Missouri Gets Top Grades in Denying Women Healthcare

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Are we headed back to this?
Are we headed back to this?
Thanks to Roe v. Wade, the law of the land in this country is that abortion is legal. However, plenty of states are enacting laws that chip away at a woman's right to have the procedure. And in a piece yesterday on AlterNet.org, Amanda Marcotte ranked the ten worst states in the nation for blocking access.

We're No. 7!

Yay? (No. Not yay.)

In the piece, Marcotte notes that the Show-Me state has been graded F by NARAL, the national pro-choice advocacy outfit, for all twenty years that they've been issuing such grades. There are abortion providers in only four percent of the counties here, which means many women have to travel great distances to get abortions.

And, as we reported yesterday, the legislature is working on placing more barriers between women and medical care. A bill was amended on the floor yesterday that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception if they have moral objections to doing so.

Riding on that law is a measure that would make non-surgical abortions much more difficult to complete: Instead of one visit to a doctor for the first dose of abortion pill RU-486, it would require women to have an exam 24 hours before taking the first dose and to take both doses directly from a physician -- who, by the way, must also have surgical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the site giving the pills and has to carry punitive levels of malpractice insurance.

It also requires the doctor to give a woman a verbal and written warning that RU-486, while commonly used for abortion, isn't FDA approved for abortion. (Off-label prescription is a fairly common practice when a medicine is used for something other than what it's officially approved for.) The warning states that the drug isn't approved for abortion, but it also urges women to "Please strongly consider other alternatives to abortion before you take any of these drugs."

Top "honors" went to South Dakota, which only has a single Planned Parenthood clinic that provides abortions. A new law requires doctors to perform the surgery at the clinic, which means, for most of them, an airplane flight. And with a new requirement mandating a meeting between patient and doctor three days before the procedure, that's a lot of frequent flier miles.

Other states in the rogue's gallery are Arizona, which bans abortions that are "based on race or gender," which is problematic because it's difficult to prove and gives men ammunition to sue doctors. Indiana also  makes the list, since Representative Eric Turner testified that women would capriciously lie about having been the victims of rape or incest in order to get later-term abortions. Kansas, where they murder abortion docs, makes the list too.

The article is a gasper. Take a look, if you feel like getting pissed off.

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