Anti-Abortion Advocates Make Strides in State Legislatures

Anti-abortion advocates are several battles closer to winning the war to outlaw abortion. As of October 31st of this year, the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold abortion restrictions in Texas in a 5-4 ruling, according to an article posted earlier this week.

Planned Parenthood had requested to block a ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that would make key aspects of Texas abortion laws ineffective during the lawsuit proceedings challenging said restrictions. However, in a ruling of 5-4, Planned Parenthood’s request was denied, and the laws would not be in effect during the proceedings as they had hoped.

The US Supreme court stated, “The incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate [a law]”.

The ruling will make the number of doctors and facilities more limited than previously, due to tighter restrictions and admitting privileges, but may also be seen as a positive development for women considering an abortion.

“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions,” said Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry about the ruling.

Michigan has also experienced controversial reactions to its new law provisions that banned most insurance plans, both public and private, from covering the costs of an abortion as a medical expense, even in cases of incest and rape.

Some are calling the new bill “Rape Insurace”, which requires all women to purchase a separate abortion rider if they would like the costs to be covered.  The nickname stemmed from opponents’ beliefs that such a requirement forces women to “plan ahead” for anticipated rape; no pre-purchased insurance rider, no coverage.

According to this article, “Eight states have passed similar laws banning the insurance coverage of abortion…but only two of them have actually made the abortion rider available to women.”

The Michigan State Legislature first passed the bill a year ago, but after being denied by Governor Rick Snyder (R), a petition with over 300,000 voter signatures collected by Right to Life Michigan (an anti-abortion group), brought it to a second vote.

Snyder had vetoed the measure and said, “[I do not] believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage.”

Because the bill was passed by both chambers during the second vote, it will automatically become a law, despite Snyder’s disapproval.

The New York Times reports that the number of abortions has been steadily decreasing over the years, even before these new state rulings went into effect. In 2010, the most recent years that statistics are available, the total number of abortions was down 3%, and in 2009, the number was down 5%.

Whether the new laws will contribute to decreasing the total number of abortions in the future is up for debate.

Based on the tremendous backlash resulting from such controversial legislative initiatives in both Texas and Michigan, the abortion debate is far from over. Only time will tell if additional states will decide to adopt similar rulings or not.

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