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On the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in the Roe v. Wade case, Rachel Maddow dedicated a long segment to the state of abortion in America today. Or rather the ability of women to obtain this procedure that the court made legal across the nation before the majority of people now alive were born.
Anyone who has been in the trenches fighting the efforts that the forced-birther crowd initiated to undermine the impact of Roe starting about five minutes after the court's ruling knows just how successful those efforts have been. In state after state, getting an abortion—a safe, legal abortion—has been made ever harder by an array of curtailments. As we've documented at Daily Kos repeatedly, the last two years have produced a record number of new laws dedicated to this end.
As Maddow pointed out, this has led to a situation in four states—North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi and Arkansas—where only a single clinic now provides abortions. And they are all under fire. In Mississippi, the sole surviving clinic could be shuttered within months thanks to new rules. Just a few years ago, there were six such clinics in the state.
It's not just the laws that have caused the number of clinics and abortion providers to dwindle, however. Dr. Warren Hern, the first physician at the Boulder Valley Clinic (of which I was one of 15 co-founders) is still performing abortions at his own offices. Today he wears a bullet-resistant vest and won't sit by a window unless the shades are drawn because he has been threatened with murder by forced-birther terrorists.
It should come, therefore, as no surprise that the providers at the only remaining abortion clinic Arkansas would only speak to Maddow four decades after Roe if they were televised in silhouette. But why should they have to? Abortion is legal. It's guaranteed by the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
So why, in the face of harassment and the prospect of murderous assault do brave souls keep doing it? Because, one of the Arkansas providers says, somebody must to keep so many women from dying:
Prior to Roe v. Wade, the number one killer of women of child-bearing age was complications associated with abortion. And now it's not in the top 100 causes of death in women of this age group. I think that's something that has been forgotten by a younger group of medical providers. They just haven't seen the consequences. And the American people have forgotten, as a general rule, what [...] things were like prior to the legalization of abortion. And limiting people access to abortion doesn't keep people from getting abortions. It just stop from makes it less safe and increases the incidence of complications.
The forced-birthers have made getting to a licensed facility, a life-saving facility where a woman can exercise her reproductive rights, ever more troublesome. They have made some of the remaining providers so fearful for their own safety that they cannot give an interview on American television without requesting that their faces be blacked out.
Thus have woman-hating terrorists driven abortion literally back into the shadows.
Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:01 PM PST.