DemDaily: Rolling Back Reproductive Rights

May 7, 2018

Last Friday Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) signed into law the "fetal heartbeat bill," the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation.

Senate File 359, which will take effect July 1, would bar physicians from performing abortions after the first six weeks of pregnancy, prior to when most women realize they are pregnant.  Several groups are expected to launch immediate legal challenges to the law.

Federal Law

In the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case, the US Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's constitutional right to abortion.

The 1973 ruling, however, gave states the right to regulate the practice in the third trimester of pregnancy (seven to nine months).

In a subsequent 1992 ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court rejected Roe's trimester framework while affirming its central holding that a woman has a right to abortion until fetal viability.

In 2007, in Gonzales v. Carhart, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003", signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Although the fundamental legality of abortions under Roe remains intact, many states have passed laws to restrict late-term abortions, implement mandatory waiting periods, require parental notification for minors, and limit public funding of abortion providers, among other acts.

State Laws
Since Roe, over 1,200 abortion restrictions have been enacted by states

Of those, 29 states have adopted enough abortion restrictions to be considered either hostile (6 states) or extremely hostile (23 states) to abortion rights, with Iowa and West Virginia entering the hostile group for the first time.

That means that now 58% of American women of reproductive age live in a state considered either hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights. Only 30% of women live in a state supportive of abortion rights.

Reproductive Rights Under Trump
In his first year of office, President Trump wasted no time in his attempts to hinder the reproductive rights of women through a series of policy, executive orders, appointments, and resolutions, and in January became the first president to speak at the annual "March for Life" which opposes a woman's right to choose.

Learn more about the laws in your state and what you can do to protect a woman's reproductive rights!


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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: DesMoines Register, Guttmacher Institute, Center for Reproductive Rights

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