Image by Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
January 22 is the 47th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide. Women had been dying in back-alley for decades, and Roe was thought to put an end to the fight over access to a life-saving procedure.
Far from it. The opposition forces saw the decision as a clarion call to overturn the ruling and ban abortion forever. Attacks have never stopped, and by all objective counts, abortion foes are now winning the battle.
It’s ironic that some of the worst setbacks are coming out of Texas, the state where Roe originated. In 2013 the Lone Star legislature passed laws requiring clinics to meet surgery-center standards, even if they only provide nonsurgical abortions using medication. At the same time doctors were required to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. After several years of litigation courts struck down the restrictions, but by then nearly half the state’s clinics had already closed, denying women not only abortion services but mammograms and birth control information as well.
Unfortunately Texas is not alone. Over twenty other states have enacted 70-plus different restrictions in the last few years. More restrictions have been put in place since 2011 than were adopted during the entire previous decade. And abortion isn’t the only thing in their sights. Birth control, which surely reduces the number of abortions, is also under attack with ongoing lawsuits against insurance coverage for it in Obamacare.
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade there is always a so-called March for Life on the national mall, and both sides gather on the steps of the Supreme Court. Women’s groups will be out in force to show their support for the ruling and call attention to the erosion of reproductive rights since 1973. And a new contingent will join the usual rabid opponents and Catholic school groups this year. More than 200 members of Congress — almost all of them Republicans — urged the Supreme Court on January 2 to reconsider Roe in an amicus brief supporting a restrictive Louisiana abortion law (in some ways identical to the Texas law above) that is expected to be reviewed by the Supreme Court on March 4.
Funny, the Grand Old Party claims to have an initiative to teach candidates how to talk to women. They’re talking all right. There’s never been a better example of actions speaking louder than words.
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