This week, state lawmakers in Louisiana spent their taxpayer-funded time passing an unconstitutional abortion ban, attempts at self-induced abortions continued to spike, and despite all odds, the teen birth rate declined thanks to–spoiler–better access to contraception.
Louisiana moved forward this week with two radical anti-abortion bills. The first, passed by the state senate yesterday, bans abortions based on fetal abnormalities, forcing women to carry fetuses with even life-threatening or fatal birth defects. The bill almost certainly violates the constitutional right to end a pregnancy enshrined Roe v. Wade, which allows only limited restrictions on the right to choose.
The second, which Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law this week, bans the most common form of second-trimester abortion, known as dilation and evacuation, and is identical to bills in several other states, including neighboring Mississippi and Alabama, Rewire reports. The identical wording of the bills is no coincidence; the “anti-choice legislation mill” known as the National Right to Life Committee drafted the bill and distributed it to anti-choice legislators across the country.
In absolutely related news, the Guardian reports on a nationwide wave of self-induced abortion attempts in the US, as women without access to abortion services become desperate enough to take matters into their own hands. Methods include self-poisoning, dubious herbal concoctions, drugs obtained from Mexican pharmacies, and other unproven, often unsafe, methods.
“There are phone calls about substances that carry warning labels for pregnancy: “‘What if I drank a whole bottle of this-or-that?”’ said Sue Postal, who recently closed her clinic in Toledo. Others take more drastic measures, such as the young woman in Postal’s clinic whose boyfriend had punched her in the stomach as hard as he could – at the woman’s insistence,” the Guardian reports.
Not surprisingly, anti-choice activists deflect blame for such dangerous desperate measures away from themselves and on to women who attempt to end their pregnancies. Mark Crutcher, the Texas-based anti-choice activist who inspired the fraudulent attack videos that launched dozens of investigations into Planned Parenthood, said on his TV show this week that people like him who want to ban all abortions won’t be responsible if women die from botched coat hanger abortions in a post-Roe America.
His reasoning, according to Right Wing Watch? Anti-choice activists won’t themselves be performing illegal abortions; therefore, they aren’t culpable if abortion is banned and dangerous illegal abortions are the only option.. “The fact is, if women wind up dying — every women that has ever died in an abortion, every woman that was ever was raped in an abortion clinic, was killed by a pro-abort or raped by a pro-abort. Why are we responsible for that?” he said. “So if you don’t like coat-hanger abortions, don’t do abortions.” I’m sure he feels exactly this way about every other basic medical procedure, right?
Finally, in a rare bit of positive news for reproductive rights, the teen pregnancy rate in the US dropped eight percent last year, to an all-time low of 22.3 live births per thousand teenagers age 15 to 19. According to Slate, “The steady drop in the U.S. teen birth rate has been largely credited with raising the average age of first-time mothers 1.4 years since 2000.” One likely reason: Greater access to birth control, including long-acting contraceptive methods like IUDs, which are among the most effective forms of birth control.