Legal abortion is only worth as much as the number of women who have reasonable and affordable and unencumbered access to it, and that number is dwindling: the National Abortion Federation reports that 88% of counties in the US have no identifiable abortion provider – a figure that rises to 97% in non-metropolitan areas.Read the whole thing here.
That's not merely an inconvenience – between travel expenses and time off work, especially when a 24-hour waiting period necessitates at least two days of one's time, the cost of securing an abortion can become an undue burden. It can put legal abortion out of a woman's reach.
That's what state legislatures like Utah's are hoping. And because even the most publicly mendacious anti-choice activists know that even criminalising abortion doesn't stop women from getting them, they know that merely restricting access to legal abortion isn't enough – a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant will find a way to not be pregnant.
Thus is their current strategy is to make legal abortion as inaccessible as possible and criminalise everything else. An abortion performed by someone other than a doctor is ergo illegal. An abortion performed on a minor without parental consent, or on an adult without state-mandated counselling and a 24-hour waiting period, is ergo illegal. An abortion late in the pregnancy is ergo illegal. Inducing a miscarriage is ergo illegal. Terminating a pregnancy by any other method than the one which has been most ruthlessly restricted – via piecemeal legislation and the defunding of clinics and the unfettered terrorising of abortion providers – is illegal.
In Utah, women still have a technical legal right to abortion, but very little means to exercise that right.
Posted by Melissa McEwan at Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I've got a new piece up at The Guardian's CifA about the new "miscarriage" bill in Utah, and how it's part of the anti-choice whittling strategy to render Roe a meaningless statute, to make the US a country in which abortion is technically legal but inaccessible for most women:
Labels: Chipping Away at Roe