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A woman holds a wire hanger at pro-choice protest. (Scrapbook/Creative Commons)

Extremist Anti-Choice Laws Pass in Two States While Oregon Voters Reject Attempt to Curb Abortion Rights for Low-Income Women

Two new "trigger bans" would eliminate access to abortion in Alabama and West Virginia should Roe vs. Wade be overturned

Julia Conley

While rejoicing over Oregon voters' decisive rejection of a measure that would have left low-income residents and state employees without abortion coverage, reproductive rights advocates prepared for battles in two red states where extremist anti-choice proposals were passed on Tuesday night.

In Alabama, the passage of Amendment 2 will give a fetus the same right to life held by a person under the state constitution, paving the way to criminalize abortion with a "trigger ban" like the ones that exist in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota, should the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade. Access to contraception and the morning-after pill could also be restricted as a result.

The amendment passed by 18 points, with Alabama voters supporting a proposal that made no mention of exceptions in which a woman's right to abortion care would trump the rights of a fetus, like in cases involving rape, incest, or risks to a pregnant woman's life.

"This amendment is so far-reaching that it would allow the state to prosecute women for using IUDs, emergency contraception, and IVF or even for missing prenatal care appointments or not being able to leave an abusive partner," said the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in a statement after the amendment passed. "Instead of protecting Alabama women and families, Amendment 2 jeopardizes their health and well-being."

West Virginia voters narrowly voted in favor of another trigger ban—Amendment 1, stating that a woman's right to abortion is not protected under the state constitution and barring state health insurance plans from covering the medical procedure.

Meanwhile, pro-choice groups celebrated Oregon's rejection of Measure 106, which also would have cut abortion coverage for public employees and women who use Medicaid by banning the use of state funds for abortion care.

"Fortunately, Oregonians saw through this thinly-veiled attempt to restrict women's access to abortion care and protected the rights of women and their families to make private medical decisions without government interference," said the NAF. "A right is not a right if you can not afford to access it."


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