In the past 72 hours, Virginia has moved forward on a bill that would prevent public funds from paying for abortion services in cases "in which a physician certifies ... that the fetus would be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency." Texas has cut off nearly 50,000 women from their current healthcare providers, effectively blocking their access to contraception and abortion. And across the nation, research conducted by Time Magazine concludes that the pro-choice movement is losing the battle over abortion rights.
How hard will it be get an abortion in 2013? Consider this: to buy a pack of cigarettes, you have to prove that your're 18. To buy a bottle of cough syrup or decongestant, you have to be 18 and provide a government issued ID. To buy a gun and carry it concealed in Arizona you don't have to prove or provide anything.
But in many states, to get an abortion -- which is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution -- you may have to:
- Walk a picket line, submit to graphic photographs of aborted fetuses, and the encounter the risk of bodily injury or death;
- Submit to being photographed and having your face posted on an anti-abortion website;
- Find a physician (not a physician's assistant or nurse specialist) who will be physically -- not virtually -- present at the procedure, who has privileges at a local hospital, and is willing to perform the procedure;
- Undergo the procedure before as little as 18 weeks of gestation unless the woman's life or health are at serious risk;
- Undergo a mandatory ultrasound, see a picture and receive a detailed description of the fetus;
- Go through pre-abortion counseling warning of both scientifically proven and alleged risks;
- Be advised that the fetus will likely feel pain from the procedure;
- Listen to the fetal heartbeat;
- Endure a mandatory waiting period of up to three days; and
- Self-fund the procedure because public funding and general health insurance cannot pay for the procedure by law.
This past year has seen the second greatest number of pro-life/anti-abortion restrictions ever, causing Salon.com to observe earlier this week that 2012 was a "banner year" for anti-abortion laws. According to Salon:
19 states enacted 43 provisions to restrict access to abortion services.... The record for most restrictions was set in 2011 with 92.
The worst offenders? Arizona ranked No. 1, enacting seven antiabortion restrictions, and Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin followed close behind with at least three restrictions each.
Abortion is the most important political issue for American women according to a recent Gallup Poll. There, 39% of women in the 12 key swing states for Presidential elections identified abortion as the most important issue facing women, above jobs, the economy, healthcare, and equal pay.
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