Pro-Choice Advocates Fight Back in Wis, NC, & Texas

Hanger923-sig-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Pro-choice advocates are fighting the Republican Party's anti-woman laws in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas.

In Wisconsin, a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the anti-abortion legislation signed in secret by Governor Scott Walker on July 5. From the Huffington Post

U.S. District Judge William Conley granted the order following a hearing in a lawsuit filed Friday by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services. It alleged the requirement would unconstitutionally restrict the availability of abortions in the state, violates the U.S. Constitution's due process guarantee and unconstitutionally treats doctors who perform abortions differently from those who perform other procedures.

The restraining order will remain in place pending a fuller hearing July 17. In his ruling, Conley said "there is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement." He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states must prove that restrictions on abortion rights must be reasonably aimed at preserving the mother's health.

"Moreover, the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement," he said.

The bill was introduced in the Legislature on June 4, passed nine days later and signed into law Friday by Gov. Scott Walker. It took effect Monday. The law also requires women to obtain an ultrasound before getting an abortion, but that provision is not being challenged. [Emphasis added.]

In North Carolina, State Legislators tacked abortion restrictions onto an unrelated bill outlawing  "Sharia Law" in North Carolina. "Moral Monday" protesters have been demonstrating against NC's Republican agenda every Monday for the past 10 weeks. This Monday, more than 60 pro-choice protesters– including the head of North Carolina's Planned Parenthood– were arrested during the Moral Monday protest. From the Huffington Post

North Carolinians of all stripes have been fighting back with everything we've got. For months, hundreds of us have rallied and protested against more restrictions on women's health in our state. In a matter of hours last week, more than 500 women's health activists descended on the General Assembly to protest the Senate's actions last week. Hundreds more are protesting today to #standwithNCwomen. We are already home to one of the nation's most intrusive and demeaning mandatory ultrasound laws. We were also among the first to try to block preventive health care funds from Planned Parenthood's nonprofit health centers. Taxpayers here have been on the hook for the costly legal battles these unconstitutional attacks on women's health and well-being have triggered.

In Texas, 1000s of protesters descended on the capitol to protest the Texas Legislature's reconsideration of a highly restrictive anti-abortion law that was stopped by filibuster (and noisy protesters) recently. The Texas Legislature is expected to debate and vote on this legislation today (July 9, 2013). From Democracy Now

In Texas, thousands of people descended on the Capitol Monday as Republicans revived a bill that would shut down nearly all of the state’s abortion clinics and ban abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization. Hundreds of people on both sides gave testimony during a state Senate committee hearing that lasted into the early hours of Tuesday morning. Among them was Austin resident Katie Heim, who delivered a poem.

Katie Heim: "If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights. You would ride on a bus and fight all the fights. If my vagina was a gun, you would treat it with care. You wouldn’t spill all its secrets, because, well, why go there? If my vagina was a gun, you’d say what it holds is private. From cold dead hands we could pry; you surely would riot. If my vagina was a gun, its rights would all be protected. No matter the body count or the children affected. If my vagina was a gun, I could bypass security. Concealed carry laws would ensure I had purity."

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