States push­ing re­stric­tions that bar most abor­tions

The Tribune (SLO) - - Insight - BY DAVID CRARY

Em­bold­ened by the new con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity on the Supreme Court, an­tiabor­tion law­mak­ers and ac­tivists in nu­mer­ous states are push­ing nearto­tal bans on the pro­ce­dure in a de­lib­er­ate frontal at­tack on Roe v. Wade.

Mis­sis­sippi and Ken­tucky have passed laws that would ban most abor­tions af­ter a fe­tal heart­beat is de­tected, which means as early as six weeks, when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. Ge­or­gia could join them if Repub­li­can Gov. Brian Kemp signs a mea­sure that has been sent to him.

And a bill in Ohio won fi­nal ap­proval Wed­nes­day in the Repub­li­can-con­trolled leg­is­la­ture; it now heads to GOP Gov. Mike DeWine, who said he will sign it. The fi­nal votes fol­lowed a spir­ited com­mit­tee hear­ing where abor­tion rights ac­tivists evoked an era of back al­leys and coat-hanger abor­tions.

Sim­i­lar bills have been filed in at least seven other states with an­tiabor­tion GOP ma­jori­ties in their leg­is­la­tures.

Alabama may go fur­ther, with leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced last week to crim­i­nal­ize abor­tion at any stage un­less the mother’s health is in jeop­ardy.

The chief spon­sor of the Alabama bill, Rep. Terri Collins, ac­knowl­edged that the mea­sure – like the heart­beat bills – is in­tended as a di­rect chal­lenge to Roe, the 1973 Supreme Court rul­ing that le­gal­ized abor­tion na­tion­wide.

“To me this is an issue the court sim­ply got wrong years ago,” said Collins, who hopes Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ap­point­ments of Neil Gor­such and Brett Ka­vanaugh to the Supreme Court lead to a re­con­sid­er­a­tion of Roe.

Staci Fox, At­lanta-based CEO of Planned Par­ent­hood South­east, said these bans are “bla­tantly un­con­sti­tu­tional and law­mak­ers know it – they just don’t care.” The goal, she said, is to “chal­lenge ac­cess to safe, le­gal abor­tion na­tion­ally.”

Ac­tivists and le­gal ex­perts on both sides of the de­bate agree that get­ting a Supreme Court de­ci­sion on such a defin­ing case is un­likely any time soon.

The bans may face dif­fi­cul­ties just reach­ing the high court, given that Roe established a clear right to an abor­tion dur­ing the first three months of preg­nancy.

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