Right-wing anti-women campaign failing challenge after challenge


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr


Credit: Steve Rhodes (Creative Commons license)

Women organizing is the key to the fight for reproductive rights. Today, 16 more abortion clinics in Texas were supposed to have been shut down by Texas’ very own reactionary TRAP law undermining women’s reproductive rights. Remember when Wendy Davis stood and spoke for 11 hours while thousands of women descended on the capitol to stop the legislation? That day was a victory for women’s rights for sure. But reactionary politicians have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves. Gov. Rick Perry then called a special session to pass the law despite the clearly popular opposition.

This year, that law closed half of the abortion clinics in Texas. But a U.S. district judge ruled Friday against additional key parts of the law in a legal challenge brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Only six abortion clinics in Texas would have been left open after today if he had not. The right-wing, state-by-state campaign to undo the rights won by the 1973 Roe v Wade decision has stalled in the face of resistance.

Since 2010, anti-choice reactionaries have introduced legislation in states across the country. They chose states where they thought a win was likely—Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina and so on—without much resistance. They even tried to ban abortion in the CITY of Albuquerque last November, and lost. TRAP stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers and describes a set of laws that effectively ban abortion while not fully banning abortion. Trap is an apt name for these anti-women laws.

TRAP laws include requirements for ultrasounds (transvaginal in some cases), waiting periods, mandatory inaccurate counseling, local admitting privileges for doctors, and costly and unnecessary upgrades for abortion clinics. The laws have also included outright bans on late-term abortions and restrictions on medical abortions. These laws effectively deny abortions to women in the states where they are enacted.

The women most affected by the laws are poor women. Clinics and centers that comply with the unnecessary upgrades have to raise the cost of abortions so as to become prohibitive. Women must take days off work and drive hundreds of miles to clinics for multiple visits and bogus required counseling visits. Five states in the country now have only ONE abortion clinic (Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)!

Women in these states are turning more and more to self-induced abortions. Abortion clinics provide a safe, simple medical procedure that is part and parcel of women’s health care—like birth control, mammograms and the like. Self-induced abortions are a serious danger to women’s health-often done incorrectly and more frequently resulting in injury and death.

The right-wing campaign hit its peak in 2011 and 2012 but resistance started building even then. Women took to the streets and to the internet to protest and decry the building attacks on reproductive rights. Mainstream women’s organizations have taken up legal challenges to the state legislation that are showing results. On Friday Aug. 29, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled against the Texas law, saying it created “an impermissible obstacle” to access to abortion for women in Texas. On Sunday Aug. 31, Federal Judge John deGravelles temporarily blocked Lousiana’s TRAP law and set a hearing in one month for a permanent ruling. Various elements of the reactionary laws have been successfully challenged in Kansas, Wisconsin, Arizona, Alabama and Mississippi too.

Women in the United States have shown that we will not sit idly by while the Supreme Court gives Hobby Lobby personhood rights so it can deny us access to birth control. We will not sit idly by as capitalist politicians try to deny young women birth control access—as the Obama administration did. We will not sit idly by while anti-women, anti-choice reactionaries try to deny our right to women’s healthcare, including abortion. It is up to us to organize ourselves to make sure we continue to challenge the right-wing onslaught. Victories in the courts and the legislature are only made possible when we demand them with our voices and our presence. It is up to us to organize ourselves to win our right to full reproductive rights.

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