There was definitely bad news on the War on Women front in 2019. The Guttmacher Institute, the authority on reproductive health issues, reports that "conservative state legislators raced to enact an unprecedented wave of bans on all, most or some abortions, and by the end of the year, 25 new abortion bans had been signed into law, primarily in the South and Midwest."
In addition to the bans, states piled on new restrictions including requirements for abortion providers to give patients misleading and inaccurate information about the potential to reverse a medication abortion as part of abortion counseling. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was a catalyst (thanks again, Sen. Susan Collins). These states are racing to be the ones that get to claim they ended federal protections for women under Roe. Their faith in the Trump Supreme Court is well-founded. The court decided this year to hear a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers can admit patients at a local hospital, requiring both a local hospital and unnecessary restrictions on medical personnel. The key thing, though, is that the court has already considered this issue; in 2016 it struck down an identical Texas law. So much for the precedent Kavanaugh "promised" Collins he would follow.
At the same time, though, "state legislatures primarily in the Northeast and West, along with Illinois, are moving in the opposite direction." They have enacted laws to protect abortion rights, to expand reproductive health services and expand access to birth control and sex education. For example, Austin, Texas, became the first city in the nation to dedicate funds to supporting services like transportation and childcare for people seeking abortion care. California became the first state to pass a law requiring student health centers at public universities to provide medication abortion on campus. All in all, in 2019, "36 measures that protect abortion have been enacted, along with 46 policies intended to decrease maternal mortality, 13 that increase access to contraceptive coverage and 17 that improve sex education," Guttmacher reports. "Also, governors in five states vetoed abortion restrictions." That's more protections enacted in just one year than in the previous ten years.
This is why we keep fighting. This is why we're going to make 2018's blue tsunami look like a ripple.
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