The legal status of abortion in 2014

Several articles on abortion laws have come out in the past few days, most of which point out that significant amounts of legislation have been passed on this matter in the last 3-4 years. One of the best of these pieces appears in the New York Times. (Go here to read it.) I have appreciated Erik Eckholm’s reporting for some time, and this piece is no exception. This is a well-researched and carefully written article that is about as nuanced as an article of this length can be. Some highlights in this article include:

  • Attention to exigency: A federal appeals court will hear arguments Monday on a case stemming from the debacle in Texas this summer. (Run a search on Wendy Davis if this is news to you.)
  • A series of quotes from Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life: “I’m very encouraged . . I think it is more difficult to get an abortion in the country today.” This mindset is a huge problem. I wish NRL would be encouraged by and advocating for a decrease in the need for abortions, rather than just being smug about limiting access.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the ways current laws on abortion interact–or don’t. Eckholm reports bans on 20-week abortions are en effect in nine states, in direct violation of the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. Thus, this article makes clear that action is imminent. Further,  Ekcholm refers to a “legal patchwork,” which demonstrates how very dependent “rights” are on where one lives, one’s ability to be mobile, and one’s ability to access and understand regulatory rhetorics.
  • Several phrases that point out how insurance coverage (and laws that effect it) have a major impact on abortion practices. This points to a need to be aware of how the changing climate of healthcare in the US will affect access to abortions.
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