Stealth Attack: What You Need to Know About the New Abortion Laws

The ACLU has enlisted the help of comic artist Jen Sorensen to help illustrate (literally) the coordinated, national efforts that anti-abortion groups are waging across the country to outlaw women's health clinics and block access to abortion care. Jen uses sharp wit and humor to reveal the tactics our opponents are using to undermine our private and personal decisions.

Ultimately these attacks are no laughing matter. During the 2013 state legislative session over 300 anti-abortion restrictions were introduced. From motorcycle vaginas to claims that "women don't get pregnant that often from rape," we have seen some politicians and their political allies go to ridiculous lengths to push through anti-choice measures. These politicians MUST think we are stupid if they think we want politicians playing doctor.

Read and share the comic. Then stand with us to fight back!

The ACLU has enlisted the help of comic artist Jen Sorensen to help illustrate (literally) the coordinated, national efforts that anti-abortion groups are waging across the country to outlaw women's health clinics and block access to abortion care. Jen uses sharp wit and humor to reveal the tactics our opponents are using to undermine our private and personal decisions.

Ultimately these attacks are no laughing matter. During the 2013 state legislative session over 300 anti-abortion restrictions were introduced. From motorcycle vaginas to claims that "women don't get pregnant that often from rape," we have seen some politicians and their political allies go to ridiculous lengths to push through anti-choice measures. These politicians MUST think we are stupid if they think we want politicians playing doctor.

Read and share the comic. Then stand with us to fight back!

Stealth Attack: What You Need to Know About the New Abortion Laws
By Jen Sorensen

Transcript

Narrator: If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed a recurring theme.

Woman watching TV: Newscaster says: In North Dakota today, new restrictions on abortion…

Woman reading the news: In Ohio today, new abortion laws…

Woman listening to the radio in her car. Newscaster says: North Carolina has just passed sweeping new regulations on…

Woman: Wait don’t tell me!

Narrator: Altogether, over 300 anti-choice bills have been introduced this year. Many of them passing easily. This is not a coincidence.

Nor is retro prudery a hot new trend.

Woman in frumpy clothes looking in window at chastity belt: Stylin!

Narrator: Polls consistently show that Americans don’t want access to abortion blocked

{Image of hanger in connect-the-dots style drawing}

Narrator: Connect the dots! A highly coordinated attack on women’s reproductive freedom is underway, and they’ve made a lot of regress.

How is this happening?

Anti-choice groups have been very active, writing model legislation and teaming up with extremist politicians who pass clone bills. They are literally writing the law.

A Representative of Americans United for Life: “We provide state lawmakers and state attorneys general with proven legal strategies and tools that will step-by-step, and state-by-state, lead to a more pro-life America.”

Narrator: The National Right to Life Committee has taken credit for 20-week ban legislation used in ten states.

{Image of United States with 10 states where 20-week bans were introduced highlighted}

Coming soon to a state near you!

Narrator: One favorite “incremental” tactic of these groups: Utterly Bogus Clinic Regulations

Hallway Width

{Image of clinic inspector with measuring tape}

Inspector: This simply won’t do!

Size of parking lot!

{Image of inspector in clinic parking lot}

Inspector: Tsk! Tsk! Not big enough!

New staffing rules

{Image of inspector and nurse talking}

Nurse (shrugging): Our staff is highly trained, but your requirements are impossible to meet!

Inspector: Impossible, eh? Guess you’ll have to close!

Narrator: Recall that normally these are THE anti-regulation people.

{Image of angry little man with a gun in one hand and a Don’s Tread on Me flag in the other}

Angry anti-regulation man: Keep your government hands off my everything!

Narrator: They oppose laws to help the uninsured, protect the food supply, keep our air and water clean, and yet suddenly they’re worried about the size of a clinic parking lot. Funny, that.

{image of sketchy looking male politician}

Politician: But, but, it’s to protect women’s health.

Narrator: Except that it’s not.

Governor Phil Bryant, of Mississippi, where all but one clinic has been forced to close: my goal of course is to shut it (the last clinic) down.

Narrator: No two ways about it: They must think we’re stupid.

Roe may technically still be the law of the land, but without access there is no choice. Imagine you are a low wage worker in El Paso needing an abortion, and the city clinics are shuttered. Can you clear the hurtles?

{image of flow chart}

Can you get time off work (unpaid of course)?

Yes

Afford child care if you have kids?

Yes

Find transportation to San Antonio (550 miles) or Albuquerque (269 miles)?

Yes

Pay for lodging?

Yes

Endure speech designed to make you ashamed of your decision?

Yes

Pay for the abortion (may be pricey)?

Yes

Congratulations! You’ve obtained a safe and legal (for now) medical procedure.

And If you answered no to any of the questions?

Give up!

Exclusive sneak preview of the choices we’ll have left in the future!

{images of a blimp and a time machine}

Abortion only available in mid-air… if the Reproductive Health Blimp happens to be around. Or Time machine to pre-2013 America. Warning: Do not go back too far!

Narrator: So what do these politicians – these high-minded sages – presume to know better than women and their doctors?

Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona: Women don’t get pregnant that often from rape!

Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas: If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted.

Narrator: Let’s just say it’s not exactly science.

On the plus side, people are waking up to what’s happening. Most famously, thousands gathered in the Texas Capitol in June to protest draconian new measures and cheer on state senator Wendy Davis’ epic filibuster.

{image of Wendy Davis in her iconic pink sneakers}

Wendy Davis: The leadership may not want to listen to Texas women, but they will have to listen to me!

Narrator: North Carolina state Rep. Kathy Hawken offered a voice of moderation:

Rep. Kathy Hawken: I’m personally pro-life, but I vote pro-choice because you can’t make that decision for anyone else.

Narrator: What you can do right now: Stand up and fight back! Tell elected officials that we’re not stupid – and to stop interfering in our private decisions.

Go to aclu.org/notstupid

About the artist:

Jen Sorensen's comics and illustrations have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Kos, The Progressive, NPR.org, Ms. Magazine, Politico, AlterNet, MAD, Nickelodeon, The Austin Chronicle, The Village Voice, and dozens of other publications around the country. In 2013, she was the recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and she also won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Editorial Cartoons.

Jen Sorensen is an award-winning political cartoonist who you can follow at @JenSorensen or facebook.com/JenSorensenComics.

View the plain-text version of this graphic: https://www.aclu.org/stealth-attack-what-you-need-know-about-new-abortion-laws

Jen Sorensen's comics and illustrations have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Kos, The Progressive, NPR.org, Ms. Magazine, Politico, AlterNet, MAD, Nickelodeon, The Austin Chronicle, The Village Voice, and dozens of other publications around the country. In 2013, she was the recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and she also won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Editorial Cartoons.

Jen Sorensen is an award-winning political cartoonist who you can follow at @JenSorensen or facebook.com/JenSorensenComics.

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