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How Women Are Fighting Attempts to Restrict Abortion in Ohio and Texas

Dec. 13, 2016

From lawsuits to protests

Women are taking a stand against new attempts by states to restrict abortion in the wake of Donald Trump‘s election.

In Texas, abortion providers filed a lawsuit on Monday against the state’s new rule that requires aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The lawsuit argues that the new rule, slated to go into effect next week, does nothing to improve health and safety in the state and puts pressure on abortion providers to “work with an extremely limited number of third-party vendors for burial or scattering ashes, threatening abortion clinics’ provision of care and their long-term ability to remain open.”

The lead plaintiff in the new lawsuit is Whole Woman’s Health, the clinic at the center of the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down abortion restrictions in Texas and upheld abortion rights.

“These regulations are an insult to Texas women, the rule of law and the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared less than six months ago that medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access are unconstitutional,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the American-Statesman.

Read More: ‘I Had to Drive 600 Miles for My $800 Abortion’

In Indiana, a similar piece of legislation — signed into law by Vice President-Elect and Indiana Governor Mike Pence — that required burial of fetal remains was blocked by a district-court judge before it went into effect.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he plans to defend the fetal burial rule in court. “All human beings deserve to be treated with respect after death. To that end, Texas will continue to defend the safety and dignity of the unborn up to and as far as Supreme Court precedent will allow,” a spokesperson for Paxton told the American-Statesman.

In Ohio, women are hoping to implore Governor John Kasich, who’s taken a firm anti-abortion stances during his tenure, to not sign a bill passed by the Ohio legislature that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Their method of protest? Displaying coat hangers — a symbol of self-induced abortion — outside the Ohio Statehouse, according to the Cut. One woman posted on Facebook that she sent 100 hangers to Kasich’s office, according to the Cut.

Kasich, who has opposed a similar bill in the past because he feared it might be unconstitutional, has until Dec. 17 until sign or veto the bill. Ohio Right to Life has also opposed the bill, citing its constitutionality. Similar laws have been struck down in North Dakota and Arkansas. Some anti-abortion activists believe that Trump’s elevation to the presidency will mean that these laws won’t face an uphill battle in court because Trump has promised to appoint anti-abortion judges. But Ohio Right to Life warns that might not be the case, and encourages lawmakers to focus their efforts on another bill passed in the legislature that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, which they believe has a better chance of becoming law.

“Everyone is swept up in Trumpmania,” Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis told USA Today, “but let’s be realistic.”