In this week’s edition of Totally Not Surprising News: restricting access to abortion services makes women upset, doesn’t change their mind about having an abortion.
Abortion activists have known for a while now that bills that require waiting periods and mandatory sonograms, including trans vaginal ultrasounds, don’t change the minds of women seeking an abortion. A recently released study from the University of Texas Austin, University of Alabama Birmingham, and Ibis Reproductive Health reveals that 1/3 women felt upset after mandatory waiting periods and increased regulations. A gross majority of women reported that forced waiting periods and ultrasounds did not change their mind.
But that’s okay, these committed conservative lawmakers keep passing laws that restrict access to abortion because Jesus and God and Guns and Fetus and Sanctity of Life, but not the sanctity of women that are living and poor children and women of color because that would be SOCIALISM.
The study suggests that waiting periods have nothing to do with women’s health, as preliminary results of the study indicate an increased negative impact upon women. The impact is particularly felt by poor women and women of color. Minority women in Texas suffer more from the restrictions, a fact that highlights how race, class, and access to abortion intersect to reinforce a monstrously oppressive system.
This news came days after Arkansas legislators instituted a 12 week abortion ban. Any woman seeking to exercise her constitutional right to have an abortion in Arkansas now is shit out of luck if she’s more than 3 months along. In a state with some of the highest rates of poverty in the nation, including a 23% poverty rate amongst children and a disturbing 40% poverty rate amongst African Americans, restricting health care access to the most vulnerable is downright evil. Would it kill them to pass some laws to take care of their record number of poor and starving children?
Considering that women often do not even realize they are pregnant until the tenth or twelfth week, the new ban is in essence, a full abortion ban. Thinking about this is mind-numbingly terrifying. I don’t want to drop into a ball of terror but this stuff is getting disturbingly close to A Handmaid’s Tale and I’m becoming less able to deal with my rage. Our rights are systematically going out the window like yesterday’s trash.
State by state, women’s rights are being rolled back in the name of deliberately misleading notions of women’s health. For instance, as if they did not want to be outdone by Arkansas, news is breaking that another restrictive abortion ban bill is making its way through the Kansas legislature.
Even our activism is being hijacked. The word “choice” has been used against abortion access and reproductive justice to sell an idea that women need an ultrasound and waiting period to “make the best choice.” Sean Hannity of Fox News recently argued that women should have the “choice to protect themselves from a rapist with their guns.”
I can’t emphasize enough that these bills are mainly impacting poor women. The Lilith Fund, an abortion fund that provides money to women that cannot afford an abortion on their own, reported on twitter that in “2012, 74% of the women we helped on our hotline were already mothers and 85% were women of color.” In Texas , Republican Gov. Rick Perry and the conservative legislature blocked thousands of poor women from access basic health care in their quest to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Family planning clinics have been forced to close because Perry directly cut their funds. Cutting funding leads directly to cutting services for women, particularly poor women, and women of color. No money, no care.