Planned Parenthood rallies as anti-abortion measures move through Legislature

The pro-choice rally (Pic by Ashley Lopez)

With the final days of 2012′s legislative session drawing near, Planned Parenthood held a rally at the capitol yesterday to denounce a slew of anti-reproductive rights bills that have already made their way through committees in the Legislature this session.

Present at the rally were Democratic state Reps. Mia Jones, Lori Berman, Gwendolyn Clarke-Reed and Scott Randolph, and Sens. Nan Rich and Audrey Gibson.

Lawmakers criticized the GOP-led Legislature’s efforts to curb access to legal abortions in the state. This week, both chambers of the Legislature will hear a bill that would remove access to third-trimester abortions for women facing serious health risks, place onerous restrictions on providers and create a waiting period before legal abortions.

The Legislature has introduced around 10 bills this session that would undermine reproductive rights — and at least three have been heard in committees.

Rich told attendees that “there are at least seven anti-choice bills” that legislators have introduced. “We are back here again,” she said, mentioning the attacks on women’s health made by lawmaker during last year’s session, when four bills that curb access to abortion were signed into law.

Jones and Rich also commented on the recent controversy surrounding a national health policy that would require health insurers to cover birth control as a preventive service. Jones said that religious leaders claiming that contraception is not health care and should not be part of a mandate for insurers are wrong. ”Birth control is health care for women,” Jones said.

Rich also criticized federal lawmakers for holding a congressional hearing on birth control and failing to invite women to testify.