326 CHAPTER 11
Action League, 2009). One columnist has stated, “Mothering is so critical and so chal-
lenging that to force anyone into its service is immoral” (Quindlen, 2003, p. 26). Many
prestigious organizations, including many associated with religious institutions, have
made public statements opposing anti-abortion legislation: Catholics for Choice, the
National Academy of Sciences, the American Public Health Association, the American
Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Of
the American public, 64% want Roe v. Wade to remain in place (Marcus, 2009).
Antichoice advocates believe that once an ovum has been fertilized, it is a human
being whose right to life supersedes the woman’s right to choose whether to continue
Abortion Restrictions at the State Level
The Supreme Court cases Webster v. Reproductive Rights
in 1989 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 gave
states the right to pass laws to restrict women’s access
to abortions. By 2009 only seven states (Maine, Mary-
land, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and
Washington) remained free of such restrictions. Legisla-
tors and voters in all other states have established myriad
restrictions, and states enacted 80 abortion restrictions in
the rst half of 2011 (Guttmacher Institute, 2011d). Some
make abortion more expensive (Crary, 2012; Joyce, 2011).
For example, some states prohibit private insurance from
covering abortion procedures, and others restrict insur-
ance coverage of abortion for public employees. About
20 states that require counseling also mandate a waiting
period of up to 24 hours between receiving counseling
and undergoing abortion, adding to child-care and travel
costs and loss of income due to time taken from work (G.
Robertson, 2011). In 2012 the legislature in Utah estab-
lished a waiting period of 72 hours for women seeking an
abortion (Gryboski, 2012).
Thirty-ve states require a minor to notify and/or
obtain the consent of one or both parents before she can
have an abortion, or to obtain a judge’s permission to do
so without parental consent.
Parental consent laws can
delay teens’ access to abortion:
Research has found that
increased rates of second-term abortions occur after states
have established parental notication laws (Joyce et al.,
Although most adolescents do discuss their preg-
nancy options with their parents, laws that require parental
notication and consent assume that all parents have their
daughters’ best interests at heart. Sadly, this is not the case
for abusive and neglectful parents. It is ironic that parental
consent is not required for a pregnant young woman to
have the baby and take on the responsibilities of parent-
hood, but it is required if she decides not to become a
mother (Stotland, 1998). For these and other reasons, many
leading medical groups oppose mandatory parental con-
sent requirements—groups such as the American Medical
Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the
American Academy of Family Physicians.
Mandatory counseling sessions are an especially
controversial issue because of the faulty information
that some of the 34 states require abortion providers to
present to women prior to an abortion. This misinforma-
tion can include the claim that abortion endangers future
pregnancies and poses signicant risks of death, breast
cancer, long-lasting psychological problems, or suicide. In
South Dakota, an abortion provider is required to tell any
woman seeking an abortion that abortion ends a human
life (Ewing, 2011). The goal of these requirements is to dis-
suade women from having abortions rather than provide
accurate medical information to help the woman make a
well-informed decision. Further, this type of “counseling”
forces health-care professionals to either disregard the eth-
ics of informed consent and medical practice or break the
state law (H. Hall, 2009; Lazzarini, 2008).
Although an ultrasound is not routinely medically
necessary for a rst-trimester abortion, laws and legislative
bills in more than 27 states require health-care providers
to offer women seeking abortions the opportunity to have
an ultrasound of the fetus and listen to its heartbeat: Seven
states require the provider to conduct an ultrasound and
offer the woman the opportunity to see the image (Gutt-
macher Institute, 2012b).
It would seem logical to assume that states that
restrict abortion would provide increased resources for
the children who are born into difcult circumstances
because abortion was not an option. However, states with
the most legal restrictions on abortion also provide the
fewest resources to facilitate adoption, the least assistance
to children in low-income families, and the lowest funds
to educate children (C. Cooper, 2008). Former president
Jimmy Carter, a devout Baptist, states, “Many fervent
pro-life activists do not extend their concern to the baby
who is born, and are the least likely to support benevolent
programs that they consider ‘socialistic’” (2005, p. 94).
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