The Penn Democrats wrote an op-ed in defense of “reproductive rights” for the Daily Pennsylvanian, arguing that women have the right to employer-paid abortion drugs and that abortion-clinic safety rules are “unnecessary.” Fair enough.
But these defenders of bodily integrity make a curious case for their contention that America’s abortion laws are “decades behind many other countries”:
While European countries provide free access to contraceptives and encourage comprehensive sex education, in America, women’s health care autonomy is limited by the religious and moral views of others.
The Penn Democrats are either woefully ignorant of Europe’s abortion laws or masters of omission, because America is far more permissive of abortion than most of Europe.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Cynthia Allen made this point in a Tuesday column on the Texas governor’s race, pitting pro-life Republican Greg Abbott against Democrat Wendy Davis, who made her name on a filibuster of a Texas bill to ban late-term abortions:
In Western Europe — a bastion of liberalism that many progressive policymakers look to with admiration — abortion laws are far more restrictive than those in the U.S.
In Germany, women seeking first-trimester abortions are subject to a mandatory three-day waiting period and a counseling session. Abortions after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are forbidden except in cases of grave threat to the mother’s physical or mental health. France’s laws are similar.
Other nations like the Netherlands, which requires a five-day wait, and the United Kingdom make abortion illegal after viability, generally considered to be between 22 and 24 weeks.
Davis’ absolutist position on abortion puts her to the left of the Netherlands, home of legalized prostitution, marijuana bars and physician-assisted suicide.
Are the Penn Democrats saying they’d rather have stricter laws on surgical abortion in tandem with wide access to birth control? Probably not, because then they would sound like Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in the Colorado Senate race.
CORRECTION: The original article incorrectly said Rep. Cory Gardner was a candidate in the Colorado governor’s race. He is a candidate in the Senate race. The article has been updated to reflect this.