Wednesday, June 8, 2011
This has been a very difficult year for the preservation of reproductive rights. As Emily Bazelon reported in the New York Times last week, state legislatures have adopted a broad range of restrictions on abortion. Newly-adopted provisions would ban abortions after 20 weeks, require women to receive counseling at pregnancy crisis centers before their abortions, and cut off state and federal funding for contraception, screening for cancer or sexually transmitted diseases, and other non-abortion services at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Along with South Dakota, Indiana has led the way. In November, Republicans gained control of the House and joined with the already-Republican Senate and Gov. Mitch Daniels to push through their anti-choice agenda.
And it’s not just the General Assembly and governor, nor just Republican office-holders in Indiana. When Planned Parenthood requested a temporary restraining order against its loss of federal funds, a Democratic district court judge in Indianapolis declined to intervene. After last week’s letter from HHS informing Indiana that its cut-off of funding violates Medicaid law, there is good reason to think the judge will reconsider her decision when she decides whether to issue a preliminary injunction later this month. And in a case I discussed previously on this blog, a Democratic prosecutor in Indianapolis filed murder charges against a woman who tried to commit suicide while pregnant. When the woman survived her attempt, doctors delivered her fetus by cesarean section, but the infant died a few days later. Even though Indiana does not make attempted suicide a crime, the prosecutor is trying to make it a crime for pregnant women.