Women's rights activists won a partial victory in Texas recently, but it is no time to celebrate. The anti-abortion forces are on the attack in state after state.
On Oct. 28, a federal judge blocked portions of Gov. Rick Perry's anti-abortion law that the Texas governor had rammed through this summer. Part of the law required that doctors who perform abortions have hospital admittance privileges within 30 miles of their clinics.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the law was "without rational basis" and placed an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose.
Perry almost admitted as much. He has said that his goal is to make abortion "a thing of the past." And he's not alone in this underhanded effort.
Anti-abortion legislation is sweeping the country. According to the ACLU and the Center for American Progress, 2013 is set to be a "record-breaking year for state-level restrictions on women's reproductive rights."
Anti-abortion laws impose harsh and medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers. These laws damage, not protect, women's health. They hamstring providers, render clinics inoperable and make health care services inaccessible for women, particularly those who are low income and live in rural areas.
Moreover, the clinics most impacted by these laws are often the primary health care providers for women in their communities. So not only do women not receive abortion services, they also do not receive reproductive health care, birth control, wellness checkups, counseling and breast and cervical cancer screening.
According to a recent report by Planned Parenthood, the first half of the year saw as many abortion restrictions enacted as in all of 2012. It is no coincidence of geography that such laws are happening primarily in Republican-dominated states, like Texas, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Republicans cannot even claim they are simply obeying the will of the people. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year, a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most cases, and seven out of 10 surveyed opposed overturning Roe v. Wade.
These new laws cannot stand. They are about poaching constitutional rights away from women to advance a narrow political agenda.
Chaleigh Craft is a senior at Texas State University. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright Chaleigh Craft.
Photo: Flickr user ann harkness, creative commons licensed.