WASHINGTON – As the Supreme Court decides whether to review a Texas law that would force more than half of the state’s abortion clinics to close and could have sweeping implications nationwide, a new report from People For the American Way provides a snapshot of the tactics anti-choice legislators and activists are using to erode reproductive health care access in Texas and across the country. The report, “Chipping Away at Choice: Growing Threats to Women’s Healthcare Access and Autonomy: 2015 Update,” notes that 51 new abortion restrictions were enacted in states in the first half of 2015 alone, from the extension of mandatory waiting periods to laws placing unnecessary burdens on abortion clinics with the goal of shutting them down.
“The Texas case serves as a major test of the right-wing strategy of incrementally chipping away at women’s access to reproductive health care,” said Miranda Blue, Senior Researcher for Special Projects at People For the American Way. “Anti-choice activists have been quietly working to erode all access to reproductive choice. As women face longer drives, higher price tags, and other unnecessary burdens when they seek reproductive health care, the right to safe and legal abortion becomes increasingly abstract.”
The report examines seven threats to choice:
- Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, like Texas’s House Bill 2, which place unnecessary regulations on abortion providers with the aim of closing the clinics altogether.
- Crisis pregnancy centers, which have been found to provide women with false or misleading information, and are often not staffed by medical professionals.
- Mandatory waiting periods, which place an unnecessary burden on low-income women and those who live in one of the 90 percent of U.S. counties without an abortion clinic.
- Genetic anomaly, race- or 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 medical providers, such as forcing doctors to read scripts written by politicians and requiring doctors to perform medically unnecessary procedures like early-term ultrasounds.
- 20-week abortion bans, like the bill passed in the U.S. House and being considered by the Senate, which are aimed not only at diminishing abortion access but challenging the ban on pre-viability abortion prohibitions established by Roe v. Wade.
- Defunding abortion providers, which result in cutting off access to cancer screenings, contraceptives, and basic health care, especially for low-income and rural women.
The full report, which updates a 2013 report of the same name, can be found here: https://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/chipping-away-choice-growing-threats-women-s-health-care-access-and-autonomy-2015-updat
PFAW Senior Researcher for Special Projects Miranda Blue is available for interviews. To arrange one, please contact Laura Epstein at [email protected] or call 202-467-4999.