One of the negatives, at least for those of us on the Left, from the Republican gains in the recent midterm elections, is that there is a lot of talk that the Right is priming for a major new push on anti-abortion laws. The push to block access to citizenship for new immigrants is not enough, of course; Republicans also want to renew their fight to force women to have children that those same Republicans will certainly not want to support when they are born. I have always found it so ironic that the Right wants no choice in bringing children into the world from unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, but when they are here, Republican policies on education, assistance, jobs, healthcare and minimum wage are the opposite of what those children and their parents need to raise productive citizens.
I am truly shaking my head.
But thanks to the midterm victories all across the country in state houses, Republicans are feeling emboldened, as they should, I guess, to do what they do. Several states plan to enact stricter rules on abortions, rules like in Arkansas where there is talk of barring doctors from administering abortion drugs through telemedicine, which will affect lots of people in rural areas, and like in West Virginia where they will push to ban abortion beyond 20 weeks, which was previously deemed unconstitutional by the Democratic governor there. Other plans are to force mandatory waiting periods or ultrasound requirements, blocking medicaid dollars from any organization that provides abortions, clinics facing stricter building codes or hospital admitting procedures that they will have a hard time satisfying. The push to make it harder on clinics is a key tactic, as many states are learning from that tactic in the already Republican stronghold of Texas.
Texas, as large as that state is, with one of the largest state populations in the country, has fewer than 10 abortion clinics now. That is down from 40 just one year earlier. Thirty clinics closing in one year due to demands that could not be met. It is a prescription other states will surely follow with Republicans now controlling so many states and Governor’s mansions. Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wisconsin are all considered top targets for pushing back on abortion rights as well.
At the national level there is also talk of introducing stricter laws on abortions once the newly Republican Senate and strengthened House of Representatives come to power in January. But with Presidential veto power still in play, and other tactics Democrats can use to stall and block legislation at that level, it is not likely Washington will do much. But states will have much more leeway. So count on the Right succeeding in many places locally.
It is certainly going to be an interesting couple of years on the choice front. This is a fight that never seems to end. You would think and wish that on some issues, a woman’s right to control her own body and women’s health issues, we wouldn’t be going back and forth every few years. Progress should not lead to backtracking. But yet here we are. Such is our democracy, especially when it comes to issues like abortion. Like I mentioned earlier, though, I just wish the Republicans would at least be more consistent in their seeming caring about children. Take some of this fire over life and care as much about children when they are born, when they are immigrants, when they are hungry, when they need better education, when their parents need help. If they did, maybe we wouldn’t see all this anti-abortion activity as so hypocritical.