An Idaho bill introduced March 4 will ban abortions 20 weeks after pregnancy, reported CNBC. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, says the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is to prevent unborn children from experiencing suffering and torture; its claims are based on still-disputed medical evidence.
A slew of other anti-choice bills are moving through state legislatures in…
In Washington, meanwhile, the attack on reproductive rights is coming in through the budget voting process.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday sent a bill denying federal funding for abortion to the full chamber for consideration, The Hill reported on March 3. In a 23-14 vote, the panel approved H.R. 3, “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” on a largely party-line vote. Puerto Rico Del. Pedro Pierluisi was the only Democrat to vote for the bill.
The legislation is the latest federal move in a larger strategy meant to weaken women’s reproductive rights, according to a recent article in WeNews.
The GOP-dominated U.S. House of Representatives voted Feb. 18 to defund Planned Parenthood in a budget amendment, the latest salvo in what Nancy Pelosi has termed the “most radical assault on reproductive rights in our lifetime.”
In a recent interview with Women’s eNews, Judy Waxman of the National Women’s Law Center, said that pro-choice advocates are closely watching what happens to the amendment as Republican leaders in the House prepare it for consideration in the Senate.
If lawmakers decide to send the amendment forwarded by Rep. Mike Pence to the Senate as a stand-alone measure it could mean an easy defeat in the Democratic-controlled upper chamber, Waxman said. But if Republicans attach it to another piece of legislation that senators feel compelled to vote for–such as a motion that allows the budget debate to continue so the government will not shut down–it may pass.
In response to Pence’s amendment, pro-choice rallies peppered the country in protest on Feb. 26. In New York, a rally to “stand with Planned Parenthood” drew 5,000, the New York Daily News reported. See Women’s eNews’ photos from the rally on our Flickr page. Other rallies took place in Buffalo, N.Y., Ohio, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles.
A March 2 Washington Times Op-Ed on alleged wrongdoings of Planned Parenthood, written by Steven Wagner–president of the Renewal Forum, a nonprofit group combating U.S. human trafficking–was criticized sharply in a March 3 report by MediaMatters, a self-described progressive media watchdog. Wagner used discredited video footage made by anti-abortion activist group Live Action as evidence that the organization was a party to underage sex trafficking. Wagner also falsely accused Planned Parenthood of not notifying authorities when Live Action members entered clinics pretending to be pimps and prostitutes, according to MediaMatters.
On the international front, U.S. aid to family planning initiatives would be cut 32 percent from 2010 spending levels and 38 percent from the President’s 2012 request, according to a Feb. 14 report by Ms. Magazine. Also, Republican legislators explicitly forbade any of this funding go to United Nations Population Fund, an organization that provides supplies and services for reproductive health and assists in rebuilding societies who are affected by poor reproductive health, leading to prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Legislations has also been proposed that would impact not only women’s health but also job training, education, housing and food programs, Legal Momentum, the women’s legal defense and education fund, reported in a press release March 3.
Legislators proposed would cut $758 million from the Women Infant Children program, which provides food and nutrition for low-income pregnant and postpartum women. The House budget bill also includes a $210 million cut in Maternal and Child Health block grants and $1.83 billion cut in Head Start from 2010 spending levels, Ms. Magazine reported. The Violence Against Women Act would also see $170 million slashed from its funding this year.
For background coverage by WeNews on the wave of anti-choice initiatives, read a physician’s bleak assessment of the outlook for abortion rights; the rise of anti-choice state legislators in the midterm elections; and John Boehner’s outlook on Congress. Also bear in mind the threats to Social Security, upon which older women disproportionately depend.
For information on choice-related laws, check an interactive map provided by NARAL Pro-Choice America.