Reproductive Rights Updates: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota

It's been an active week for anti-autonomy legislators across the country. Don't you think they look tired?*

In Alabama, the governor signed TRAP legislation into law:
MONTGOMERY, Alabama --- Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law this morning a bill that will set new regulations on abortion clinics that supporters say will improve care and safety for patients.


It requires abortion clinics to use doctors who have hospital admitting privileges in the same city where they do abortions, which supporters of the bill said is an important requirement for follow-up care when women have complications.

The bill will also require clinics to meet the same building safety code standards as ambulatory surgical centers.
Proponents claim it is for the "health and safety" of people needing abortions, however, that's horseshit. Retrofitting clinics to surgical center standards just isn't an available reality for most. Also, most clinics there have doctors come from out of state to perform abortions (with agreements with local doctors for follow-up care). Here is bill author Mary Sue McClurkin, she of the "fetus is the largest organ" fame, on the bill:

“We only think it’s fair that when a woman goes to have an abortion that it be in a very safe and protected environment and that she get the utmost of care. We would hope that one day she would choose not to.”

The law is supposed to take effect starting July 1st.


In Alaska, the senate has taken out the mental health provision for people who need abortions and happen to also need Medicaid:
The legislation would only allow for Medicaid payments if a woman is at serious risk of physical harm if she goes through with her pregnancy or if the woman is a victim of rape or incest. It specifically excludes mental health conditions. Supporters of the legislation have characterized that as a loophole through which women can get Medicaid coverage or elective procedures.

Anti-abortion groups have gotten behind the bill, saying that it would reduce the number of abortions in the state because low-income women are less likely to go through with the procedure if they can’t secure payment. [...]
Yes, that's right! You are correct anti-abortion people: if a person cannot afford an abortion, they are less likely to get one. But. BUT! If they cannot afford an abortion, they cannot afford to have a child either. A medication abortion (generally) costs around $450. A (first trimester, uncomplicated) surgical abortion runs a bit more. A child's related needs? Costs a metric fuckton more than that in years of ongoing costs. But it's never really about quality of life for anyone with you people, is it? No. It's merely about subjugating others to your randomly chosen set of beliefs under some creepy guise of "greater good for children". You? Are gross.


In Arkansas, the senate has decided to cut off Planned Parenthood and any other abortion referral providing entity from receiving money.
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - The Republican-led Arkansas Senate, in the latest statehouse swipe at abortion providers around the country, approved a bill on Tuesday that sponsors said was aimed at cutting off the last vestiges of state funding to groups such as Planned Parenthood.

While it does not explicitly name Planned Parenthood or any other organization, the bill would bar all Arkansas state funds from going to any entity that provides abortions, refers patients to abortion providers or contracts with any group that does so.


Abortion rights advocates say the latest bill could effectively cut off funding for domestic violence shelters or rape crisis centers that also happen to offer abortion referrals.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which operates in Arkansas, does not currently receive any state dollars for its abortion or other family planning services, which are funded from other sources.

But if the bill becomes law, the organization stands to lose two state grants for HIV and syphilis prevention programs that it administers in Arkansas public high schools and reach about 2,000 women, men and teenagers, according to Planned Parenthood.
David Ray, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Arkansas, on the bill (emphasis mine):

"The hardworking taxpayers of Arkansas should not have to see their money sent to organizations that perform abortions. Surely with all of our nation's pressing problems in education, transportation and rampant government overspending, we can find something more responsible to do with these funds."

Yes! Because funding STD prevention programs and possibly some domestic violence and rape crisis organizations is just so not "responsible". Priorities, amirite?!


In the new budget proposal, Ohio republicans have decided to try, try again with the Medicaid work-around to defunding Planned Parenthood. They've attempted this in the past (details here) and it didn't work due to public outcry. What this fuckery does is place Planned Parenthood last in funding (so IF there is any money left, they MIGHT get some) and yet it does give money to anti-choice, non-medical "crisis pregnancy centers".

The budget also rejects expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a move to snub Obama at the cost of medical care for upwards of 300,000 Ohio citizens.

How much do republicans hate poor people? SOOOOO MUCH.

In Texas, some legislators have decided that outright lying is probably not a great idea:
AUSTIN, Texas — Lawmakers heard a proposal Wednesday to remove a state warning that abortions can cause breast cancer, as well as a well-publicized effort to ban abortion in Texas after 20 weeks of gestation.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, put forward HB 2945 on “removing of the risk of breast cancer as part of a woman’s informed consent for an abortion.”

Booklets from the Texas Department of State Health Services warn that a woman may be more at risk of breast cancer after an abortion.

Tama Chunn, testifying against the bill on behalf of Life Advocates in Houston, referred to various studies linked on that connect abortion to a risk of breast cancer.

“It’s a disgrace that we would hide facts,” Chunn said. “Women shouldn’t be denied this information.”

Meanwhile, state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, deferred to the National Cancer Institute’s investigation of studies that concluded there is no link.

“I think it was based more on ideology than science,” Davis said about the state putting out the information.
State Affairs Committee members also debated the latest "Pre-Born Pain Act" nonsense, which claims a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks gestation therefore abortions should be banned from happening then. Jessica Farrar was none too impressed with Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker & author of the bill)'s statements:
State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, challenged her Republican colleague’s sources.

“Let’s say I was in college, and used your medical studies on a paper,” Farrar said. ”Would I get an F?”

The Houston Democrat cited to a study on fetal pain published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found “evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.”

“I don’t purport to be a medical professional but I do research and I do listen,” said Farrar.

The debate between the two legislators lasted about 25 minutes and each attempted talking over the other in a few instances. Testimony on the bill neared three hours and featured dozens of witnesses, although not all testified. If the committee, comprised of seven Republicans and three Democrats, approves the proposal, it will will be considered by the full House.


North Dakota! Of course North Dakota. So you remember how ND passed legislation that's total bullshit and harms its citizens and was done just to be able to challenge Roe and not because they really thought it would stand? The AG asked and was provisionally granted money by senate committee for the expected legal bills:
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to support a request by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for a $400,000 budget increase for a legal fight promised by abortion-rights activists.

"The $400,000 is just my best estimate," Stenehjem told The Associated Press Wednesday. "It' could be more; it could be less."
So back in February, this happened in North Dakota:
Lawmakers in the North Dakota House voted 24-69 Wednesday against a measure sponsored by Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, to allocate $560,000 in state funds to ensure all kindergarten through third-grade students from low-income families get milk or juice during class breaks.

*Doctor Who reference

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