This past week, I wrote an article addressing the work that Republicans have been doing in Congress to pass
new jobs extremely restrictive federal abortion legislation. Specifically, the article concentrated on the GOP’s claim that they have been working on job creation legislation, when in reality “job creation legislation” is really just a bad euphemism for abortion legislation. As I pointed out in that article, the purpose was not to address the merits or fallacies of the pro-life or pro-choice debates, rather it was to address the GOP’s claim (lie) that they are hard at work on jobs legislation; when the truth is that they could care less about creating jobs. Respectively, this article is also not meant to address the pro-life v. pro-choice debate. Rather, it is meant to survey the overwhelming amount of abortion legislation coming out of the states, in an attempt to prove that both Congressional Republicans and Republicans in control of state legislatures would rather spend your tax dollars trying to enact extreme pieces of abortion legislation (that are also most likely unconstitutional) instead of addressing unemployment.
Republicans claim to care about jobs. Malarkey. If that was true, maybe Rick Perry would have called a special session in Texas to pass infrastructure legislation — you know, the type of legislation that actually creates jobs by providing government contracts to private construction companies to repair roads and bridges. Kind of like how Republicans claim to care about life, but as Mother Jones notes, Republicans in Texas are, “too busy targeting abortion providers to deal with exploding fertilizer plants.” Meaning that at no point during the special session did Republicans address any new legislation that could potentially save lives, by enforcing stricter regulations on chemical plants like the one that exploded in West; proving once again that Republicans do not care about people who have been born. Oh the irony.
Further, one need not look too hard to see that jobs legislation is the furthest thing from the minds of Republican state legislators. I mean, how many jobs bills that were passed by Republican controlled legislatures have you heard of lately? Maybe a handful? I did an internet search and was hard pressed to find any state hard at work on a major omnibus jobs bill. Yet, everyday it seems like we hear about a new piece of drastically restrictive legislation that attempts to impinge on a woman’s constitutional right to choice. Funny how the GOP claims to respect the Constitution and constitutional law, isn’t it? But I digress.
As a starting point, it is important to understand the law regarding a woman’s right to choose. Only then can one understand the potential unconstitutionality of these pieces of legislation and why it is ridiculous that state legislatures are working on passing 20 week abortion bans, instead of working on jobs bills. As you all probably know, a woman’s constitutional right to choice initially starts with the landmark case, Roe v. Wade. In Roe, the Supreme Court held that the constitutional right to privacy, incorporated to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, provided women with a constitutional right to seek an abortion. Subsequently, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court set forth a standard, known as the “undue burden” standard, to determine whether or not specific pieces of legislation restricting abortions were in violation of a woman’s right to choose. In that case, the Court upheld Pennsylvania’s 24-hour waiting period, informed consent, and parental consent requirements, holding that none constituted an undue burden, but struck down PA’s spousal notice requirement. Following Casey, there have been many challenges to state abortion restrictions, but none of the cases have yet to make it to the highest Court in the land. However, if the Supreme Court declines to hear a particular case, the ruling of the highest court to have decided the issue will stand. For instance, in May, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge struck down Arizona’s 20 week ban holding that it was blatantly unconstitutional. A similar 20 week ban has also been struck down in Idaho. Those rulings hold the force of law, unless and until the Supreme Court decides to hear those cases.
Based on these recent court rulings, you would think that maybe Republicans would get the message that they are wasting their time attempting to pass legislation that will most likely be ruled unconstitutional, and would instead get back to work on jobs bills. Not the case. Here is just a sampling of the
jobs abortion bills (snicker) that Republican controlled state legislatures are working on, all of which are so called TRAP laws — “excessive and unnecessary government regulations… [designed to] increase the cost and scarcity of abortion services, [thereby] harming women’s health and inhibiting their reproductive choices.” Jobs be damned! Actually, come to think of it, they are more like anti-jobs bills, since passing laws whose effect is to close clinics means that the people who work at those clinics will become unemployed, if and when the clinics are forced to close.
Texas: House Bill 2 would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require that the procedure be performed at ambulatory surgical centers, mandate that doctors who perform abortions obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and that even nonsurgical abortions take place in a surgical center.
Alabama: Women in Alabama will not be able to obtain “abortion pills” via telemedicine, doctors must ask the name and age of the fetus’ father, and must have hospital-admitting privileges. For the record, a federal judge has temporarily blocked the admitting privileges requirement.
Ohio: The bill, which Gov. Kasich has already signed into law, forces doctors to tell their patients how much personal income they would lose if they did not perform abortions, makes ultrasounds mandatory, requires doctors to give women medically disputed information about pain felt by fetuses and mentions the debunked link between abortion and breast cancer, lengthens the mandatory waiting period, and threatens physicians with a felony and a fine of up to $1 million if they fail to comply with the laws.
North Carolina: Republicans added abortion restricting amendments to an “anti Sharia law” bill that would prevent state health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act from offering policies that cover abortion, restrict doctors’ ability to administer abortion-inducing medication, and impose regulations on abortion clinics that would most likely shut down all but one clinic in the state.
Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill on Friday that would require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and would bar doctors without admitting privileges at local hospitals from performing abortions.
Kansas: Would ban abortions at 20 weeks and ban abortion providers from holding discussions or lecturing in school sex education programs.
Mississippi: Requires the sole abortion clinic in the state to have hospital admitting privileges that are unobtainable (the law has been blocked by a federal judge).
South Dakota: Women must wait 72 hours after consulting a doctor to obtain an abortion, and those hours must fall on a business day.
Virginia: Requires women seeking abortions to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds.
North Dakota: The North Dakota State Senate passed two anti-abortion bills. One bill would prevent women from having abortions as soon as the fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, and the other bans abortions in cases of fetal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.
Indiana: Women are now required to obtain a medically unnecessary ultrasound before receiving an abortion.
I’m going to leave it there, because as the list goes on, I get more disgusted at the numerous attempts to impinge on women’s constitutional rights – and worse, without exceptions for rape, incest, or severely deformed fetuses that have no chance of survival outside of the womb, thereby essentially forcing women to carry non-viable fetuses to term. If you want more information you can check out this handy map provided by NARAL, especially since the law is constantly changing both by legislative efforts and by court rulings. Suffice to say, if Republicans are working on jobs legislation they aren’t doing a good job of making it known. In closing, as I said last time, and I will say again, in the words of the great Rachel Maddow, “jobs, jobs, jobs… and by jobs they mean abortion.”
Related stories on ForwardProgressives.com:
- As Rachel Maddow Always Says, “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs… Abortions!”
- For the GOP, it’s not about being “Pro-Life,” it’s about a Thirst for Control over Women
- Ridiculous Rick Perry Claims Abortion is America’s Second Most Common Surgical Procedure