Eleven States Enter New Abortion Debate

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President Obama thinks that “legislation to expand access to contraception [and] health information…[will] help reduce unintended pregnancies.” But this month pro-life legislators have taken a more underhanded approach.

Eleven states are currently considering bills that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion. Sixteen states already have laws that require doctors to offer women the option to have an ultrasound. Oklahoma’s proposed law goes even farther, and would force women to view ultrasounds and require doctors to verbally describe the images. Many legislators say the efforts are not political, but rather about providing “information to a mother who is in a desperate situation,” says Senator Tony Fulton (R-NE), “information about what she’s about to choose; information about the reality inside her womb…”

Missouri’s proposed bill would not only require ultrasounds, but also make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion; for example, by mental or physical abuse or job discrimination. South Carolina already has a pre-abortion ultrasound law, but a newly proposed law would make women wait twenty-four hours, after seeing the ultrasound, to deliberate before having an abortion.

In Wyoming, last week the state’s House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee shot down a proposed ultrasound bill in a 6-3 vote. But the debate is far from over; it remains to be seen whether Obama’s federal policies have any effect on this year’s group of ultrasound propositions.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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