Reproductive Rights Updates: Alabama, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas

[Content Note: This post discusses state-sponsored anti-choice measures.]

First up is Alabama where new legislation went into effect Sunday:
New abortion reporting requirements will also go into effect Sunday under a law passed in the final hours of the 2011 regular session by the Alabama Legislature.

The law, sponsored by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, bans abortions from 20 weeks after "probable post-fertilization" ex­cept in cases of medical emergency. Previously, abortion was banned after fetal viability, defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade as occurring be­tween the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

The State Center for Health Statistics said 70 of the 10,280 abortions in Ala­bama in 2010 -- 0.6 percent of the procedures -- took place at the 20th week of gestation or after, the prior definition of abortion.

The ban went into effect in September; the added re­porting requirements go into effect Sunday. Among other changes, physicians who per­form abortions after 20 weeks will be required to list the medical reason for the abortion and whether the method used provided the opportunity to save the fetus.
So along with this new statute, Alabama is getting on the "personhood" train:
Republican State Senator Phil Williams is the sponsor of the Alabama personhood bill SB5 which has been prefiled for the February 2012 Regular Session.

“I personally believe that life begins at conception. I believe the majority of Alabamians also share that belief and I think it's high time that we did more than just talk in the privacy of our own homes about what we believe, but go ahead and act on that. That's why this particular bill is actually being revised. It will be substituted in the form of a constitutional amendment to allow the citizens of Alabama to vote on it," said Williams.


“The heart of the bill; ‘shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb’ is nonsense,” said Tipton [Sean, of American Society for Reproductive Medicine]. “There is no ‘moment’ of conception. It is a process that takes several hours at least. Implantation in the womb occurs at different time, and different place, than conception. So this wording is to say the least, unclear.”

"It's not okay because it's not an anti-abortion bill. It's not what they mean it to be it's ultimately affecting so many women's issues," said Jessica Sasser [volunteer with the National Infertility Association:RESOLVE].
Ms. Sasser, it wouldn't be ok even if it was "just" an anti-abortion bill.


In Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood has been shut out of providing or coordinating well woman care for some uninsured people:
Planned Parenthood will no longer be coordinating a local health-care program for uninsured women.

Winnebago County will be taking over outreach and education services for the Wisconsin Well Woman Program in a four-county area that includes Fond du Lac County.

The announcement was made Dec. 23 by Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith. The program had been hanging in limbo since Dec. 1, when Planned Parenthood was contacted by an employee at DHS and told that as of the new year the agency would no longer be facilitating the program for Fond du Lac, Winnebago, Outagamie and Sheboygan counties.

Gov. Scott Walker said the move was made because Planned Parenthood is “too controversial.”

“There are many clinics that are not as controversial as Planned Parenthood, and our goal was to make sure low-income women had access to those sorts of screenings from other providers around the state that don’t carry the controversy you get with Planned Parenthood,” he told reporters.
So! Planned Parenthood is "controversial" to a particular segment of voters, therefore, you & your health department decided uninsured people cannot get necessary care there. I see.


In Ohio, anti-autonomy jackasses are celebrating a banner year while looking forward to enacting more measures to reduce women to less-than-persons status:
The anti-abortion movement scored an array of legislative victories in Ohio in 2011, but even after a record year, abortion foes are advocating for tighter restrictions in 2012.


On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified a petition by anti-abortion supporters allowing them to collect signatures for a “personhood” amendment that seeks to bestow fertilized human eggs with full personal rights.


“Never in the history of the pro-life movement have we had so many legislative measures enacted in one year,” Gonidakis [Mike, president of Ohio Right to Life] said.

New state laws prohibit public hospitals from performing abortions and ban abortion coverage in the insurance plans of local public employees.

Under new rules, the director of the Ohio Department of Health must apply for federal grants to fund abstinence education with the goal of cutting down on unplanned pregnancies. Anti-abortion student groups on college campuses now cannot be denied use of school funds or facilities.

Kasich also signed legislation that makes it harder for minors to get abortions without parental consent, and a law forbidding health insurance plans through the new federal health care law from providing coverage for abortions, except when the woman’s life is at risk or if she is a victim of rape or incest.

Lawmakers also passed a bill outlawing abortions that take place after 20 weeks if a doctor determines the fetus can live outside the womb.

This law was the “highlight” of the year, and imposes some of the most significant restrictions on abortions in decades, said Coudron [Paul, director], with Dayton Right to Life.


Emboldened by last year’s successes, Ohio Right to Life said it hopes this year to kill funding to Planned Parenthood, appropriate funds to centers that provide pregnant women with counseling and prenatal care and help elect a U.S. president and senator who share their views.

They say their goal is for an anti-abortion U.S. president and Senate to help seat Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

Right to Life groups also want state or federal lawmakers to pass a bill that requires pregnant women to either hear or see the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion.
Ohio isn't the only state with pro-forced-pregnancy groups looking forward to pushing for less rights for actual people. Kansas, of course, is another.


Kansas, apparently feeling that spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight legislation in 2011 wasn't enough, is vowing to pass more legislation that will inevitably cost the state:
Anti-abortion leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature said they plan to strengthen legal protections for physicians, pharmacists and other health care professionals who don't want to participate in abortions or dispense abortion-inducing drugs. They hope to prevent even indirect taxpayer support for abortions and to add new requirements to a law spelling out what information doctors must provide to women seeking abortions.


...[L]eading anti-abortion legislators and Kansans for Life, the group with the most visible presence at the Statehouse, want to concentrate on proposals that are far more likely to pass and making measurable gains that stand."This is like a good ground game in football," said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, discussing its strategy of pursuing incremental legislative gains. "I don't believe that we have finished fleshing out every law that we can that is currently constitutional."
Chip, chip, chip. Anyone who dares to proclaim the tired ass phrase "But Roe!!!", needs to read that right there. Anyway:
Just as in 2011, Brownback, a Republican abortion opponent, doesn't plant to propose any legislation, preferring to concentrate on fiscal issues, but he'll sign anti-abortion measures that reach his desk, spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said.


House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, said he and fellow abortion opponents will push for a proposed "conscience" act to supplement a law saying no person can be required to participate in an abortion. Previous versions declared that health care professionals can't be punished by their employers for refusing to participate in abortions or dispensing abortion-inducing drugs and "artificial" birth control.


Kinzer also is promoting legislation to add to the state's general ban on taxpayer funded abortion by declaring that companies or groups can't get tax credits or deductions against abortion-related expenditures. [...]

Pilcher-Cook [Mary, Senator R-Shawnee] said she also wants to make sure that doctors give women seeking abortions a detailed description of each potential abortion procedure, including "what it does to the unborn child."
Oh 2012. You look so much like 2011.

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