Summer is here, and the latest competition for Worst State of Week was hot and fierce. Second runner-up is Georgia, where a young woman was arrested and charged with murder after taking the ulcer medication Cytotec to terminate a pregnancy in her second trimester. The murder charges were eventually dropped, mostly because Georgia law exempts women from laws banning “feticide” that were clearly written in hopes of chipping away at abortion rights. The woman will, however, be prosecuted for possessing illegal drugs, although Cytotec is not a pound of heroin but rather a commonly prescribed medication.
Anti-choice activists routinely deny that efforts to ban abortion will result in prosecuting women for pregnancy outcomes. But as the Georgia case demonstrates, creeping criminalization of abortion absolutely will mean that women will be targeted for attempting it, and that women of color and low- income women will be most vulnerable.
First runner-up is North Carolina, or specifically Gov. Pat McCrory, not just for restricting abortion but for assuming women are stupid. McCrory, a Republican, won his swing state in 2012 by promising not to sign any restrictions on abortion. But when the state legislature gave him a bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period, he signed it without hesitation. To excuse this blatant bit of promise-breaking, McCrory said, “The fact of the matter is, due to my work and others’ work, we did not add further restrictions to access” to abortion. His reasoning is that since a phone call kicks off the waiting period, it doesn’t count as restricting access. Yeah, we don’t get it either.
Being told that you have to sit in a time-out like a naughty girl is the definition of impeding access. Claiming that it’s a “reasonable” restriction doesn’t change the fact that it’s a restriction.
But the winner is, once again, Texas for getting farther than any other state in overturning Roe v Wade and making abortion access a privilege of geography and wealth rather than a right. The state’s law created to reduce the number of legal clinics to a mere eight to service the more than 73,000 women needing abortions a year was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court and expected to go to the Supreme Court soon. “For the last several years, opponents of abortion rights have cloaked their obstructionist efforts under all manner of legitimate-sounding rationales, like protecting women’s health,” a New York Times editorial explains. “This has never been more than an insulting ruse.” All three winners this week show that the war on women is about taking your rights, then lying to your face about what’s really going on.