The years leading up to 2015 were admittedly bad. In 2012 and 2013, a few states barred family planning money for clinics not affiliated with the state (ahem, Planned Parenthood), and Rick Perry even went so far as to dissolve much of Texas’s Medicaid program in response to a judge’s ruling that he could not ban Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid. Previous years were bad, but in 2015 women suffered unprecedented loses in the fight for reproductive rights.
Republicans pounced at the release of a secretive anti-abortion group’s video allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials illegally selling fetal tissue obtained from abortions. Despite the proven inaccuracy of the videos, Republicans rejoiced at the opportunity to further their pro-life crusade. They took the videos as gospel, and seized the opportunity to frame Planned Parenthood as having engaged in “illegal” activity. No amount of evidence or investigations invalidating the videos could stop them.
Abortion foes’ response to the anti-abortion’s group’s videos was swift. Legislators at the state level scrambled to introduce bills restricting fetal tissue use for medical research and took action to deprive Planned Parenthood of hundreds of thousands dollars in state and federal family planning funds.
According to a report from the Center for Reproductive Rights, lawmakers across the county introduced 400 abortion restrictions this year. Unlike previous years, the laws pushed by pro-lifers in 2015 sought to impose barriers to women seeking abortions. Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma passed laws that force women wanting an abortion to either take multiple in-person trips to the abortion clinic, or endure a 24-72 hour waiting period between a woman’s first call to an abortion clinic and her appointment.
2015 was a very bad year for women. The war on women raged, and republicans proved their commitment to completely obliterating women’s right to abortions.