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Abortion Laws - Metropolitan Family Planning Institute

Next big fight over abortion rights

Nov 28, 2017

This month, a federal district court ruled unconstitutional a Texas provision that bans the most common form of second trimester abortions D&E. The decision was an important win in what is emerging as the next big fight over abortion rights: criminalizing abortion procedures and providers in the name of promoting “fetal life.”

Anti-choice lawmakers continue to target abortion clinics for closure, reduce access to abortion services and other reproductive healthcare. They claim that doing so is necessary to “protect patients”. Promoting patient safety is only one part of the constitutional analysis.

States are trying to pass laws that restrict abortion access, even prior to viability, if those restrictions advance the state’s “profound” interest in promoting fetal life without enacting an “undue burden” on would-be patients. This is the part of the analysis anti-choice advocates are now testing with their D&E (dilation and evacuation) bans. D&E is a common method of second-trimester abortion when a patient is between 15 to 20 weeks pregnant and the fetus is not viable.

At least 7 states other than Texas have enacted D&E bans. And in those states where the laws have been challenged, federal and state courts have been unanimous in finding them unconstitutional. That means there’s no legitimate legal disagreement as to the constitutionality of D&E bans, which means there’s no dispute for the Court to settle.

If conservatives get their way, that will lead to a Court willing to undo abortion rights altogether.

We need to be able to rely on YOU to take action. Together we can stand strong to let our politicians know that women’s lives are not optional and not to be played with at any given time.