Roe v. Everyone: States take on abortion

Mar 28, 2013 18:42 UTC

An anti-abortion sign is seen during the Ninth Annual Walk for Life West Coast rally in San Francisco, California, January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Nearly six months after an election that underscored the political divide over abortion, North Dakota’s governor enacted a law that bans abortions in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or as early as six weeks. It is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States.

The North Dakota law has  plenty of company. In 2011 and 2012, U.S. states passed more than 130 restrictions on abortion, according to abortion rights group the Guttmacher Institute. Among those provisions are fetal heartbeat laws like North Dakota’s, as well as “fetal pain” laws, which make abortion illegal after 20 weeks based on controversial research that suggests a fetus can experience pain at that time. Ten states have passed such laws in recent years. (Roe v. Wade allowed the right to abortion services until a medically accepted point of viability, to be determined by the doctor, and generally considered 22-24 weeks.)

Politicians in these states argue that their measures are intended to protect women’s health, make abortion procedures more safe and curtail abortions provided for spurious reasons like the fetus’ gender or race. Many also argue, as North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple did this week, that state legislatures have a “legislative right to find out if these laws can stand.”

Below are seven states that have added provisions, restrictions or caveats on how and when women can get abortions. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and many of these bills are being replicated in states not listed below. Most of these provisions are mired in appeals.

Girls just wanna have fundamental representation in government

Mar 7, 2013 22:49 UTC

Co-authored by Clare Richardson.

PHOTO: An Afghan parliament member (L) votes on a list of cabinet nominees at the parliament house in Kabul, January 16, 2010. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

It’s International Women’s Day, but hold the confetti. More than a century after the first Women’s Day celebration—a socialist proposal inaugurated in 1909—fewer than one in five parliamentarians worldwide are women.

Acknowledging the inequality, many countries have implemented voluntary or mandatory minimums for the percentage of women in government. Such quotas are supported by a wealth of leaders, including U.N. Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, who has said she “[encourages] countries to use quotas to expand women’s participation in parliament.”