Republicans Ramp Up War on Women

american taliban2011 was a banner year for anti-choice activists who succeeded in pushing through a record number of abortion restrictions. But it’s a new year, and it appears the GOP is dead set on outdoing itself. Republicans in Congress and across the country are introducing a variety pack of extreme anti-abortion bills — including personhood initiatives, heartbeat bills, and fetal pain bills — that saw some success last year. Here is a run-down of the abortion restrictions American women across the country are already facing in the first month of 2012:

  • PERSONHOOD: The Virginia General Assembly’s very first bill, House Bill 1, is a “personhood” measure that defines life as beginning at conception and would essentially outlaw abortions. Modeling it on Mississippi’s failed measure, Virginia Republicans threaten to outlaw birth control and in vitro fertilization for couples trying to have a baby. Anti-choice activists hope to push similar measures in at least 11 other states, including Ohio and Kansas.
  • RACE-BASED ABORTIONS: Following in Arizona’s footsteps, Florida Republicans introduced a bill that would “require abortion providers to sign an affidavit stating they’re not performing the procedure because the woman did not want a child of a particular gender or race.” Despite a complete lack of evidence, they insist that minority women are seeking abortions, or have a higher abortion rate in their communities, because they loathe the race of the fetus.
  • FETAL PAIN: Florida Republicans are simultaneously pushing a bill that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks based on the unfounded idea that fetuses can feel pain. “They suck their thumbs,” said state sponsor Rep. Daniel Davis (R). “They get hiccups. They get excited when their mom talks. They feel pain.” The medical community, however, insists that it is highly unlikely the fetus registers pain as its brain is not developed enough. U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the same measure to ban post-20 week abortions for women in Washington, D.C in order to protect a fetus from “the agonizing process of being aborted.”
  • HEARTBEAT BILL: While a more radical heartbeat bill is slowly proceeding in Ohio, another kind of “heartbeat” bill is also gaining a foothold in the Oklahoma legislature. State Sen. Dan Newberry (R) and state Rep. Pam Peterson (R) filed companion measures that “require abortion providers to use a fetal heart rate monitor on the fetus of a woman who is at least eight weeks pregnant and make the heartbeat of the unborn child audible before an abortion is performed.” The heartbeat can often be detected as early as “six to seven weeks,” before a women even knows she is pregnant.

tanya somanaderHouse GOP Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) are also pushing their own anti-abortion bills in Congress. Duncan’s bill would “require abortion providers to obtain written certification from a woman seeking an abortion, then to wait 24 hours after that certification before performing the abortion.” Jordan’s bill would “require women seeking an abortion to be given the chance to view an ultrasound of their unborn child before obtaining the abortion.”

Tanya Somanader
Think Progress


  1. annie$ says

    Until the Republicans get serious about PREVENTING unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, they are simply anti-sex. Trying to outlaw use of contraceptives by women is lunacy.

  2. Radhika says

    I am very aware of these anti-woman, anti-privacy measures. They are well-funded and completely at odds with any view of women as independent, self-determining free beings.

    That said: where is the outrage, the hub-bub, the grassroots activism among younger women? I don’t see this as a high-profile cause in high schools and colleges, in women’s groups or in Pro-Choice fundraising. I don’t see it mentioned by any of the Occupy folks, Candidates try to sidestep the total issues – both parties.

    I did my piece in the 70’s. Unless and until OUR daughters grab the issue, I will sit it out.

  3. Ross S. Heckmann says

    Who’s waging war on women? Substantially more than half of the people killed in the womb are female (due to sex-selection abortions). A woman’s right to be born should take precedence over a woman’s right to choose to end the life of another, or to have a boy instead of a girl.

    Of course there are vast numbers of sex-selection abortions. Does anyone seriously dispute this tendency particularly among Asian immigrants?

    I see. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. Apparently, only after birth is any pain felt.

    This author seems relatively impervious to inconvenient facts. Apparently this is the best she can do and the best L. A. Progressive can do. Thanks for once again showing the intellectual bankruptcy of this position. This is progress.

  4. Ryder says

    Why isn’t this article called “Republicans ramp down the war on the unborn?”.

    I guess it doesn’t sound so bad that way… Oh well, writers have choices to make I guess.

    Though I do note that “war” is about killing… If I were to talk about someone with their arm torn off by bloody trama, followed shortly by death, could you tell if I were talking about a downed soldier, or an aborted child? You can’t, really.

    I think that if there is any “war” here at all… the similarities between soldiers and unborn babies are greater than some supposed “war on women”.

    Besides, I thought that the left was against any war or related metaphors ever since Gabrielle Giffords was shot.

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