Republican stronghold states moving quickly to ratchet down on abortion access

by Will Tubbs

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

 

It took little time, and in three cases literally no time at all, for red states to begin to further or fully restrict abortion access.

The states of Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Dakota each had an existing law that established a “trigger ban” provision, which made abortion illegal in each state the moment the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade.

While all three states are largely dominated by Republicans, Louisiana and Kentucky have Democrat governors. Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards is a moderate Democrat who espouses pro-life viewpoint’s while Andy Beshear of Kentucky is among the more outspoken leftists one is likely to find.

Kristi Noem, well-known nationwide and generally well-liked in Republican circles, serves as South Dakota’s governor.

Noem was delighted and promised to work with state legislators to create new laws that would help mothers navigate the entirety of pregnancy and give women numerous options for how to proceed after giving birth.

“In South Dakota, we value life,” Noem tweeted. “Being pro-life also means getting moms the help they need to be successful. We’re launching http://Life.SD.gov to give women the resources they need to navigate pregnancy … birth, parenting, and adoption, if they choose.’

In a second tweet, she wrote, “We have prayed for this day, and now it’s here. Legislative leaders and I have jointly announced plans for a special session to save lives and help mothers later this year.”

 

Beshear expressed anger toward Republicans and sorrow for the victims of rape and incest, but did not offer any solutions.

“Today’s decision triggers an extremist Kentucky law that creates a total ban in Kentucky thatwill eliminate all options for victims of rape or incest,” Beshear tweeted. “As the former chief prosecutor of Kentucky, I know that these violent crimes happen, and not having options for victims of rape and incest is wrong.”

Beshear did not provide any context as to how many cases of rape and incest have occurred in his state either in total or on average.

The numbers for incest were not readily available, but according to the 2019 FBI crime statistics report, there were 1,572 rapes reported in Kentucky in 2019. It is not clear how many of these instances resulted in a pregnancy.

Beshear also offered misleading commentary. In reality, the victims he mentioned did not lose all of their options.

To be sure, these victims lost their ability to abort a pregnancy in the state of Kentucky and stand to lose or have lost the ability to travel to numerous other states to seek an abortion. However, they still have the option of keeping the child or offering the newborn baby for adoption, options which at least some victims or rape and incest have taken in the past.

While it might not be within every person’s ability to afford, any woman from Kentucky can still venture to Illinois, one state to the north, where abortions remain legal and unlikely to be further restricted.

Edwards proved an interesting subject for observation as he sought to maintain a position on what is either vastly shrunken or nonexistent middle ground.

 

“I am and have always been unabashedly pro-life & opposed to abortion,” Edwards tweeted. “However, I understand that people on both sides of this issue hold deeply personal beliefs, & I respect that not everyone, including many in my own party, agrees with my position.

Later in his tweet thread, Edwards added, “Make no mistake, there is much more that we can do to support women, children, and families, and I hope that my fellow pro-life public officials will join me in these efforts in the coming months and years.”

MORE STATES MOVING QUICKLY TO LIMIT ABORTION

Ten other states – Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas – had trigger laws in place, but in each case these laws required additional steps to be taken by the government before a ban or any further abortion restriction can be undertaken.

Missouri, which required only that the attorney general certify the law through an official opinion, effectively ended abortion rights on Friday. Similar measures were carried out in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“[With] the issuance of an attorney general opinion, my Office has yet again reinforced Missouri’s dedication to protecting the sanctity of life, both born and unborn,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement.  He added, “My Office has been fighting to uphold the sanctity of life since I became attorney general, culminating in today’s momentous court ruling and attorney general opinion. I will continue the fight to protect all life, born and unborn.”

As abortion returns to a matter for the states, state-level legislative action has become frenetic.

It is likely easiest to understand the issue today, one day after the end of Roe, in terms of the states where abortion access is safe.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion advocacy group, currently classifies just 11 states as protective of abortion – Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and Maine.

In all other states, abortion has at least some restrictions. Seventeen states have either banned or effectively banned abortions, and the institute believes four states – Montana, Nebraska, Florida, and Indiana – will complete efforts to ban or severely limit abortions in the near future.

 

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