In Congress, on January 22, 2015, there will be a vote to ban abortion procedures for those at 20 weeks or more gestation. And just barely into the New Year, Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBiden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Bottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic MORE (R-La.) has quickly introduced four more anti-abortion bills since the start of the 114th Congress.

A newly anti-choice controlled Senate combined with the existing anti-choice controlled House, the motives are clear: strip away access and the rights of women to make decisions about their reproductive health care. It’s a heck of way to start off the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade that guaranteed a women’s legal right to choose an abortion.


The additional four bills that Vitter has introduced are regulars on the anti-choice Top 40: a bill to defund Planned Parenthood (again), a bill that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a bill that would ban abortions performed on the basis of gender, and a bill that would allow hospitals, doctors, and nurses to refuse to provide or participate in abortion care for women, even in emergencies.

Make no mistake, all of these bills are designed to restrict a women’s access to reproductive health care. Defunding Planned Parenthood systematically strips health care centers of the crucial Title X funding they need to provide quality and low cost reproductive health care especially to low- to moderate-income women.  Requiring admitting privileges at a local hospital, might look benign, but isn’t. Proponents of the bill argue it protects patients from being abandoned by their doctors in an emergency room.  However, a) anyone can be admitted to an emergency room, and b) a majority of abortion patients do not need hospitalization. The matter is further complicated because hospitals refuse to grant those privileges for political or administrative reasons (e.g. the hospital is religious supported or is reluctant to be thrust into the abortion debate).  The result: many abortion clinics have been forced to close like in Texas in the last year.

Proponents of the anti-sex selection abortion bill claim it will help end gender bias in the fetus. Despite their being no data that supports the notion sex-selective abortion occurs at all, bill proponents target the Asian-American community with this argument. In reality, recent reports have shown sex-selective abortion bans and their companion race-selection abortion bans have been used to further stereotype specific communities and are ultimately aim to make abortion care increasingly inaccessible. And finally, proponents of the bill that would allow hospitals, doctors, and nurses to refuse provision or participation in abortion care for women, argue that they are protecting the first amendment rights of these providers.  If that is the case, who is protecting the rights of its patients to make decisions of their reproductive care, especially when their health and life is at stake?

Across the country, at least 22 anti-choice bills have been pre-filed in at least six states for their legislative session in 2015. And according to a Guttmacher report, more abortion restrictions were enacted between 2011-2013, than in the last decade and 2015 is expected to bring more challenges to reproductive rights.

This onslaught of legislative restrictions puts the promise of Roe, a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, under attack. Often proposed under the guise of protecting women’s health, these bans and regulations do nothing to make abortion safer or help a woman with her decision—they will make it harder and more expensive to access.

Dogged in their attempts, anti-choice politicians aim to pass as many restrictions and bans as they can, reintroducing bills year after year if they don’t succeed the first time.. With increasing numbers of ant-choice bills passing in state legislatures around the country, the anti-choice movement for several decades has been methodically placing us on a collision course to revisit the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.

In the 2014 elections, many anti-choice conservatives ran campaigns in which they did not emphasize reproductive rights issues, neither hiding nor highlighting their positions on abortion. Instead they claimed to be focused on other important social issues.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE (R-Ky.) said that in his tenure as Majority Leader he plans to focus on the things that Americans care about: jobs and the economy.  However, last summer he also assured the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) at their annual national conference late last year, that he would prioritize passing a 20-week abortion ban a priority as leader of the Senate.  

These politicians have made their intentions clear: they want to ban all abortions. Since they can't, instead they pass bills to push abortion out of reach for as many women as possible. Luckily, we have a president who will veto these bills. With the 2016 elections just around the corner, and so much at stake for women’s health and reproductive rights, we must remember and protect the promise of Roe: every woman has the legal right to a safe abortion. 

Omara  is president of the Young Democrats of America, the nation's largest youth partisan organization. She is also vice chair of the Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington Action Fund Board and a member of the D.C. Abortion Fund Board of Directors.