Women’s reproductive rights are always a hot topic during elections. All politicians present their stance on abortion rights and women’s healthcare surrounding other reproductive issues. Currently, 39 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician and 20 states require an abortion to be performed in a hospital after a specified point of a pregnancy. Additionally, 18 states currently require the involvement of a second physician after a specified point of a pregnancy, if an abortion is pursued. The discussions and definitions on the “viability” of a fetus are often muddied by different interpretations. As the standard definition of viability means the ability of the fetus to survive outside of the uterus, this can vary among pregnancies. As most pregnancies are viable after the 27th week, and no pregnancies are viable before the 21st week, a firm definition is always in the “grey area.”
Though each state sets its own mandates regarding abortion laws, federal laws are also in place to regulate how and when women may seek the procedure and any assistance that may be provided by government funding. As reported by Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the first-ever federal law banning abortion procedures on April 18, 2007, and gave politicians the green light to interfere in the private health care decisions of women and families. This particular federal abortion ban criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy. 41 states have adopted this mandate and prohibit abortions after a specified time of the pregnancy, except when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
As reported by the Guttmacher Institute, the following facts surrounding state abortion laws should be recognized:
• “Partial-Birth” Abortion: 19 states have laws in effect that prohibit “partial-birth” abortion. 3 of these laws apply only to post viability abortions.
• Public Funding: 17 states use their own funds to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions for Medicaid enrollees in the state. 32 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of state funds except in those cases when federal funds are available: where the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In defiance of federal requirements, South Dakota limits funding to cases of life endangerment only.
• Coverage by Private Insurance: 9 states restrict coverage of abortion in private insurance plans, most often limiting coverage only to when the woman’s life would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term. Most states allow the purchase of additional abortion coverage at an additional cost.
• Refusal: 46 states allow individual health care providers to refuse to participate in an abortion. 43 states allow institutions to refuse to perform abortions, 16 of which limit refusal to private or religious institutions.
• State-Mandated Counseling: 17 states mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (5 states), the ability of a fetus to feel pain (12 states) or long-term mental health consequences for the woman (8 states).
• Waiting Periods: 26 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when she receives counseling and the procedure is performed. 9 of these states have laws that effectively require the woman make two separate trips to the clinic to obtain the procedure.
• Parental Involvement: 38 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. 21 states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, while 12 require that one or both parents be notified and 5 states require both parental consent and notification
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
If you are pro-choice, many institutions, including Planned Parenthood, have identified several forms of attacks that are perceived to have transcended upon abortion rights. This includes unconstitutional abortion bans as some states seek to ban abortions after the 6th and 12th week of pregnancy. Additionally, physical attacks have been made upon patients of abortion clinics as well as biased counseling of patients, targeted restrictions of abortion providers (TRAP) via bills and regulations, non-surgical abortion bans, and “personhood” measures which seek to interfere with personal, private, medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatments, management of miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortions.
If you are of childbearing age, or are the parent or guardian of someone who is, it is imperative that you are abreast of the state laws that may affect you.
To view the current state by state laws that may affect you, please visit the Guttmacher website for a full and detailed overview of state abortion laws.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC
Check Out This Gallery Of Things To Lift Your Spirits Today!
1. 1. Play With A Puppy
It's no secret that people with pets live longer. Petting a puppy increases blood levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and oxytocin, which are both mood elevators.
2. 2. Get Less Sleep
Usually, we're told to get more sleep, but science proves that if we get less, depression lifts! Although researchers aren’t sure why it works, they speculate that one night of sleep deprivation may reset the sleep clock, enabling people who are depressed to sleep better.
3. 3. Play Peekaboo With A Kitten
As an admitted cat hater, even I can't deny the power of an adorable kitty!
4. 4. Become A Drummer
Drumming relieves stress and even allows for your aggression to be expressed in a healthy way. While it may be helpful to bang out a few notes at your desk, joining a drumming circle could be as therapeutic as, well...therapy!
5. 5. Walk It Out
Taking a walk is often used to relieve stress, but little do you know, fresh air does wonders for the brain. It energizes and uplifts!
6. 6. Smile
Turn that frown, upside down! We all know it takes more muscles in your face to frown than it does to smile. Research proves that the physiology of smiling actually makes you happy. Go ahead. Try to smile and see if notice a change in your mood.
7. 7. Feed Your Face
A dip in your blood sugar can effect your mood in a negative way. What causes your blood sugar to dip? Not eating! So make sure you get in your three square meals plus snacks, everyday! Make sure you're looking for foods rich in Omega-3 fats., as these foods have been shown to lift moods and can possibly alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon or sardines, canola and olive oils, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts.
8. 8. Listen To Music
Music has a way of creating a cocoon of positivity around you. Tune out and tune into some of your favorite songs. Get lost in the melody, lyrics and soothing tunes and you'll feel better in no time.
9. 9. Volunteer
Taking yourself out of the picture and focusing on helping someone else keeps your own stress down to a minimum. Nine times out of 10, you realize that people have it worse than you, and that allows you to put your own troubles into perspective. It could always be worse.
10. 10. Get You Some
Recently a 100-year-old woman expressed that for her very special birthday, she wanted to get her some, you-know-what. But here's the thing, sex does wonders for your mood and evidently it's the fountain of youth too!
11. 11. Laugh A Little
Nothing says good mood like a healthy and hearty laugh! Making sure giggles are inserted into your day is a bonafide way of just letting it go.
12. 12. Get A Massage
By adding therapeutic massage to your routine now, you'll feel, look and simply be healthier. In fact, stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind.
13. 13. Take A Deep Breath
When you're feeling frantic, you should stop, close your eyes and refocus your breathing pattern. Shift your breathing and take longer breaths. This will soothe your nerves, send oxygen to your brain and refresh your mind.
14. 14. Press Your Palms
In case you can't afford massages, give yourself one! Start with your hands, focusing on pressing the thumb from your opposite hand on the fleshiest part of your palm and firmly kneading in tiny circles and repeat.
15. 15. Let Them Eat Chocolate
Chocolate causes euphoria. No, really. The sweet treat contains alkaloids and magnesium, copper and other minerals that regulate and stabilize brain chemistry.
16. 16. Beautify Your Surroundings
Nothing says happy like looking around and catching all the beauty that's around you. Taking pride in your personal space and keeping it beautiful, makes your mood beautiful. And if that fails, surround yourself with Idris Elba.
17. 17. Stretch
Stretching a few times throughout the day stand up stretch out your arms, your back, your legs, and your neck. Be gentle and don’t over do it. Stretching should feel great and renew your energy.