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2011: Potentially the worst year for US women’s reproductive rights since 1973

15 February 2011

The religious, big-government-loving, authoritarian right, possibly along with an embarrassing number (any number greater than zero) of shitbag so-called liberals and other assorted misogynists in the state-level peanut galleries are at it again.  This post is a list of pro-forced-birth bills and proposals so far this year, as in a month and a half into 2011, that aim to undermine Roe and obliterate women’s bodily autonomy.  Please let me know in comments if I’ve missed any, and the post will be updated.

New additions are marked red.  Last updated 11 May. 

Current states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia.



A House Health Committee public hearing: As in a bunch of other states, the Committee is talking about a ban on abortions after 20 weeks with an exception for “the death of the mother or to avoid substantial, irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function” and without an exception for any other reason, including irreversible physical impairment of the fetus.  Apparently no vote was taken so that “proponents and opponents [can] talk to see if they can find a middle ground.”  Ground in the middle of women’s bodies, of course, ’cause it’s not like we own them ourselves.


HB-2443: This bill would prohibit doctors from providing abortions requested due to the fetus’s race or sex (even though, as the article states, the vast majority of abortions take place before 13 weeks, but sex can’t usually be determined before 17 weeks).  This may be more of an exploitative move to scare abortion providers, given that it would allow the potential-father (but only if they’re married!) or the woman’s parents (if she’s underage) to sue the provider “on behalf of the unborn child.” 24 Mar update: The House has spoken; the bill is headed to Governor Brewer, who we all know and love for being terrible about basically everything.  It would be kind of funny if she voiced her support for all the unborn brown babies via this bill after signing SB-1070 last year–funny, you know, if it weren’t so fucking disgusting.


HB-415, or “Florida for Life Act”: This unapologetically religious revamp of the “fetal personhood” flop says that the Christian god as understood by whatever strain of Baptism the minister-rep Van Zant follows creates all life at conception, thus all abortion (and maybe birth control) should be banned, except in cases of medical emergency.  But not rape or incest–I know because I did a ctrl-f inside the bill’s pdf.  Detectivism!

Added 11 MayHB-1127 and HB-1247 both passed the Senate earlier this month.  One is a typical “informed consent” ultrasound bill (women haven’t thought this through, and are also stupid!).  The other makes it more difficult for underage girls to access abortion.  They either have to send first-class mail to their parents and also have their physician fill out a form documenting oral notification of the parents, or they have to go to court to try to get the requirement waived.  A court appearance itself is potentially traumatic for some without the added issues of either being known by the court staff or having to arrange transportation to another part of the state to avoid recognition.


Added 23 FebHB-1: This gem of a bill, which begins by renaming abortion to “prenatal murder” and bullshitting outright about the “abundantly clear” negative impacts of abortions on every single person in Georgia in every imaginable way, would make a fetus a person “from the moment of conception,” and also make it a felony for individuals to be involved in a “murder” (including in cases of miscarriages that can’t be proven to be unintentional).  Bobby Franklin et al. additionally want to take Georgia’s eggs and go home because “Georgia was not a party to the suit in Roe v. Wade, and is not bound by a decision in which it did not have right of participation.”  Bonus points for the “prenatal murder is contrary to the health and well-being of citizens of this state and to the state itself” language, which quite explicitly delineates women’s bodies as public property and incubators existing to serve the State.  [See Misty’s post on Shakesville for more info on this roll of toilet paper.]  On the bright side, since “Georgia has the duty to protect all innocent life from the moment of conception until natural death,” I’m excited that this bill will also outlaw the exploitation of animals for human consumption.  Score!  Right, guys? …hello?

Added 24 MarSB-209 and 210: SB-209, the bill that began as banning abortions after 20 weeks, would now also require that only licensed hospitals perform them.  How many hospitals currently offer abortions?  Nobody seems to know.  In Georgia, as in most other states, the majority of abortions are performed at health clinics and private doctors offices.  According to the AJC, the Rules Committee also passed SB-210, through which doctors “can be sued for wrongful death” (by whom, I wonder) if they fail to follow all stipulations such as notifying parents and providing ultrasounds.


Added 24 MarSB-1165: The Senate voted 24-10 to ban abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the fetus’s human container.  There are no exceptions for rape, incest, the health of the fetus, or the psychological health of the woman.  Senator Stennett (D-Ketchum) noted that provisions in the bill could also give rapists standing to sue doctors without restriction.  Charming!


Added 11 May – A few months ago, HB-1210 happened (usually-illegal-after-first-trimester except for health of the woman, 18-hour waiting period, emotional manipulation via ultrasound and “fetal pain,” written consent, blah blah, etc. etc.).  It hasn’t (yet) passed.  Perhaps it hasn’t passed because of the totally-opposite-of-reality statements about “the natural protective effect of a completed pregnancy in avoiding breast cancer”?  Wait, no, a bill just like it passed in the Senate in April.  Sayeth Sen. Miller, SB-328 “helps [women] with objective scientific information” by lying to them about abortion causing infertility.  The bill could also cause “all federal funding for family planning” to be lost, which would mean massive cuts and shut-downs of low-income centers and programs throughout the state.  Sue Swayze says it’s cool, though, ’cause you can just go to Walmart instead.  I get my cancer and STD screenings there all the time.


House Files 5, 153:  Still hot from the Iowa Supreme Court’s vote to repeal gay marriage, some Republican reps contend that making abortion illegal after 20 weeks isn’t good enough–it must be made illegal after zero weeks.  A bunch more odious bills are also proposed from various directions, including a resolution to define a single embryonic cell as constituting legal personhood. 23 Feb update: 153 has passed a House subcommittee.


Added 11 May – House shithead LaBruzzo wants to make all abortions, no exceptions, a “feticide”–which is already punishable by up to 15 years plus hard labor.  Not for the human incubator, of course; that part was an accident, whoops!  Just for the doctor who abides by national law, I guess.  LaBruzzo, to perhaps the only credit he’ll ever have, at least “admits his proposal is intended as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.”  A shithead with moxie!  I hope my sarcastemptuousness is clear here!  Mother Jones also reports that “The Bayou State’s legislature passes bills related to abortion almost every year. Last year, it passed two—”  Click over to reveal their secrets and see what other doozies there have been.  Your internet will be refunded if the class eugenics bills don’t make you make a face.  [H/T Me Here Now in comments]


Added 24 FebLB-232: This bill takes South Dakota’s shelved “justifiable homicide” provision even further, using language that’s possibly vague enough to extend killing rights to basically whomever.  I’m not familiar enough with the minutiae of law to understand the full scope of the “[non-obligation] to retreat when in the other’s dwelling” language, but I could definitely imagine people citing it to justify protesters storming/raiding facilities that offer abortions.  Hmm, that’s not scary at all…

Added 24 Mar: The law banning abortion after 20 weeks also applies to a fetus with a less-than-10% chance of a viable heartbeat/functional lungs and a less-than-2% chance of being “able to perform the most basic functions on its own, such as eating.” Compassionate conservatives!


The ‘Heartbeat Bill’ [Warning: The link auto-starts an annoying-ass ad before the actual video.]: This would ban the abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be discerned, even though this can be as early as 18 days–too soon for virtually any outward signs of pregnancy to be noticed (including missed periods, usually the first indication).  Even at six weeks, when the heart should have developed, the embryo resembles a shrimp more than a human, and is thus months from viability.  2 Mar update: As part of a desperate publicity stunt by dominion theologists and other assorted fundamentalists, two 9-week-old fetuses are going to “testify” before the Ohio House Health Committee today.  But, you know, as Kellie Copeland of NARAL Ohio told ThinkProgress, Faith2Action won’t be inviting any fully-realized women who’ve had abortions to testify about that.  Who cares about them?  (Certainly not Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, who planned to bar pro-choice advocates from speaking.)  Oh, also?  Check out Guttmacher’s pie chart showing that about 62% of abortions in the US occur before nine weeks–by far the largest slice of that pie–and another 17% occur within the next three weeks.  I wonder why Faith2Action would choose to show a fetus that’s further along, and therefore less tadpole-looking.  Actually, no I don’t.  (And one final note for now: Faith2Action’s Janet Folger Porter has opined that this bill “will be an arrow in the heart of Roe vs.[sic] Wade.”  But of course that’s not another example of violent or eliminationist language from the Right.  What would give you that idea?)


Added 2 Apr – HB-3512: Still in House Committee, this bill looks a lot like all those other bills that would ban abortion after 20 weeks except in blah blah medical emergency whatever.  I’m running out of things to say about this line of bills.  Also see SB-901 and HB-3425 at the link provided.

South Dakota

HB-1171: This bill would make murdering an abortion provider a “justifiable homicide” if the killer has a certain relationship to the incubation machi–er, woman.  Whether or not she wanted the abortion isn’t vaguely relevant, because women are incapable of making their own decisions.  24 Feb update: Though the bill passed House Judiciary Committee by a 9-3 vote, it is now suspended indefinitely, due to the fact that some remotely decent people actually read it.

Added 24 Mar – HB-1217:  25 states currently require a 24-hour waiting period, but South Dakota legislators want to prove that their state can be the best at this.  Governor Daugaard has legalized a 72-hour waiting period.  In a 77,116-square-mile state with exactly one abortion provider, located in Sioux Falls.  Sioux Falls is located in the southern section of the eastern border of the state (over 300 miles from the western border) and has a metro area population of 228,261 as of last year.  Which, by my brilliant calculation of numbers taken from wiki, leaves 571,739 people, about half of them women, living in cities without access to abortion providers.


A ‘sonogram bill’ still in committee: So far, this bill would require women to look at/have all the details of a sonogram ‘explained’ to them and listen to a heartbeat at least two hours before the procedure.  Because women, who apparently have abortions like coffee in the morning, think that there’s COTTON CANDY growing in there or something.  23 Feb update: A sonogram and 24-hour waiting period requirement (without mandatory sonogram viewing) passed the House subcommittee today; the bill will go to the House next.  A similar bill in the Senate passed with exceptions for rape/incest/an abnormal fetus and a shorter waiting period.  24 Mar update: HB-15, which may require the incubator-woman to view a sonogram, listen to a heartbeat if it exists, sit through the doctor’s description of the fetus, and then wait 24 hours, is apparently a ‘new and improved’ version of SB-16.

Added 23 Feb: The Texas Legislature Online has a bill database searchable by author/sponsor, subjects, committee, and actions. [H/T Chris]  As of today, there are 19* bills mentioning abortion: HB-15, SB-16, HJR-22, HJR-55, HB-85, SB-130, HB-201, SB-230, HB-325, SB-404, HB-552, HB-561, HB-580, HB-779, HB-797, HB-816, HB-1078, HB-1478, and HB-1602.  Uhh, yikes.  [*See the next update for what’s really bill 20, although abortion isn’t mentioned directly.]

Added 2 Mar – SB-257: the “Choose Life” license plate bill, beloved of Gov. Rick Perry, is something I personally cannot wait to see come to fruition on the backs of all the H3s down here.  The phrase “choose life,” contrary to what Rep. Larry Phillips and others have claimed, has a very specific meaning in US culture.  That meaning has very little to do with adoption, and everything to do with policing women’s personal bodies.  Adoption is only one possible outcome of “choosing life”–a decision which, even in best-case scenarios, results in at least nine months of substantial physical, mental, financial, and occupational repercussions.  As Blake Rocap of NARAL Texas stated, the money earned through these plate sales doesn’t go to government-affiliated adoption organizations that can be of assistance to pregnant women seeking this option (or, you know, to help adopt out kids who are already here), but instead funds unlicensed “crisis pregnancy centers” that are overwhelmingly anti-choice, anti-contraceptive, anti-comprehensive-sex-ed, and fundamentalist Christian in nature.  (They’re usually behind the billboards that say shit like “Pregnant? Scared? You’re not alone–call our 800-number for help” alongside a picture of a sad but conventionally attractive teenage girl.)  The only thing many of these clinics give an actual fuck about is scaring women out of getting abortions through any misinformation and emotional ploys necessary.  All the pro-forced-birth bumper stickers down here are bad enough reminders that women’s bodies are considered public property without the normalizing white noise of state-sponsored uterus policing.  “Choose Life” = Support Adoption, my entire ass, and I invite this bill’s proponents to eat shit for thinking that all Texas residents are stupid enough to fall for their ruse.


Added 25 Feb – A hospital regulation bill in the Virginia General Assembly:  This bill is about things like regulating numbers of beds, parking spaces, and gurneys that can pass each other in the hallway–things that don’t apply to clinics like they do to hospitals.  As the article notes, requiring such prohibitively expensive, structurally significant, and superfluous remodeling will likely cause 17 of 21 clinics that provide first-trimester abortions in the state to shut down.  It passed in the Senate by a 21-20 vote (natch, all of the Republicans, and yawn, two “conservative Democrats”), with support from the Governor. [H/T Chris]


Huge H/T to ThinkProgress and Shakesville, where I found the links to most of these bills.

Also see NARAL’s Legislative Landscape chart on House members, Senators, and Governors.

And the attempts to basically axe Planned Parenthood.

And, if you missed it before, HR-3.  Added 11 May: These are the Democrats who voted for HR3, which passed the House, by the way.  Just look at all those (mostly white, mostly old, overwhelmingly male) shitheads.  If you’re a woman, these people despise you and the idea that you own your own body.  And because they’re Democrats, the party that caresy-waresy so muchy-wuchy about us ladies, there’s a good chance that you voted for them without knowing that.

Added 18 Feb: On the 15th, NARAL released a statement about HR-358, which would allow hospitals to refuse to perform an abortion even when the death of the fully-realized adult woman is certain without it.  (An aside: if you’re a doctor and you think this is okay, get out.  Get the fuck out of the medical profession immediately.)  HR-358 would also attempt to pick up where the Stupak-Pitts Dudemendment left off with regard to banning insurance coverage.  Don’t Get Between Me and My Doctor, my entire ass.

Added 18 Feb: Mother Jones has an interactive US map showing various abortion restrictions in place by state.  25 states are currently on the mandatory waiting period tab, for fuck’s sake. [H/T Jeff]

Added 2 Mar: I’ – stories from women who aren’t sorry they had an abortion.  You can submit your own story, too.

Added 2 Mar: reports that in addition to Georgia and Texas attempting to copy Ohio’s “heartbeat bill,” Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona are also trying to get their disgusting stately mitts on it.  They’ll be updated/added to this post as more concrete information becomes available.

Added 24 Mar: The NAF’s Access to Abortion pdf is a short and important read regarding restrictions and limitations on getting to abortion providers throughout the US.


This post will unfortunately continue to be updated as the anti-woman machine rolls on.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 February 2011 21:08

    I keep seeing these all over the place, but I’ve had trouble keeping track of which state is doing which crappy thing. Thanks for compiling it!

    • 24 February 2011 21:22

      Yeah, I’m keeping track of it and I’m still barely keeping track of it. It doesn’t help that some states have multiple bills in committee or bills based on current or retracted premises from other bills. And it double doesn’t help that I have no experience whatsoever in the law field, lol.

  2. 9 March 2011 14:57

    Wow. And thanks.

    • 5 May 2011 10:25

      Ugh and thank you for the link. I’ll add it in the next update.

      Edit: done.


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