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Blogs comment on Ohio's unconstitutional six-week abortion ban; Labor Secretary nominee's efforts to overturn Roe and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at Bustle, Mother Jones and more.


"The history of 'heartbeat' bills in America doesn't begin with Ohio & it's all the more reason to make your voice heard," Sarah Friedmann, Bustle: While a recently advanced Ohio bill (SB 127) that would ban abortion care when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks, "is receiving a lot of attention, it is unfortunately just one in a series of controversial fetal heartbeat bills that have been proposed or passed across the country over the past few years," Friedmann writes. According to Friedmann, "In addition to Ohio, 8 other states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming -- have all had fetal heartbeat bills introduced or passed in their state legislatures over the past few years." She adds that after two states, Arkansas and North Dakota, signed the six-week bans into law, courts struck them down as unconstitutional. Noting that such bans are often proposed as part of an antiabortion-rights strategy to overturn Roe, Friedmann writes, "All of the previously-mentioned fetal heartbeat bills were proposed or passed during the Obama administration; with the election of [Donald] Trump and the promise of more conservative Supreme Court justices, one can likely expect the passage of several more bills seeking to prompt a debate of Roe v. Wade at the [Supreme] Court." She concludes, "Thus, in order to ensure that women's rights continue to be protected, it is more imperative than ever that pro-choice advocates vigilantly monitor state legislatures for fetal heartbeat bill legislation, and actively work to counter their passage" (Friedmann, Bustle, 12/9).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Destroying Roe. v. Wade: Ohio's 'unconscionable' heartbeat bill is 'designed to punish women,'" Amanda Marcotte, Salon.

~ "Ohio lawmakers approve most extreme abortion ban in the nation," Casey Quinlan, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."


"Trump's Labor Secretary pick tried to overturn Roe v. Wade. He almost succeeded," Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones: "President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Andrew Puzder, chief executive of the company that runs fast-food giants Carl's Jr. and Hardees, to head the Department of Labor," Levintova writes. The nomination has sparked concern among reproductive-rights advocates, Levintova adds, noting that "Puzder has long opposed abortion rights and even wrote the Missouri abortion law that the Supreme Court upheld in its 1989 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services decision." According to Levintova, that decision "allowed states to impose far more restrictions on abortion care than had previously been permitted under Roe v. Wade, including limits on the use of public funds and facilities for abortion care." She explains that the law at issue in the case defined "life as beginning at conception in non-abortion contexts," a provision that Puzder hoped would "creat[e] a foundation for challenging legal abortion down the line." A local abortion clinic, Reproductive Health Services, challenged the law, Levintova writes, which eventually resulted in a Supreme Court decision holding that "none of the bill's provisions were unconstitutional," although "the high court clarified their ruling should not be taken as a referendum on the original decision in Roe v. Wade." Levintova concludes, "Now, Puzder will likely join an administration that plans to complete a mission he began 30 years ago" (Levintova, Mother Jones, 12/8).

What others are saying about reproductive rights:

~ "Trump's pick for Health Secretary has spent years trying to limit access to contraception," Levintova, Mother Jones.


"The false information Texas makes all women considering abortion hear," Morgan Brinlee, Bustle: Brinlee highlights "factually inaccurate information" in a booklet that Texas requires women to receive prior to abortion care. According to a review of the packet by the Informed Consent Project, "30 percent of the statements made in the pamphlet [are] medically inaccurate," Brinlee writes. In addition to using non-medical terms to discuss fetal development, Brinlee explains that the booklet "uses misleading language to link abortion to breast cancer," a claim refuted by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; "attempts to link abortion to suicide, depression, sexual dysfunction, infertility, and even substance abuse," a claim debunked by the American Psychological Association; and falsely implies that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. Brinlee concludes, "'It's hard not to see" the booklet "as purposefully attempting to mislead women" (Brinlee, Bustle, 12/8).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "[Liberal lawmakers] launched a new effort to shut down the congressional panel investigating Planned Parenthood," Becca Andrews, Mother Jones.