A new wave of conservative legislators took office in November and since that time, have made many attempts to restrict abortion and impose further impediments on women seeking abortions. Lawmakers across the United States have introduced bills and/or passed laws in what critics say is an attempt to not only test the waters, but to push limits.
Most states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after the initial clinic visit to obtain an abortion; however, in South Dakota, Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a newly passed bill forcing women to face a 72-hour waiting period and counseling at a crisis pregnancy center before being able to obtain the procedure. According to Sarah Stoesz of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, in a rural state like South Dakota, the 72-hour waiting period would force women to make several long trips to the clinic, which is often hours away. Stoesz regards the mandated counseling aspect as biased:
The mission of a crisis pregnancy center is to talk women out of having abortions. That’s not the same thing as offering an opinion.
Twenty states have passed laws that require doctors to offer ultrasounds to women seeking abortions. Seven states, including Ohio and Texas, are considering bills in which an ultrasound is mandated. If the bill in Ohio is passed, abortions would be banned if a fetal heartbeat is detected. In the Texas legislature, two versions of a bill requiring a sonogram for a woman seeking an abortion have been passed. This bill also requires doctors to show the women the sonogram image, provide a detailed description, and allow women to hear a heartbeat (if audible).
The proposed and passed bills not only create more restrictions and impediments on women seeking abortions, but are insulting to women’s intelligence and autonomy, overly invasive and likely to face legal challenges.