Opponents of abortion take political risks, with the exception of rape and incest

If it seems that the anti-abortion movement has taken a more extreme shape in recent months, as it has.

But this is not the first time – in the 49 years since the Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right, positions on both sides of the abortion controversy have shrunk and flowed again and again.

Opponents of abortion and those who support abortion rights hope that the Supreme Court will soon repeal its 1973 Rowe vs. Wade Decision, and both groups reacted strongly. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

But in many conservative states, anti-abortion efforts to eliminate the most exceptions – rape or incest or to save the mother’s life – have made headlines recently.

The effort does not seem to have widespread appeal. According to opinion polls, the majority of Americans who oppose abortion towards the end of pregnancy are in favor of approving these exceptions.

Nonetheless, there are countless examples of such attempts – moving beyond the prohibition on abortion after 15 weeks, which is a key issue in Mississippi law that is being considered by the Supreme Court. A leaked draft opinion published last month suggested that the court could overturn the case Rowe. Over the past few months, for example, Oklahoma has passed three laws prohibiting abortion. The latest one, signed by the governor on May 25, prohibits abortion at the beginning of fertilization, which, at least theoretically, would prohibit both in vitro fertilization and many forms of hormonal birth control. (The Oklahoma Bill sponsor says this is not the purpose of the law.)

During the Oklahoma Senate debate on the toughest of bans, Republican Sen. Warren Hamilton said he doesn’t think the measure is too high because it allows abortion in an ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening medical emergency where a fetus is growing out of the uterus.

This has alarmed some medical professionals. “Pregnancy that can implant in the fallopian tubes and other places cannot support pregnancy,” Dr. Iman Alsaden, an OB-GYN and medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told reporters at a May 19 news conference. This pregnancy will happen, then there will be no sustainable baby. Whatever happens will happen [the fallopian tube] It will explode and people will die.

At the same time, a growing number of state legislatures are considering sanctions that do not include exceptions to the health of the pregnant woman (as opposed to life) or to conceive as a result of rape or incest. Witnessing his bill in Ohio, GOP State Representative Jean Schmidt told lawmakers in April that a child as a result of rape would be “an opportunity for that woman, no matter how young or old, to decide what she is going to do.” Help me to be a productive person. “

The exceptions to rape and incest in the early 1990s were a recognized part of most abortion bans, but not always. For a dozen years, they were not part of the so-called Hyde Amendment, a provision inserted in annual federal spending bills that barred the use of almost all federal funds for abortion.

The more liberal (at least in the case of abortion) Senate tried to keep the exceptions of rape and incest (and health) intact, only to be pushed back by the more conservative House, which led the anti-abortion effort to rape. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). “The Supreme Court has said: ‘You cannot sentence a rapist to death. It’s a cruel and unusual punishment, “Hyde said during a 1988 debate. “But you say eliminate it. Get rid of this innocuous remnant of rape. “

In 1993, Hyde himself reverted to the exceptions of rape and incest within his nominal financing ban, and they have been there ever since. With Democratic President Bill Clinton in the White House and a large Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, “I don’t think there is a vote for a direct ban on abortion funding,” he said at the time. Indeed, at the time, there were fears that the embargo would be lifted altogether, and only Hyde’s parliamentary strategy would have allowed the embargo to prevail.

Prohibiting abortion with or without exception is politically risky. In the 2012 Missouri race for the U.S. Senate, the rival, Republican then-representative. Todd Akin favored defeating current Sen. Claire McCaskill until he said in a now-infamous interview that he did not support the exception because women rarely get pregnant as a result of rape. “The female body has a way of trying to stop that whole thing,” she said. Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan dismissed the remarks that year. Akin finally lost.

Now, however, anti-abortion forces seem to have been granted free rein by the Supreme Court to ban abortion at any level they wish. Activists clearly want the most comprehensive sanctions that lawmakers will pass. Whether voters go with it will be decided at the ballot box in November.

Healthbent, a regular feature of Kaiser Health News, offers policy and political insights and analysis from KHN’s chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner, who has covered healthcare for over 30 years.

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