Friday Femorandum

Friday Femorandum: 72-Hour Waits and 20-Week Bans

Welcome to the Friday Femorandum, a weekly look at all the reproductive rights news that’s fit to reprint. Get the Femorandum in your mailbox every week by subscribing here.

Warning: Bummer news ahead…

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As waiting periods for women to obtain an abortion have gotten longer and longer in many states, the Atlantic reports that the cost to get an abortion has similarly spiked, as more and more women are forced to pay for gas, hotels, childcare, and time taken off work to access the procedure. In one hypothetical case the Atlantic considers, that of a woman in Jefferson City, Michigan who seeks an abortion in St. Louis (the closest city with an abortion clinic), gas, hotel and child care alone (assuming the woman goes with the lowest-cost stranger offering childcare on Craigslist, at $60 for two nights) will cost around $221, or about half the cost of a first-trimester abortion–and that’s not counting in the cost of lost wages, food, and other travel expenses, in addition to the cost of the procedure itself.

Making abortion care more expensive is one way conservatives make it less accessible–if women can’t save up enough money to spend several days off work, living in hotels across the state from where they live, they may be forced to wait until the point after which abortion is illegal in their state, or forego an abortion altogether.

In Missouri, under the new 72-hour waiting period law, a woman must undergo mandatory “counseling” (during which the counselor must inform her that 22-week fetuses can feel pain and that life begins at conception), then wait three days before getting the procedure. In a state that has just one clinic that provides abortions, it’s hard to see how that doesn’t count as an undue burden.

For another example, look no further than North Carolina, which just adopted its own 72-hour waiting period. World magazine reports that the state’s governor, Pat McCrory, says signing the bill won’t violate his 2012 promise not to enact additional abortion restrictions because it’s intended to protect women’s health.

Vice, meanwhile, argues that the new abortion restrictions, along with a bill allowing court magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and another allowing employers to sue workers who reveal their illegal activities, could make North Carolina “the reddest state in the union.”

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, GOP politicians are just full of expert medical opinions, including the view of one state senator (who is not a doctor), reported in Raw Story, that there’s no need for politicians and the attorneys who draft legislation to know about silly medical stuff when enacting abortion bans based on (faulty) medical claims.

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Another non-doctor, WI Gov. Scott Walker, followed up with some medical wisdom of his own, saying that women forced to undergo ultrasounds before getting abortions could choose between a standard jelly-on-the-belly wand ultrasound and the much more invasive transvaginal “option,” which  involves a large wand being inserted in a woman’s vagina. (On FOX News, the Washington Post reports, Walker referred to transvaginal ultrasounds as “the kind they claimed out there,” showing zero evidence that he knows what transvaginal ultrasounds even are, nor how common they are early in pregnancy.)

What Walker apparently also does not know is that in early-stage pregnancy, which is when most women seek abortions, a transvaginal probe is often necessary to detect the fetus.

Additionally, Walker, who is not a psychologist but is always ready to offer his keen insights to anyone who doesn’t ask, declared that women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest really only care about that fact in the first few months of pregnancy, so a 20-week ban won’t have any psychological impact on rape victims. Talking Points Memo has more.  kanye west animated GIF

Another super-cool fact about Wisconsin’s 20-week ban (as if there weren’t enough already!): It would allow men who got women pregnant to sue those women for emotional distress if they chose to have an abortion, the Huffington Post reports.

And finally, at ThinkProgress, Tara Culp-Ressler takes a high-level look at all the abortion restrictions being imposed by Republican-controlled legislatures across the nation this year.

But chin up, Femorandies–NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is fighting every day to protect your right to choose.


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