The war on abortion and reproductive rights has grown alarmingly in the past several years and there are anti-choice politicians and organizations who are obsessed with turning back the clock to a pre-Roe v. Wade era. But there are those on the frontlines who are fighting to maintain and advance reproductive rights. Despite the damage done by anti-abortion forces, not everything is doom and gloom: Here are some of the top pro-choice victories of 2014.
1. Indiana Dodges a TRAP
TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws apply stringent, inconvenient and even unnecessary requirements to abortion providers, clinics and physicians’ offices in an effort to make obtaining abortions more difficult. The name sure fits the description, doesn’t it? An Indiana law that passed in May 2013 sought to change the definition of “abortion clinic” to include any medical facility that provided RU-486, otherwise known as the “abortion pill.” The law was passed to target just one Planned Parenthood clinic and force it to add operating rooms it didn’t need (an expensive undertaking) or close its doors. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit and the judge (rightfully) found the law to be unconstitutional.
2. Midterm Personhood Measures Soundly Defeated
Colorado proved that its pro-choice support is tried and true after voting “no” on a personhood measure for a third time. Amendment 67 would have changed the definition of a fertilized egg to a legal “person,” thus paving the way for abortions—and even miscarriages—to be legally treated as murder. Yikes! Over in North Dakota, voters rejected a personhood measure that would have amended the state constitution to read, “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”
3. National Exit Polls Show Most Voters Are Pro-Choice
Despite this year’s tough midterm elections, national exit polls revealed that 52 percent of voters believe that abortion should be “always” or “mostly” legal. While a Republican House majority for the next two years will likely be hard on reproductive rights, shifting attitudes among the electorate have the potential to affect long-term change for pro-choice causes.
4. The Little Clinic That Could Stays Open
It seems like the Jackson Women’s Health Organization can’t catch a break! As the last standing abortion clinic in Mississippi, it is constantly bombarded with anti-choice attempts to shut its doors for good—but it’s still standing, thanks in part to a federal appeals panel. In July, the the panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked a Mississippi law that would have required JWHO doctors to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals, which JWHO has been unable to do, effectively forcing the clinic to shut its doors. Judge E. Grady Jolly wrote that Mississippi could not use the law to extinguish “the constitutional right to end [a] pregnancy by abortion” by closing the last clinic within its borders. As a result, JWHO is still going strong.
5. Admitting Privileges? Nice Try, Alabama
In a situation similar to that of JWHO, a federal court struck down an Alabama law that singled out abortion doctors and required them to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals in order to stay in business. Pro-choice supporters argued that requiring these providers to have admitting privileges doesn’t make patients safer, it just makes obtaining an abortion more difficult and potentially more dangerous. The court agreed, calling the arguments in favor of the law “exceedingly weak.” And we’re exceedingly happy for it.
6. Pregnant Woman Lays the Smack-Down on Anti-Abortion Activists, Takes no Prisoners
In happier (and more kick-ass) news, a pregnant passerby recently confronted several anti-abortion demonstrators from Abort67 outside a clinic in London. A journalist had been filming his conversation with the demonstrators, one of whom had a camera on his chest with the red light blinking, yet denied filming women going in and out of the clinic. The pregnant woman, who works for a nearby charity called Kids Company UK, stepped in and took the demonstrators to task on their hypocrisy and lack of empathy for those seeking abortions. “It’s wrong what you’re doing,” she said passionately. “You don’t know why people are doing what they’re doing but you want to be out here judging and filming.” By the end, everyone is speechless and some of those who have watched the video are already declaring the woman a “hero.”
Do you know of any pro-choice heroes or victories we didn’t mention? Share below in the comments!
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