New State Abortion Bans

  Photo Credits: John Benson After the recent passage of restrictive abortion legislation in Georgia and Alabama, abortion continues to be under attack across the country. The abortion bans signal continued attempts by states to undermine a woman’s right to access an abortion. Last week, Louisiana Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed into law a restrictive “heartbeat” bill. The law, like other recent abortion legislation, would prohibit an abortion after an ultrasound detects electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’ heart—which can occur before most women know they are pregnant. Moreover, the Louisiana law does not include exceptions for rape or incest. Although the law will not go into effect immediately, it is likely to be stalled in the courts. In Missouri, only one abortion clinic remains open. If it closes, it would be the first time a state does not have an abortion clinic since 1974—when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. A judge is expected to a settle...
Read More

Alabama and Georgia Pass Restrictive Abortion Laws

  On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country. The bill not only bans abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy, it also criminalizes the procedure for doctors who perform abortions. Although women who receive an abortion will not be prosecuted, the new law targets doctors who could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. The bill includes protections when a mother’s life is endangered, but it does not include exceptions for rape or incest. While the courts have continued to reaffirm a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion since the decision in Roe v. Wade, the Alabama law is most recent attempt to challenge the 1973 precedent. Since the beginning of 2019, nearly 300 restrictive abortion laws have been introduced in state legislatures across the country. Earlier this month, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law a fetal heartbeat bill that prohibits abortion after a doctor can detect...
Read More

South Korea Poses Amendment for Anti-Abortion Law

South Korea has fostered an anti-abortion law for 66 years which names abortion a crime with repercussions of heavy fines and women facing up to a year in jail and doctors facing up to two years. Last Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled this law unconstitutional and concluded that Parliament must revise the law by 2020 or else it will become invalid. There are a few exceptions to the law which allow for abortions under the situations of pregnancy from rape or incest, pregnancy which poses great risk to the mother’s health, or pregnancy that will result in a child with a serious deformity. However, a study does prove that since the law has been enacted, there have been huge amounts of illegal abortions—49,7000 abortions took place in 2017 and an estimated 94% of those were performed illegally. There also seems to be a general shift in trends of what South Koreans think of abortion because a poll shows that...
Read More
New York State Passes Reproductive Health Act

New York State Passes Reproductive Health Act

On the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the New York legislature passed a law protecting a woman's right to abortions. The most controversial aspect of the law is its provision for abortions after 24 weeks, in cases of fetal in-viability or danger to the woman's life or heath. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only slightly more than one percent of abortions are performed during or after 21 weeks of pregnancy. The law also took abortion off of the state's criminal code, which prevents medical professionals from being criminally prosecuted. The pro-choice community has lauded the law's passage, considering it a protection against possible future decisions by the Supreme Court. The Catholic Bishops of New York State denounced the law, and many critics claim it is too far-reaching....
Read More
California Right to Access Act Revisited

California Right to Access Act Revisited

Story by Karina Moreno Bueno, T'21 There was a recent attempt in September to require California to provide medical abortion in public colleges and universities. Medical abortion is otherwise known as the abortion pill. Unfortunately, this bill was not signed by by Governor Jerry Brown. California’s governor announced that he vetoed the bill because “the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus” within five to seven miles off California state university campuses, meaning that he found it an unnecessary government expenditure. The problem with going off-campus to seek these services is that half of students in the California state university school-system are low-income students, meaning that they are likely to struggle to pay for abortions off-campus. Furthermore, the majority of these students do not have a car, making transportation very difficult and not accessible to everyone. Reproductive health rights activists have not given up, as there has been an introduction of updated version of the bill into the state’s legislature...
Read More
The Effects of Complete Ban on Abortion in El Salvador

The Effects of Complete Ban on Abortion in El Salvador

Story by Karina Moreno Bueno, T'21 With the reality overturning Roe vs Wade becoming increasingly likely, El Salvador can teach us what some of the consequences might be to that. El Salvador is one of six countries in Latin America that has an absolute ban on abortion. They imposed a total ban on abortion since 1998 and are very strict about the enforcement. There isn’t an exception, whether rape or incest was involved, or even if the pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother, an abortion remains completely legal. One of the biggest problems with this law, is that many times when a woman has a miscarriage, doctors can falsely assume that the woman had an aborted pregnancy, when in fact it was a miscarriage. Others can also report someone suspected of having an abortion, even if it was a miscarriage, and the woman can be prosecuted for an abortion. Many women have been incarcerated for supposed abortions. Many women’s rights groups...
Read More
Significant decrease in rate of abortion in the United States

Significant decrease in rate of abortion in the United States

Story by Amelia Steinbach, T'21 Data that were recently released from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that the number of abortions in the United States has decreased by 24% over the last decade. In reporting the data through 2015, the CDC noted that this drop was almost certainly related to a lower number of unintended pregnancies, the largest contributor to induced abortion, as well as increased use of effective contraception methods. The overall trend is not consistent for women of different demographic groups, such as race, class, and marital and motherhood status. While white and black women together make up the vast majority of abortions, black women account for nearly 20 more abortions per 1000 women than their white counterparts. Women who were not married accounted for the majority of those seeking an abortion, as do women who already have children. Over 90% of abortion occur before the 13-week mark and abortions that do not occur during the first trimester...
Read More
Law meant to limit access to abortion in the Ohio state legislature

Law meant to limit access to abortion in the Ohio state legislature

Story by Amelia Steinbach, T '21 State legislators in Ohio are currently debating House Bill 565, a piece of proposed legislation that imposes strict limitations on access to abortion. The law changes the definition of person to include “any unborn human,” which results in the criminalization of abortion. If the law is signed into law, it would effectively criminalize abortion. Any woman who undergoes the procedure, as well as any doctor who performs it, would face charges for murder. Because the death penalty is permitted in the state of Ohio, women and doctors could also be sentenced to death because of their role in the procedure. Despite the fact that many modern abortion regulations include exemptions of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, as well as those that pose a threat to the pregnant woman’s life, House Bill 565 includes no such provisions. Notably, the group of legislators sponsoring and co-sponsoring the bill is overwhelmingly male, with only two out of sixteen...
Read More
Analyzing High Abortion Rates in Pakistan

Analyzing High Abortion Rates in Pakistan

     The country of Pakistan has one of the highest rates of abortions in the world; it is noted there are 50 abortions for every one thousand women. However, this procedure is “legal only in very limited circumstances” according to the Guttmacher Institute. Pakistan states an abortion can occur if there is a “need” for it such as if a woman’s health is in danger. But, otherwise, the term “need” is very vaguely defined—culturally, abortions are not accepted or promoted in Pakistan. As a deeply conservative and Muslim country, most hospitals and doctors refuse to perform abortions for religious and moral reasons and beliefs. As a result, a huge underground abortion industry thrives. This contributes to the statistic that ⅓ of all women who undergo abortions in Pakistan suffer complications largely because those who are performing the operations are likely not properly qualified. The high amount of abortions comes from the fact that there is a large unmet need...
Read More
California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a bill that would have required all health centers at University of California and California State University schools to offer prescription abortion pills. Introduced in February 2017, Senate Bill 320 would have made California the first state to require access to medication abortion at public universities. Medication abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, and currently accounts for one-third of abortions in the United States. A combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, allows the patient to undergo the procedure in their own home. In spite of years of research deeming the procedure safe, thirty-four states heavily regulate medication abortion by requiring licensed physicians, rather than midwives or nurse practitioners, to administer the drugs. In spite of living in a state with otherwise progressive abortion legislation, women at public universities in California often have restricted access to abortion options. More than 500 women at California's public universities seek the abortion pill at off-site healthcare providers every...
Read More