States Pass the Same Dangerous Restrictions, While Planned Parenthood Action Fund Calls for New Leadership
NEW YORK — Upon the heels of a new report making plain that access to a range of birth control methods is playing an important role in reducing unintended pregnancy and decreasing the need for abortion, states continue to debate and pass alarming bills that will harm women’s health by restricting access to quality providers, delaying abortion so it’s later in pregnancy, or banning doctors from following evidence-based guidelines for care. Politicians are pushing these dangerous restrictions in states where safe and legal abortion is already highly restricted.
“It’s only five weeks into the new year, and already out-of-touch politicians are passing dangerous and unconstitutional bills that will have a real impact on thousands of women if they are signed into law,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
For example, today Indiana state senators passed new, targeted restrictions on abortion providers opposed by local ob-gyns — even while restrictions enacted last year were blocked from enforcement while a lawsuit proceeds. In Kentucky, state senators are likely to vote this week on an intrusive mandatory ultrasound bill similar to laws struck down by state and federal courts in North Carolina and Oklahoma. Having already enacted restrictions on abortion that have led to lengthy litigation, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant called further restrictions on abortion a goal this year, and the House is expected to vote this week on an abortion ban similar to ones struck down in Arizona and Idaho, and temporarily blocked in Georgia. Missouri currently only has only one abortion provider, yet extreme representatives there are poised to pass a bill that would triple the state-mandated waiting period for an abortion, thus forcing abortion later into a woman’s pregnancy. Meanwhile, the Department of Health Services in Arizona wrote new rules for abortion providers with provisions similar to policies opposed by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“The only way to stop these dangerous bills from passing in the first place — and to protect women’s health — is to make a change in leadership at the state level,” Richards continued. “Just ask the people of New Hampshire, where new leaders that value women’s health were elected, and as a result a multi-year campaign against Planned Parenthood’s patients was abandoned. Last week, state leaders unanimously voted to restore funding for 14,000 women who receive free and low-cost birth control and health exams at Planned Parenthood health centers.”
In 2012, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund partnered to elect Colin Van Ostern and Chris Pappas, two candidates who ran on a platform of re-attuning the focus of the Executive Council back to its primary role of fostering good jobs and strong communities. They have stuck to that promise by protecting women’s access to free and reduced cost preventive health services at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. On January 29, 2014 — two and a half years after three former councilors led a crusade against Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s patients — the Title X program at Planned Parenthood was restored by a vote of 4-0.
In recent years, politicians have waged an unprecedented assault on women’s access to reproductive health care at the state level. Using bogus claims of protecting “women’s health and safety,” extreme politicians across the country have been chipping away at reproductive rights, state-by-state. In fact, a report issued in January found that more state abortion restrictions were enacted in 2011–2013 than in entire previous decade. This is despite polls showing that a majority of Americans (70 percent) oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“No matter what comes our way, Planned Parenthood is fighting back with everything we’ve got, wherever we need to. This week alone, Planned Parenthood is fighting for thousands of women in statehouses and court rooms from Indiana to Mississippi — all while more than 700 Planned Parenthood health centers care for patients across the country,” said Richards.