Tag Archives: Center for Reproductive Rights

Pro-Choice Groups Raise Alarm Ahead of House Vote to Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks

“Republicans in Congress failed to take healthcare from millions—so they’re trying to ban abortion and take away bodily autonomy”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-2-2017

A participant in the Washington, D.C. Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017 carried a sign promoting reproductive rights. (Photo: John Flores/Flickr/cc)

As the Republican-controlled U.S. House prepares to vote Tuesday on a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy nationwide, reproductive rights advocates are urging Americans to contact their congressional representatives and pressure them to oppose the measure.

The proposed law, H.R. 36 (pdf), outlaws terminating a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless it is the result of rape or incest, or a doctor determines that because of “a life-endangering physical condition”—but”not including psychological or emotional conditions”—abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.

If an abortion is performed after 20 weeks because an exception, the bill instructs “the abortion must be performed by the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive unless this would cause significant risk to the mother.”

The House passed versions of this proposal multiple times under former President Barack Obama, who vowed to veto it if the bill made it to his desk.

However, similar measures already have been passed in states across the country. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks restrictions on reproductive rights, 17 states “ban abortion at about 20 weeks post-fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain at that point in gestation.”

“The bill, misleadingly labeled as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is premised at least in part on the assertion that fetuses can experience pain starting at 20 weeks post-fertilization. However, that claim is not supported by the preponderance of scientific evidence,” the Guttmacher Institute’s director of public policy, Heather Boonstra, wrote for The Hill.

Boonstra denounced the bill’s “particularly callous and cruel rape and incest exceptions” that require a waiting period and consultations with additional providers, and outlines how “Congress and the Trump administration are moving in the wrong direction on contraceptive access” more broadly, concluding that “it’s clearer than ever that purported anti-abortion policies only serve an ideological agenda, but do not advance women’s health or public health more broadly.”

The bill is just the latest attack on women’s reproductive rights under the Trump administration. Several advocacy organizations have turned to social media in recent days to raise awareness about the House’s plan to vote on the measure Tuesday, and warn about the potential consequences of the proposed ban.

As Boonstra explained in her Hill op-ed: “Although the vast majority of abortions take place early in pregnancy, slightly more than one percent of abortions are performed at 21 weeks or later. A 20-week abortion ban would fall hardest on low-income women and women of color,” in part because “these are the very groups bearing a disproportionate burden of unintended pregnancies.”

Some have drawn connections between this revived proposal and congressional Republicans’ recent failed attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip basic healthcare from millions of Americans with a healthcare bill that experts also warned would have been especially damaging for women.

Others have been quick to argue that the ban would be unconstitutional.

Ultimately, opponents of the bill agree that it would unfairly and unnecessarily harm women.

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Rights Groups Prepare for Fight Against Arkansas’ Man-Approved Abortion Law

Law would require any woman seeking an abortion to get permission from the man who impregnated her

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-11-2017

Arkansas legislators have drawn harsh criticism from women’s rights groups after passing four new laws that would severely restrict abortion access. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr/cc)

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the American Civil Liberties Union’s suit to block several new anti-reproductive rights laws that have passed in Arkansas, which would impose severe restrictions on women’s abortion access in the state.

The group has joined with the Center for Reproductive Rights to keep the laws from going into effect, starting at the end of July. Continue reading

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Texas Finalizes ‘Callous’ Rule on Burial or Cremation of Fetal Remains

‘Forcing a woman to pay for a burial after she ends a pregnancy or experiences a miscarriage is not just absurd—it is an unnecessary burden and an intrusion on her personal beliefs’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-29-2016

"The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people's private healthcare decisions," said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. (Photo: Do512/flickr/cc)

“The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people’s private healthcare decisions,” said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. (Photo: Do512/flickr/cc)

As of December 19, Texas healthcare providers will be required to bury or cremate embryonic and fetal tissue that results from abortions or miscarriages at their facilities.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) finalized the new regulation on Monday, inviting a legal challenge from reproductive rights advocates, who strongly oppose the rule on the grounds that it has no medical or safety benefits, would be costly to implement, and could exacerbate what for some women is already a difficult experience. Continue reading

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‘Hoop After Hoop’: How Gulf Coast States Are Playing Politics with Women’s Health

“It’s just plain irresponsible for politicians to keep forcing doctors to go court just to ensure that they can provide the care that women need.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-3-2016

John Bel Edwards

John Bel Edwards. Photo:YouTube

Women on the Gulf Coast continue to face concerted attacks on their right to healthcare, as Louisiana passed new abortion restrictions this week and the ACLU sued Alabama over several recently enacted, draconian laws.

On Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed into law a bill banning the abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” or D&E—which women’s health experts say is the safest and most common method of abortion for women in their second trimester of pregnancy. Continue reading

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‘Hands Off My Birth Control’: Activists Demand US Supreme Court Protect Women’s Health

‘Denying any woman the healthcare she needs and is guaranteed by law is discrimination, plain and simple’

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-23-2016

'The question is, will the Court sanction the use of religion to discriminate?' wonders an American Civil Liberties Union legal expert. (Photo: Planned Parenthood/Twitter)

‘The question is, will the Court sanction the use of religion to discriminate?’ wonders an American Civil Liberties Union legal expert. (Photo: Planned Parenthood/Twitter)

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on Wednesday in Zubik v. Burwell, a reproductive rights case with high stakes and implications “far beyond the realm of reproductive healthcare,” as ProPublica observed.

In a case reminiscent of Hobby Lobby’s successful suit that permitted the for-profit corporation to refuse its employees healthcare coverage for birth control, in Zubik v. Burwell religious organizations argue that allowing their female employees to access birth control—even birth control provided by a third party—violates their religious rights. Continue reading

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