A determined assault on women’s health services has been waged vigorously by the religious and the right wing in America, especially on the right to abortion and contraception. While abortion remains technically legal, their strategy has been impose onerous burdens on providers so as to intimidate them or regulate them out of business by imposing rules that make it impossible to operate. Ohio has been particularly vicious in this effort. The Guttmacher Institute keeps track of these state laws.
What has been particularly shameful has been the war on Planned Parenthood. This organization provides a host of medical services without which many lower income women would be denied much needed care. But just because a small fraction of their work involves providing abortions, some of these clinics have been forced to shut down or had their funding reduced. The goal seems to be to make abortions harder and harder to get. Of course, the wealthy will always be able to get them.
So I was pleased to see that at least in California, things are looking up. That state has just passed the first law since 2006 that actually expands abortion access, by allowing trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse midwives to also perform them in the first-trimester. The law also keeps abortion legal in the state even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.
California has a history of being a trendsetter for both good and bad. Let’s see whether their move is followed by others.