Photo by AP/Wide World Photos
Last Sunday, in one of the biggest marches ever on Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents protested the steady chipping away of abortion rights. From President Bush to state legislatures, a woman’s right to control her own destiny is in profoundly increasing danger. After the 2002 midterm elections, anti-choice zealots — who picked up a number of offices — ramped up their crusade. Consider just a few stats from NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation’s 2004 report “Who Decides? A State by State Report on the Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights.”
• In 25 states, at least 90 percent of counties have no abortion provider.
• State legislatures considered 558 anti-choice measures last year, up 35 percent from 2002.
• States enacted 45 new anti-choice laws in 2003, bringing the total number of measures to 380 from 18 in 1995.
• Last year, eight states introduced 13 measures that would ban all or most abortions; North Dakota, for example, considered a bill that would make it a felony to perform an abortion from “fertilization until the moment of birth.”
• States had multiple identical anti-choice bills pending. Minnesota had 14 bills introduced to impose counseling and mandatory delays on women seeking abortions.
• President Bush signed the first-ever criminal ban on abortion, the misnamed “Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003” (in fact, the law criminalizes procedures used as early as 12 weeks), although the ban is being challenged.