Your grassroots efforts stopped the worst bill for women in a generation last week — a major victory for Planned Parenthood patients and the millions who would have lost health care throughout the country. For months, an army of pink-clad Planned Parenthood patients, supporters, and advocates have been a driving force in keeping attacks on health care at bay.
But Trumpcare wasn’t the only attack on women’s health that patients faced this summer.
Despite the groundswell of organizing and opposition, extreme politicians have proven they’ll do everything in their power to roll back women’s health and rights. Republican-led state legislatures are sending harmful, anti-women legislation to governors’ desks.
Here are five recent devastating attacks on women’s health to pay attention to:
1. In Iowa: Planned Parenthood centers shuttered
Ignoring the opposition of thousands of Iowans, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a Planned Parenthood “defunding” measure that forced four Planned Parenthood centers to close in June.
But wait...there’s more: These attacks had an immediate impact on Iowa women — leaving nearly 15,000 Iowans without access to their trusted health care provider instantly.
2. In Texas: an extremist, anti-women governor
Gov. Greg Abbott — who leads the Republican legislature that voted to shutter Planned Parenthood centers in 2013 — is an outspoken, unabashed opponent of women’s health who called a special session on July 18 solely to slash access to health care for women.
Items on Abbott’s anti-women agenda are already taking shape in the Texas state Senate. Last week, lawmakers approved an anti-abortion bill that would prevent local and state government agencies from having contracts — like financial contracts or lease agreements — with abortion providers.
And as the Texas Tribune reports, “the only abortion provider in the state affected by the bill would be Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions at surgical centers separate from their clinics that offer standard reproductive health care.”
In short, Abbott and his gynoticians are launching yet another direct attack on Planned Parenthood.
(gy·no·ti·cian) n. :
A politician who feels more qualified than you or your doctor to make your personal health care decisions.
But wait...there’s more: Abbott loves to say that Healthy Texas Women — the so-called “replacement” for Planned Parenthood centers — is a “success,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The state-led program has served 44,000 fewer low-income women since it “replaced” Planned Parenthood in 2013.
3. In Missouri: discriminatory abortion clinic laws
Missouri’s all-red state Senate recently voted to make it legal to discriminate against women who are pregnant, have had an abortion, or use birth control.
Yeah, you read that right.
If the Missouri state House approves this devastating bill, employers and could turn women down for jobs — and even fire them — if they find out they’re pregnant, have had an abortion, or use birth control. Landlords could also deny women housing for these reasons.
But wait...there’s more: The Missouri state Senate also voted to pass new abortion restrictions — such as requiring that fetal tissue samples be examined by pathologists — that make accessing safe, legal abortion an even more difficult, unfair, and drawn-out process for Missouri women.
4. In Arkansas: excessive abortion restrictions
Arkansas gynoticians passed a handful of laws that would make safe, legal abortions much harder to access.
Scheduled to go into effect this summer and early next year, here’s what these invasive, cruel laws would do:
1) Force a woman to notify her partner or other family members — effectively allowing other people to have a say in her abortion for her. This law would even require a victim of rape to notify their rapist.
2) Ban "dilation and evacuation," which is one of the safest and most common procedures for safe, legal second trimester abortion.
3) Require that a woman show all of her pregnancy medical records to the doctor performing the abortion before the procedure takes place.
4) For patients under 14, require that physicians take certain steps to preserve fetal tissue and notify police where the patient resides.
But wait...there’s more: The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed lawsuits challenging these harmful laws in court. Seeing the danger in these restrictions, a federal judge in Arkansas blocked them. But the fight isn’t over yet. The Arkansas legislature passed a fifth anti-abortion law — this time a TRAP law — which will be argued in court later this month.
5. In Kentucky: just one abortion clinic left
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has slapped TRAP law after TRAP law on women’s health centers throughout the state. His mission? To create onerous regulations for clinics for the sole purpose of blocking women from accessing care.
Bevin’s unfair TRAP laws — including the unrealistic provision that every health center be located within 20 minutes of a hospital — have been so extensive that only one health center in the entire state of Kentucky, EMW Women's Surgical Center, is allowed to provide abortions.
If that wasn’t enough, anti-women’s health protesters have been camped outside Kentucky’s only remaining abortion provider for weeks, harassing patients and attempting to prevent patients from entering the clinic.
But wait...there’s more: Whether or not the clinic will be allowed to stay open will be decided in court this fall. But for now, Kentucky women have just one option for obtaining a safe, legal abortion — unless they have the resources to leave Kentucky and seek the care they need in another state.