This post has background information for a series of aircasts on “Abortion & State Governance” – what state governments and politicians are doing about reproductive rights.
The first aircast in this series is a debate focused on “Advocating for Pro-Choice and Pro-Life in Richmond VA”.
Reuters, – February 17, 2022
Florida’s House of Representatives passed a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy late on Wednesday, a measure several Republican-led states are pushing as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of such limits.
The approval on a party-line 78-39 vote moments before midnight sent consideration of the legislation to the state Senate, which is expected to pass the measure in the near future. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has likewise signaled his support for the bill.
Enactment in the Tallahassee statehouse would significantly reduce access to late-term abortions for women across the U.S. Southeast, many of whom travel hundreds of miles to end pregnancies in Florida because of stricter abortion laws in surrounding states.
Abortion is a legal medical procedure and the government has no business intruding on a woman’s private and personal health care decisions. Yet, in the last year we have seen unprecedented attacks on organizations that provide, among many other health care services, abortion care or even mention abortion as part of their counseling services.
States around the country have passed laws defunding Planned Parenthood and preventing them from participating in public health care programs. We’ve also seen politicians manipulate laws- from tax credit programs to federal family planning funding policies- to undermine any organization that even mentions abortion. Politicians across the country are willing to sacrifice community family planning centers and even domestic violence shelters as collateral damage in their efforts to limit access to abortion care.
These cynical attempts to insert ideology into personal decisions between women and their health care providers put hundreds of thousands of families, including the uninsured, unemployed and underserved, at risk of losing essential health care services.
Abortion by state
Abortion in the U.S. state of Virginia is legal up to the 25th week of pregnancy. 55% of adults said in a poll by the Pew Research Center that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Abortion was illegal in Virginia by 1900, and by 1950 had a therapeutic exception. At the University of Virginia Hospital in 1950, a review board in 1950 to examine and approve all abortion requests that were approved for psychiatric reasons which resulted in a large drop in the number of abortions performed there. The 1975 Bigelow v. Virginia was before the US Supreme Court ruled that state bans on abortion clinics advertising their services were unconstitutional. By 2007, it had an abortion-specific informed consent requirement. The number of abortion clinics in Virginia has fluctuated over the years, with 71 in 1982, 64 in 1992 and eighteen in 2014. There were 20,187 legal abortions in 2014, and 18,663 in 2015. There is an active abortion rights and anti-abortion rights activist communities in the states. The state has also seen anti-abortion rights violence, including at least two arson attacks.
The pro-life movement is the movement to block women’s access to legal abortion and to recriminalize the procedure. Abortion rights opponents coined the term “pro-life” after the Supreme Court ruled in 1973’s Roe v. Wade that the Constitution of the United States protects abortion rights. Its members term themselves “pro-life” in contrast to supporters of women’s right to the option of abortion, whom they call “pro-abortion.” Some participants use direct action and the language of the civil rights movement to obstruct abortion clinics and harass personnel and clients. Since Randall Terry and Joseph Scheidler launched Operation Rescue in 1987, violence against clinics has escalated to the extent that the 1990s witnessed murders of doctors performing abortions and of clinic personnel.
The pro-choice movement has sought to keep abortion safe, legal, and accessible to women. Advocates of abortion rights began using the term “pro-choice” in the years after the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which found that the Constitution of the United States protects abortion rights. They adopted the term to emphasize that their cause is women’s choice, not abortion per se, and to counter the antiabortion, or “pro-life,” movement’s description of them as “pro-abortion.” People in the pro-choice movement believe that women should have control over their reproductive lives as a legal fact and fundamental right, and that abortion should be available to all women.