Hey Dorothy, Kansas doesn’t want you anymore.

It should be no news to anyone reading this blog that women’s rights, including abortion rights, have been under serious fire for the last several years. There have been some 374 attempts to pass laws severely restricting access this year alone, roughly 70 of which have actually passed. Right now, Kansas is in the news for it’s recent attempt to impose such onerous code restrictions on the clinics themselves that this would effectively shut down every clinic in the state.
While we’ve all been paying attention to that little battle, one incredibly obvious statement of exactly how bad the situation has gotten across the country seems to be flying under the radar.

From an article by Mother Jones comes this quote:
“The temporary injunction has allowed all three of the state’s abortion clinics to remain open for now”

Did you get that? Let’s try it again:
“The temporary injunction has allowed all three of the state’s abortion clinics to remain open for now”

For the record, Kansas is a decently sized state, covering some 82,300 square miles. That’s roughly one clinic per 27,000 square miles. The fact that access has already been restricted to these three options is enough to make abortion an even more difficult choice for women who might not have access to transportation and time off work. Add the mandatory 24 hour waiting period and even women who know they might not be in the best position to have a child might find themselves stuck in just that position.

South Dakota is even worse. While a federal judge did ban an attempt to impose a 72 hour waiting period, this is a state which only provides these services in one clinic, with a doctor flown in once a week. Again, it doesn’t matter if the procedure is technically legal if there’s no real way for women to access it.

Add to this the creative ways prosecutors are finding to criminalize miscarriage and it becomes even more important for women who know they may not be able to have a healthy pregnancy to have access to these options. For the record, the above case is being tried in Mississippi – a state that only allows abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy (a point when it’s not entirely uncommon for a girl to just be figuring out she’s even pregnant) and has only one facility licensed to perform the procedure. Mississippi also has one of the worst records for law enforcement reaction to drug abuse, with treatment for addiction being especially hard to come by.

So again, I know these statistics probably aren’t anything new for anyone reading this, but sometimes just seeing it all in one place, and how the issues are so interconnected can be helpful. We are living in a time where most of us grew up only worried about the kooks bombing the clinics. Abortion wasn’t an easy choice, but it was legal and in most places, reasonably accessible. While this procedure is still technically legal, this new generation of girls is growing up in a time where that legality is for many in name only. We cannot continue to sit back, complacent that the courts would not allow our rights to be so trampled. It is becoming less about the actual law, and more about creative ways those who control the health codes and the insurance policies are finding around it.


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