It’s been a pretty harrowing year for women’s reproductive rights—several years, in fact. Since 2011, a whopping 231 new state level restrictions have gone into effect: In 2013, 22 states added 70 anti-abortion measures; in 2014, 35 new provisions restricting access were introduced, and by the end of the year 15 states had passed a total of 26. And so far 2015 isn’t shaping up any differently.
In Arizona—a state notable for its extreme hostility toward abortion rights—state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require doctors to tell women their medical abortions could be reversed if they act fast enough, despite the fact that there is no medical data to back up it up. It also aims to block abortion coverage under any insurance plan purchased through the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps most frightening is that this bill has made it through the senate and now awaits review in the House.
And the hits just keep on coming. A bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks is making its way to the South Carolina Senate; in Ohio, a committee heard the “heartbeat bill”, which intends to ban abortions as early as six weeks (before many women even know that they are pregnant). Last month Arkansas—a state which, as of 2011, only had three abortion clinics in total—banned the use of telemedicine for medical abortions; and Nebraska is considering the same types of legislation that all but made it impossible for women in Texas to obtain an abortion.
The United States isn’t doing much better on a federal level these days, either. A Republican provision that would ban the use of government funds for abortions within the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act has stalled progress entirely. Women—victims of rape and abuse, as well as the crime of gender—are the ones left in the balance. We can only hope that 2015 starts getting it together soon.