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US Media Don’t Need to Look Abroad to Find an Abortion Crisis

Tens of thousands demonstrated last week against the Polish government's plans to tighten the country's abortion law. (Photo: Reuters)

US media saw a story in the work boycott and street protests by some 6 million women in Poland that led to a reversal of government plans to put through a complete ban on abortion, including in cases of rape or danger to a woman’s life.

Stories in major outlets pointed out that Poland’s laws are already among the most restrictive in Europe; they noted the concerns of human rights advocates that the ban would criminalize women and doctors, and make women who have miscarriages subjects of suspicion and investigation. It was good to see, but it did make one wonder: If those conditions are unacceptable, they’re unacceptable whether they’re de jure or de facto, right?

Glamour: 29 States Require Women to Receive Counseling Before an Abortion

But there are numerous places in the US where women face real, substantive barriers to abortion; a set of maps from Glamour magazine’s “Abortion in America” series illustrates the numerous states with parental notice and consent laws, waiting periods, travel requirements, the states that ban certain procedures or that prevent private insurers from covering abortion, or that force counseling on women—all measures intended to deny women the ability to access their legal rights. American women, in other words, don’t need to look abroad to find a crisis.

It’s not clear the US press corps has heard that message; one indicator: so far there have been zero questions asked about abortion in either the presidential or vice presidential debates.

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Janine Jackson

Janine Jackson

Janine Jackson is FAIR's program director and and producer/co-host of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. She contributes frequently to FAIR's magazine, Extra! and co-edited The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s (Westview Press).

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