Roe v. Wade Under Attack: State-Level Initiatives to Watch

Women's Health Matters CartoonAs we move into the 2012 election year, the war on women has become more extreme and effective. Since December, we’ve seen a stark increase in the number of state-level bills that severely restrict access to abortion services. While Roe v. Wade is still  technically the law of the land, the strategy of anti-choice advocates has become obvious: just keep pushing back reproductive rights in each state and eventually Roe v. Wade will be obsolete without the public uproar that would surround a Supreme Court  case.

In the last week of 2011, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed provisions, similar to those passed in Virginia in September,  which impose hospital-type standards upon medical offices that provide abortion services. These procedures are placing an impossible financial burden on abortion providers in the attempt to force them to shut their doors. Because of these new Pennsylvania provisions, expect Pennsylvania residents to encounter severe restrictions in trying to access abortion services specifically as well as reproductive health services generally.

Keep in mind that abortion services are already difficult to access in Pennsylvania – approximately 57 out of 67 counties do not have abortion providers, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Moreover, in the wake of these reforms, the cost of an abortion is anticipated to skyrocket from $350 to $1,000, putting this critical reproductive health service even more out of reach for Pennsylvania residents.

Another point of concern in the upcoming election season is the resurgence of personhood amendments. Pro-choice advocates were hopeful that the crushing defeat of Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment (thanks, in part, to a strong progressive faith voice in the state) would cut off the support for similar ballot initiatives in other states. Unfortunately, we can now expect to see a Personhood Amendment alongside the already anticipated Heartbeat Bill on the 2012 Ohio ballot.

This year and this election season might mark a significant turning point in the ability for a woman to choose whether to pursue abortion care, and or even to attain basic reproductive health services. Keep checking RACblog for updates as 2012 continues.

Pictures courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Center

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Katharine Nasielski

About Katharine Nasielski

Katharine Burd Nasielski is the Communications Associate at the RAC and was an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant from 2011-2012. She graduated in 2011 from Northwestern University and is originally from Philadelphia, PA where she is a member of Society Hill Synagogue.


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