News Abortion

Ohio Editorial Pans “Heartbeat” Ban While Arizona Considers Their Own

Robin Marty

"[Y]ou don’t have to identify with either side in the anti-abortion dispute to conclude that the heartbeat bill should be defeated, because it is simply bad law."

The Ohio senate hasn’t actually heard opposition to the new bill that would outlaw abortion from the moment a heartbeat can be detected.  But if they want to hear legitimate reasons why the bill should be killed, all they need to do is open the Toledo Blade to the editorial section.

[Y]ou don’t have to identify with either side in the anti-abortion dispute to conclude that the heartbeat bill should be defeated, because it is simply bad law. It is a political and ideological statement masquerading as public policy.

The heartbeat measure is cruel in that it allows no exception for victims of rape or incest (although it includes exceptions for a pregnancy that threatens a woman’s life or physical health). It also is inconsistent in that it would subject doctors who perform abortions that violate the law to felony prosecutions and loss of their medical licenses, but does not call for criminal charges against the women who get those abortions.

Appreciate our work?

Vote now! And help Rewire earn a bigger grant from CREDO:

VOTE NOW

Ohioans have challenged other overreaching behavior by state government this year, whether the issue is public employees’ bargaining rights, one-sided political maps, or partisan election “reform.” The heartbeat bill is another example of such extremism. Sooner or later, you’d hope that lawmakers and the governor’s office would get the message.

Now, maybe the senate could send a copy of that editorial to the lawmakers in Arizona, since they are considering passing a ban of their own.

News Abortion

Arizona GOP Sides With Obsolete Medication Abortion Guidelines

Nicole Knight

The measure would force providers to follow 16-year-old FDA protocols for medication abortion care, rather than updated evidence-based practices supported by the medical community.

Arizona’s Republican-majority house approved a bill Wednesday requiring doctors to follow outdated standards on medication abortion that cost more for patients and increase potential side effects.

SB 1324 would force providers to follow 16-year-old Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protocols for medication abortion care, rather than updated evidence-based practices supported by the medical community and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Medication abortion, a two-pill regime, would be available only in the first seven weeks of pregnancy, compared to the current standard of nine weeks.

The preliminary house vote will need a final roll call vote before the bill can go to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, as the Arizona Capital Times reported. The state senate passed the measure in February.

Appreciate our work?

Vote now! And help Rewire earn a bigger grant from CREDO:

VOTE NOW

Republicans, who control both chambers of the state legislature, have wielded their influence in recent years to impose a rash of restrictions on abortion care.

Before Wednesday’s vote, Rep. Regina Cobb (R-Kingman), a dentist, broke ranks with the GOP to point out that SB 1324 makes no medical sense. She said the current procedures are safer than the GOP’s proposed changes.

Doctors have pointed out that off-label use of medicine is safe and common. A five-year study of 13,000 women published last year in the journal Contraception found that evidence-based alternatives to the FDA-approved regimen for medication abortion are safe and effective.

Rep. Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) insisted that the restriction “protects Arizona women … from the cost- and corner-cutting abortion industry.”

In a recent editorial, Dr. Ilana Addis, chairwoman of the Arizona section of ACOG, and Dr. Julie Kwatra, legislative chair of ACOG’s Arizona section, wrote the bill makes “pregnancy termination more costly and more inconvenient (requiring up to three doctor visits instead of one). Patients would have more side effects. Studies show they also have more complications.”

The house also voted in favor of bills to outlaw fetal tissue research (SB 1474) and bar state employees from donating to Planned Parenthood (SB 1485). Both measures, which have already cleared the state senate, now need a house roll call vote to head to the governor.

Arizona Republicans hold an 18-12 state senate majority and a 36-24 edge in the house.

“These are all bad bills and 1324 is the most objectionable,” Jodi Liggett, vice president of public affairs with Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in an email to Rewire. “Science and evidence based medicine is what doctors follow, not the direction of politicians with a social agenda. We are hopeful that policymakers will listen to medical professionals and their own constituents, and cross party lines to defeat this spiteful and ill-advised bill.”

This is the second go-around for the fetal tissue research ban and medication abortion restrictions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit already blocked similar legislation, calling the language in the fetal tissue ban “vague” and the medication-abortion restrictions, which were included in an omnibus bill, unconstitutional.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), speaking in favor of the fetal tissue ban before a state senate panel last month, recounted debunked claims that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue.

Barto referenced the heavily edited and widely discredited smear videos published by an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the leaders of which have been indicted on charges related to the videos. CMP officials have worked with GOP lawmakers across the country in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

Profiting from fetal tissue donation is already illegal under federal law.

News Abortion

Court Rejects Challenge to Arizona GOP’s Race- and Sex-Selective Abortion Ban

Zoe Greenberg

The suit charged that Arizona’s law used stereotypes to increase the stigma surrounding abortion for Black and Asian-American women.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a challenge to Arizona’s race- and sex-selective abortion ban.

The suit, brought by the NAACP and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), charged that Arizona’s law used stereotypes to increase the stigma surrounding abortion for Black and Asian-American women. An attorney with the ACLU represented the groups.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling: that stigma and discrimination stemming from the law do not amount to legal “injury,” meaning the two civil rights groups do not have standing to sue. Neither court addressed the legality of the abortion ban itself.

In a memo, the judges noted that stigma caused by racial discrimination can provide the grounds to sue, but only to those who are “personally denied equal treatment.” The civil rights groups did not claim that anyone had personally been denied equal treatment, but instead that the law targeted Black and Asian-American women with “discriminatory intent.”

Appreciate our work?

Vote now! And help Rewire earn a bigger grant from CREDO:

VOTE NOW

Lacking an individual who has personally suffered under the law, the case will not move forward.

“We want to remind people that today’s decision was on standing—not on the merits of the case—and denies the NAACP and NAPAWF our chance to be heard on these issues,” Miriam Yeung, the executive director of NAPAWF, said in a press release. “Women of color in Arizona, and women across the country, continue to be deeply insulted by prenatal nondiscrimination laws.”

Arizona’s GOP-majority legislature originally passed the law by claiming the high rate of abortion in the Black community proves that Black women are terminating their pregnancies because of racial bias. It also warned that Asian-American women will terminate pregnancies if the fetus is a girl, despite evidence showing there’s no discrepancy between the gender ratios of births by Asian-American women and women of other races in the United States.

Advocates at the NAACP and NAPAWF called the law a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that employs the language of civil rights to limit the reproductive rights of Black and Asian-American women.

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom project, expressed her frustration after the ruling.

“We are extremely disappointed the court did not recognize that when politicians pass a law reducing their citizens to ugly racial stereotypes, it inflicts one of the most serious constitutional injuries recognized in our legal system,” she said in a statement.

Although the case was dismissed, the law could face another challenge. One of the judges at the hearing in San Francisco this month said a woman who was refused an abortion would have standing to challenge the law, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. Similarly, a doctor who was prosecuted under the law (which makes it a felony to perform an abortion with knowledge that race or sex played into the woman’s decision) would have standing to sue.

credo_rewire_vote_3

Vote for Rewire and Help Us Earn Money

Rewire is in the running for a CREDO Mobile grant. More votes for Rewire means more CREDO grant money to support our work. Please take a few seconds to help us out!

VOTE!

Thank you for supporting our work!