The Guttmacher Institute has documented 916 measures related to reproductive health and rights in the 49 legislatures that have convened their regular sessions. (Louisiana’s legislature will not convene until late April.) By the end of March, seven states had enacted 15 new laws on these issues, including provisions that:
•expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it more onerous than that in any other state, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to obtain counseling from a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;
•expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;
•require the health departments in Utah and Virginia to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics; •revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;
•limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and
•revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.
So far this year, legislators in 13 states have introduced 22 bills seeking to mandate that a woman obtain an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion. Bills in seven states (AL, IN, KY, MT, OH, RI and TX) are very similar to a law enacted last year in Oklahoma that requires a woman to undergo an ultrasound procedure, view the image and receive a verbal description of the fetus (see Requirements for Ultrasound). Of these, proposals in Kentucky and Texas have been approved by a chamber of the legislature.
Moreover, the legislative proposals in Kentucky and Texas blurred the line between two previously separate issues: requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion and imposing a waiting period on a woman seeking an abortion (see Requirements for Ultrasound).
Although the 2010 Oklahoma law had a waiting period, it required that only two hours elapse between the ultrasound and the abortion. The measure that was approved by the Senate in Kentucky would have required 24 hours between the two procedures; the House adjourned for the year before considering the measure. Two measures in Texas include waiting periods: one would mandate a 24-hour wait and the other would require that between 24 and 72 hours elapse; each of the bills has been passed by one house of the legislature, and conferees are working to resolve the differences between the two measures.
This doesn't cover the disgusting attack on Sandra Fluke by the GOP's most respected and adored radio shock jock, Rush Limbaugh, when he labeled her a "slut" and "prostitute" for advocating for contraceptive coverage by insurance companies.
It's laughable for the GOP to complain about the labeling--"war on women" when it is that party's determination to make a legal medical procedure more and more difficult for women, and for the presumptive nominee, Willard Romney, to say that one of the first things he would do as president is withdraw all government funding from Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves the health needs of poor women who are under insured or who have no insurance at all.
If the GOP hates being labeled as the political party carrying out a war on women, they should stop proposing and passing laws that make women's lives more difficult, and, in particular, poor and disadvantaged women more miserable.