The Center for Reproductive Rights has released the results of a new poll that shows 61 percent of adults in the United States support the federal government passing legislation to protect women’s access to abortion and prevent state’s from passing laws meant to restrict that access, known as TRAP laws.
In addition, the poll found that 69 percent of adults want Roe v Wade to remain the law of the land and 66 percent support a woman having access to abortion care in her own community,
45 states and the District of Columbia have laws subjecting women and/or abortion providers to burdensome regulations. Between 2011 and now, some 369 abortion restrictions have been passed by state legislatures, twice as many as in the previous decade. When informed of this fact, 59 percent of respondents considered this to be the wrong direction for the country to head in.
In fact, many of these laws are already considered unconstitutional. In 2016 the Supreme Court heard the case of Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt and ruled that Texas’s law requiring abortion clinics to comply with ambulatory surgical center standards, as well as mandating that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals, was unconstitutional, as it had no proven medical benefit and constituted an undue burden on women seeking abortion. The Guttmacher Institute says there are 18 states that passed bills mandating the same or similar requirements.
But just because it is unconstitutional, does not mean that Texas or other states have given up on their anti-abortion agenda. Last month, the Texas state legislature went into special session in order to pass a number of bills, including one that bans all private health insurance plans and plans sold through the Affordable Care Act marketplace from covering abortion care unless the life of the woman is directly at risk. In June, Governor Abbott signed into law a bill that requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated, prohibits donations of fetal tissue and implements sweeping bans on some of the safest types of second trimester abortions.
Despite a state legislature hostile to women’s health, 54 percent of Texans support the federal government passing legislation to protect women’s access to abortion.
The Women’s Health Protection Act is a piece of federal legislation, re-introduced in 2017, that aims to protect the rights of women to access abortion services. It states that “access to safe, legal abortion services is essential to women’s health and central to women’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life of the United States.” The bill makes state TRAP laws illegal, including requirements that force individuals seeking abortion to undergo unnecessary medical tests and in-person visits prior to the procedure.
81 percent of respondents in the Center’s survey want Congress to make women’s healthcare a priority, and an equal percentage want Congress to be vocal about women’s health issues. Of those who want Congress to be more vocal, 66 percent support the Women’s Health Protection Act.
Media Resources: Center for Reproductive Rights 07/2017; Feminist Majority Foundation 4/20/17, 8/17/17, 6/29/17;