Why Are Abortion Restrictions Increasing Across America?

Why Are Abortion Restrictions Increasing Across America?

From Texas to Ohio, there doesn't seem to be an easy way for women to make a choice.
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In 1973 the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade made major headlines. The ruling, 7-2, centered on the right to privacy under due process under the 14th Amendment, which would extend to a woman’s right to have an abortion. That happened 43 years ago, and here we find ourselves still fighting; pro-life and pro-choice supporters fighting for what should and shouldn’t be mandated by abortion clinics. Texas has been in the spotlight since June and Ohio has recently stepped out with its new plans. Some ask why? Why all these implications that make it so much harder? The only way to answer that question, however, is to look at what is actually going on.

In June of 2016 the Supreme Court looked at Texas House Bill 2, which stated that “the physician preforming the abortion or inducing an abortion must, on the service date, have active admitting privileges at a hospital, located not further than thirty miles from the abortion facility, and required the abortion facility to meet minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers under Texas law.”

The 5-3 ruling of the Supreme Court took the final stance on the issue, declaring that the new provisions put an undue burden on women trying to seek out pre-viability abortions. While Texas claimed that the law was passed in response to the Kermit Gosnell scandal, in which the Pennsylvania man was convicted in 2013 of first-degree murder for killing babies that were born alive in his clinic.

If the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Texas, the number of abortion clinics would drop from 40 to 7 in state.

Gov. Greg Abbott stated in an email to the Texas Tribune that that the new rules helped to reach, “Texas’ goal to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women.”

It's been the biggest abortion case to reach the Supreme Court since 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in which the Roe v. Wade ruling reaffirmed the constitutional right to abortion.

But, the ruling didn’t seem to have an impression on Texas politicians. Just days after the ruling in June, Gov. Greg Abbott, trying to give a voice to the unborn, proposed new rules that would require aborted fetuses to be buried like any live person. The rules go into effect December 19, 2016 unless a new ruling from a Texas judge stands.

The rules were proposed and then revised, which required all aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated, to exclude the women who have miscarriages or abortions done at home. These new rules will add a $2,000 cost to the $350 - $900 procedure.

Now, that is just what is going on in Texas. And that’s a lot. Looking back to the first few days of December, and the Ohio Senate, we have a whole other issue at hand.

On December 6, 2016 the Ohio Senate added a heartbeat ban to House Bill 493, making abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat a fifth-degree felony except in cases where a physician judges the abortion necessary to prevent death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

This is not the first time that Ohio has passed a bill like this. In March of 2015, they passed a similar heartbeat ban making the abortion of a heartbeat detected fetus a fourth-degree felony plus a fine. However, the bill was never enacted so to avoid conflict in the Republican-dominated senate.

Groups that do not support generalized abortion, but understand it in some cases, wonder what these new rules mean for women in cases of rape. Will a woman who is raped and traumatized be forced to carry that child to term? Will she have to bury the fetus should she choose abortion?

So, why are restrictions going up all over the country as we near the 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment? Some speculate that it’s because politicians are trying to retract women’s rights, which it surely looks like. Others will say they are simply trying to keep women safe and protect our most basic right, life. Whatever reason you want to give, there will no doubt now be consequences of the enacted laws.

There seems to be no solid evidence that the enacted changes in Texas will in any way be better for women's health. In fact, it could traumatize her even more. Put simply, the new rules seem only to be a way to shame and burden those in search of an abortion.

The women are not the only people being affected, we must also think of the child at hand. The children that will be born unwanted, either given up for adoption or put in a home that doesn’t want them, leading to abuse, depression, anxiety and hundreds of other things. Bringing an unwanted child into the world is more harmful to the child than it is to the mother. Because the consequences of childhood, emotional and physical abuse stick with them forever.

So, America, why are we attempting to make it nearly impossible for a woman to seek out an abortion? Her reasons are her own, and I question why abortions are as common as they are, but in no way will tell a woman she can’t do it. Why shame and burden them financially? Why force her to have a child she either can’t care for or doesn’t want? Childbirth shouldn’t be a punishment. It should be a gift.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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