WASHINGTON – North Carolina’s governor signs a law forcing most of the state’s abortion providers to close. Ohio threatens to defund rape crisis centers that counsel women about abortion. Wisconsin tries to make it illegal for many abortion providers to provide care. A new report from People For the American Way, "Chipping Away at Choice," details how conservative state legislatures throughout the country are quietly chipping away at women's ability to make informed decisions about their health care, including mandating that doctors provide false or misleading information; requiring that women undergo costly and unnecessary medical procedures and waiting periods; and forcing clinics to shut their doors.
"While national attention often focuses on extreme efforts to ban all abortion and challenge Roe v. Wade in the courts, anti-choice activists are staging a dangerous parallel effort to chip away at women's reproductive rights," said Dawn Huckelbridge, policy director of YEO Action, a program of People For the American Way that represents the interests of young, progressive elected officials. "Just this week, North Carolina’s governor signed a law meant to close most of the abortion clinics in the state, making it harder for women to exercise their constitutional right to choose. Reproductive choice without access to reproductive care is an empty promise."
The PFAW report examines five growing threats to women's health care access:
- Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, like the one signed into law in North Carolina this week, which place unnecessary regulations on abortion providers with the goal of shutting them down.
- Mandatory waiting periods, which place an unnecessary burden on low-income women and those who live in one of the 87 percent of U.S. counties without an abortion clinic.
- Crisis pregnancy centers, which have been found to provide women with false or misleading information, and are often not staffed by medical professionals.
- "Race- and sex-selective" abortion bans, cynical efforts to create new obstacles to women's choice, which risk placing additional burdens on women of color.
- Interference with the doctor-patient relationship, including forcing doctors to read scripts written by politicians, requiring that doctors perform medically unnecessary procedures such as early-term ultrasounds, and placing unnecessary restrictions on medical abortions.
"These attacks on women's health often receive little national attention," added Huckelbridge. "But women are noticing. As a NARAL poll in Virginia found this week, attacks on women’s health motivate women to go to the polls. And throughout the country, progressive state elected officials are fighting to restore the rights of women to access safe, affordable reproductive care, guided by doctors rather than politicians.”
The full report, Chipping Away at Choice: Five Growing Threats to Women's Healthcare Access and Autonomy is available at www.pfaw.org.