Turns out, Repro Health Attacks are Happening at the State Level Too

By Stacie Murphy, Policy Director

With all of the BIG STORIES on reproductive health coming out of Washington so far this year (Trump’s Global Gag Rule! UNFPA! Family Planning Budget=$0!  Terrible Healthcare Bill! Probably Something Else I’m Not Remembering, Too!), it’s been easy to overlook what’s going on at the state level.

Turns out that a lot of state legislators have been busy. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Arkansas just passed a bill that would force women to notify their partners about their abortion. It’s a particularly sneaky attack, since it’s actually part of a law about the permissible ways to dispose of human remains. It just happens to include fetuses and mandates that family members have to be in agreement about what to do. So a woman who has an abortion will have to have the father’s written agreement.
  • Missouri legislators filed 14 anti-abortion bills before the 2017 session even officially started.
  • In Ohio, the state Senate is considering a bill to ban a particular type of abortion procedure, never mind that it’s used in certain circumstances because doctors have determined that it’s safer for women than other options.
  • The Oklahoma House passed a bill that that prohibits abortions on the basis of genetic defect. The House’s Public Health Committee also passed a bill that would require women to get permission for an abortion from the father of their fetus. In defending the bill, its author referred to pregnant women as “hosts” . That one’s so blatantly unconstitutional it might not even make it to the floor for a vote.
  • And then there’s Texas. Oh, Texas. Apparently not having learned their lesson from their resounding loss in the Whole Woman’s Health case, the state House has approved a whole slew of new restrictions, including ones that have already been blocked by the courts.

Most of these laws are absurd on their face and will almost certainly be struck down in court (I would leave out the “almost,” but I’m leery of absolute pronouncements in this new era). But the fact that so many of them are making to that point is terrifying.

It’s exhausting, keeping up with all the horrible things going on in the Trump administration and the McConnell-Ryan congress. But none of us can afford to forget that there are battles to fight closer to home, too.


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