abortion, including her reason for wanting it.

New laws in Arizona restrict abortion coverage under the state employees’ health plan, Medicaid, and health insurance exchanges, and imposes stricter reporting requirements on doctors.

On April 13 Nebraska governor David Heineman signed a law outlawing most abortions 20 weeks or more after conception, citing the capacity of the fetus to "experience pain." The law it replaced set the limit based on fetal viability, generally considered to be at 22 weeks or later. The state’s legislature had passed the law by a 44-5 vote.

The new law provides for exceptions only in the case of medical emergency, the pregnant woman’s imminent death, or a serious risk of “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Last year after the murder of Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller by antiabortion rightist Scott Roeder, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, an abortion provider who has a clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska, announced he would begin carrying out late-term abortions in his clinic to replace the void left by Tiller’s murder.

Nebraska legislature leader Michael Flood spearheaded a campaign to restrict abortion rights. “Speaker Flood was in a position to do something to ensure that Nebraska does not become the late term abortion capital of the Midwest and we thank him for his diligence and leadership in introducing and prioritizing” the law, said Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life.

While the overall number of abortions has been declining since 1990, the rates among working-class women have gone up, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, a foundation that supports abortion rights. Some 69 percent of women choosing abortion have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level is only $10,830 for a single woman without children.

The report gave figures underlining the importance for women to have access to safe and legal abortion. “Each year, two percent of women aged 15-44 have an abortion; half have had at least one previous abortion,” the study stated.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home