For years, the anti-abortion movement has pressed its case with noisy demonstrations that blocked clinics, with high-profile legislation that directly challenged the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, and in some cases with violence, including the assassination of physicians. But 28 years after Roe, with public support of abortion rights running high, the movement has adopted what might be called a stealth strategy: to chip away at abortion rights, slowly and discreetly, with low-profile legislation and lawsuits that stop short of trying to outlaw the procedure.
The new tactic is to bombard providers with a barrage of costly rules. In addition to the civil-liability law, Louisiana has tried to slap abortion providers with extra-stringent building codes that regulate everything from the width of hallways in clinics to the angles and jet types for drinking fountains. Abortion opponents want to create small, expensive obstacles that cumulatively make it harder for clinics to offer services—or, in the words of one right-to-life leader, to create an environment “where abortion may indeed be perfectly legal, but no one can get one.” Not only does the tactic have the benefit of generating little public attention, but it also allows anti-abortion activists to couch the issue in terms of a woman’s welfare—for example, the right of a patient to sue her physician for unlimited sums.
“This is certainly one campaign that’s gaining increasing popularity as a way to hammer at abortion providers: to do it under the guise of caring about women’s health,” says Linda Rosenthal, a staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in New York. “That’s a pretty palatable starting point. Of course, everybody cares about women’s health. But the way these regulations translate is onerous.”
The stealth strategy is being deployed nationwide, from Utah to Connecticut. But it’s Louisiana that serves as the incubator for the rest of the nation, the state where anti-abortion activists develop innovative measures to test on a state legislature where Catholics and Southern Baptists predominate.
An attempted example includes a “civil-liability” law that would have allowed any woman who regretted her abortion to sue the providing doctors any time within the ten years afterward, not only for any emotional or physical damages she may have faced, but also for “damages occasioned by the unborn child.” With no limits to the amount doctors could be ordered to pay, one big judgment in favor of a woman who regretted her abortion could drive an entire clinic out of business. In some cases they exempt abortion providers who perform less than some specified number or percentage of abortions in their practices, thus exempting private practices and faulting free clinics.
Other examples that have passed include excluding midwives and nurse practitioners from those qualified to perform abortions, even though their training with abortion is that of a physician. In other cases, they require all private and free clinics that provide abortion to have facilities comparable to a hospital, which are unnecessary to the procedure and often too expensive for clinics to procure.
Plenty of Democrats are in support of these measures, in part because it doesn’t look outright anti-choice to voters undereducated on anti practices, and in part because it sends a coded message of “morality” to anti-choice voters who might vote Democratic. If you’ll notice, all of these Democrats pictured are men, perfectly willing to sacrifice women’s rights and autonomy for political gain.
All of this is so maddening — morality exists in the hearts and minds of people, it cannot be legislated. Keep this in mind as the John Roberts nomination moves toward confirmation. He is no friend of women, no friend of minorities.
via Media Girl
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