Doctors and nurses should never fear losing their jobs simply because they treated patients seeking abortion, or because they support abortion access. Yet across the country clinicians are fired, threatened, and otherwise punished for providing abortion services, seeking abortion training, or engaging in advocacy around abortion. This kind of discrimination is unacceptable, but it is little known or addressed. (National Women’s Law Center)
During every legislative session in Minnesota forced-birth fanatics come up with a new focus. TRAP laws, requiring a doctor’s presence for medication abortions…this year it’s ultrasound.
HF3194/SF2849 This bill requires providers to offer patients the option of having an ultrasound just prior to an abortion. This is unnecessary as patients already have the right to an ultrasound. Doctors should determine the health care needs of patients, not legislators. This bill is about shaming women who choose to have an abortion by implying they do not have all the information they need to make that decision. (Women’s March Minnesota)
First, a bit of kind-of-good news, from the Capitol.
Minnesota legislators voted down an amendment last week that would have required increased inspection and licensing requirements for clinics that provide abortion services, increasingly common regulations passed by GOP-dominated state legislatures.
An amendment sponsored by Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) to the Minnesota Health and Human Services omnibus bill was defeated in the state senate by a 32-29 vote, mostly along partisan lines, with four anti-choice Democrats joining Republicans in supporting the measure. (RH Reality Check)
But that didn’t stop the zealots, yesterday, in the House.
There were amendments pertaining to the unborn, as well.
Offered by Rep. Debra Kiel (R-Crookston), one would require licensure of clinics that perform 10 or more abortions per month. It passed 76-57.
Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights) called the amendment a “red herring” that seeks to restrict abortions by causing clinics to go out of business due to expensive licensing requirements.
Rep. Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud) successfully offered an amendment to prohibit state-funded abortions. Called “unconstitutional” by minority-party members, it also passed 76-57. (Session Daily)
According to an e-mail I got from NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, the first of those, which would set ridiculous conditions for licensure, could close down 80% of the state’s facilities where women can currently choose to exercise their rights to safe, legal access. That was the deal with the Senate bill, too.
However, 46% of women who get abortions weren’t using a contraceptive method the month they got pregnant, indicating that conservative policies that discourage regular contraception use—everything from abstinence-only education to objecting to any measures that make contraception cheaper and easier to obtain—have been effective in keeping women from using contraception as regularly as they should. In addition, abortion rates are much higher for women living in poverty, and three quarters of women getting abortions say they can’t afford a child. If anti-choicers start moaning about the high rate of abortions, ask them what they intend to do about it. Do they want to make birth control free for all women? What about expansive social welfare that makes it easier for pregnant women living in poverty to say yes to having this baby? Most anti-choicers are generally conservative, and most will get really angry really quick if you start to mention concrete solutions to lower the abortion rate. (AlterNet)
Apparently a few anti-choice zealot bills have been introduced in the Minnesota legislature. They’re pretty much the same things that appear every session, from the usual suspects, and thankfully they won’t get far. No way am I scanning the many hundreds of House bill introductions, yet again, to track down the individual numbers. My understanding is that one would create an effective ban on medication abortion, by requiring a degree of medical supervision far beyond all reason for a procedure known for exceptional rarity of adverse side effects.
A large new study in the journal Contraception effectively debunks the rationale for passing restrictions on abortion-inducing pills, a legislative trend that often slips under the radar but that threatens to make it all the way up to the Supreme Court. In light of the findings, the lead researchers conclude that “politics should never trump science.”
The new research, which tracked more than 13,000 women’s medication abortions at Planned Parenthood health centers in Los Angeles over a five-year period, confirms that an off-label regimen for providing medication abortion is very safe. That finding stands in direct contrast to an increasing number of state laws that specifically prevent doctors from prescribing this effective regimen – legislation that is misleadingly framed in terms of women’s “health and safety.” (Think Progress)
There is still anti-choice legislation proceeding through Minnesota’s House and Senate. This post references the legislation in the House, which has many co-sponsors, and has been through a number of committees. The pages link the Senate companion bills, if you’re that interested.
HF 2340 seems reasonable enough, ostensibly just providing for licensure and inspections, of the sort that go on at any facility that provides health care services. Until, that is, you take a good look at the (possibly ALEC/AUL-generated) text, and realize that it would provide means for “inspectors,” directed by forced-birthers in charge of government agencies, to hammer facilities, or even close them down, over trivial “violations.” It’s an example of what’s known as a TRAP law.
The anti-choice movement has undertaken a campaign to impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers-but not other medical professionals-in an obvious attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain. Such proposals are known as TRAP laws: Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.
HF 2341 would make it much more of a hassle, for women to use pregnancy-terminating medication like RU-486. This example of forced-birth zealotry has been popping up all over the country, as well.
Unhappy with women’s rapidly expanding access to early medication abortion, in no (small) part because it reduces the ability to harass and stigmatize women for terminating a pregnancy, anti-choice advocates have repeatedly attacked medication abortion in much the same way they have surgical abortion: spreading lies and distortion about the medical safety of abortion procedures, stigmatizing abortion (and contraception) and seeking to pass one law after another creating spurious barriers to access to abortion, all under the guise of “protecting women.”
Two pieces of legislation authored by forced-birthers are being heard in the Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee today. SF 1912 and SF 1921 are both efforts to harass women seeking to exercise their reproductive rights, and the providers thereof.
Both bills contain a “severability” clause which is often put into legislation when it is possible parts of it might be found unconstitutional.