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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ramping Up the Attacks on Women's Reproductive Rights

This week's Economist runs a story summarizing the status of abortion restrictions, especially in US southern states. It went to press just after the North Dakota legislature passed and sent to the governor a bill that would impose the country's tightest restriction on abortions, without representing an outright ban on abortion. Note, by the way, that my calculations show that the North Dakota Assembly is 83 percent male, and the Senate is 85 percent male.
The North Dakota Senate on Friday approved banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, sending what would be the most-stringent abortion restrictions in the U.S. to the state's Republican governor for his signature.
The measure would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The House already approved the measure. Gov. Jack Dalrymple generally opposes abortion but has not said whether he will sign the bill into law.The vote came with almost no debate in the Senate and after the same chamber approved another measure that would make North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome.
Abortion-rights advocates say the anti-abortion measures in the North Dakota Legislature are attempt to close the state's sole abortion clinic, in Fargo. They also say the so-called fetal heartbeat bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and its supporters should expect a costly legal fight if it becomes law.
The Economist does have an article on North Dakota, but it focuses on the economic and population growth stimulated by the oil boom in three of its counties. Given the problems associated with this boom (including the fear of a bust if oil prices should drop a bit), one might think that the legislature would be spending its time on issues of pressing importance to the state, instead of undermining women's reproductive rights.

1 comment:

  1. Given that the TFR of the USA is now below replacement, isn't it inevitable that the state take measures of some kind or another to try to increase fertility? Of course, those measures may well not work, but this news does not seem very surprising to me.