A New Texas Bill Seeks to Ban Abortion Pill Websites Statewide
Tori Otten for The New Republic reports that a Texas Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill, the Women and Child Safety Act, that would compel internet providers in the state to block websites that sell or provide information on how to obtain abortion pills. Additionally, “abortion funds and their staffers could face criminal penalties for helping someone get an abortion even if they travel out of state, as could individuals who manufacture and distribute abortion pills in Texas or who provide information on how to get the drugs,” Otten writes. She also notes that Texas has banned abortion after six weeks since the overturn of Roe, and there currently are no exceptions for rape or incest and few to save the life of the pregnant person. The state also has a vigilante law in which individuals can sue anyone who provides abortion care or helps someone get an abortion. PRRI research finds that 57% of Texans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Otten notes that across the country, Georgia, Kentucky, and Alabama are all considering bills that would classify abortion as homicide, while South Carolina representatives introduced a bill that would make abortion punishable by the death penalty.
What’s Going on with the Wave of GOP Bills about Trans Teens? Utah Provides Clues
PRRI Public Fellows Tyler Lefevor and Kelsy Burke write for The Conversation that Republican politicians have proposed over 200 bills limiting trans rights in state legislatures, surpassing the 150+ bills proposed last year. One of the first bills restricting medical treatment for transgender adolescents to become a law was Utah’s SB 16, “Transgender Medical Treatments and Procedures,” which Gov. Spencer Cox signed on Jan. 28. PRRI finds that just over half of Americans are opposed to such laws, and only 1 in 4 strongly favor laws that prevent parents from allowing their child to receive medical care for gender transition. While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally advises against gender transition, it also urges members to research “the potential risks and benefits” for themselves or their child. The authors conclude that it is a “combination of politics and faith – not religion alone – that creates the current recipe for restricting transgender rights.”
What Asbury’s Christian Revival Says About America’s Need for Connection
PRRI Public Fellow Aaron L Griffith writes for TIME about the weeks-long worship service at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. that many Christians called a revival. Word of the ongoing service spread globally through social media and national news coverage. A number of other universities followed suit and had their own campus awakenings, which Christians categorize as an “unprecedented movement of God across the nation.” Griffith writes that two general criticisms have emerged: one is that revivals like Asbury’s lack moral seriousness. The other is that such revivals are a “propellant for problematic politics, akin to the collective effervescence of a Trump rally.” Indeed, there have been several well-known MAGA politicians that have commended the widespread gathering in Wilmore, interpreting it as a “part of a larger political surge that bolsters the religious right.”
West Virginia GOP Majority House OKs Religious Freedom Bill
Leah Willingham for AP News reports that West Virginia’s GOP supermajority in the House of Delegates passed a bill Monday that would create a test for courts to apply when people challenge government regulations on the basis of religious freedom. The bill specifies that the government would not be able to “substantially burden” someone’s constitutional right to freedom of religion unless doing so “in a particular situation is essential to further a compelling governmental interest.” Critics have expressed concern that the proposal could be used to overturn the state’s vaccine requirements or discriminate against LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. Christian Republican Del. Todd Kirby listed public school curriculum as an example of government overreach and infringement on residents’ religious rights. Kirby stated that teachers “are being forced to push the left’s agenda, the government’s agenda, within the war on traditional families with such things as promoting transgenderism, homosexuality in our classrooms.” The bill also “dictates that the proposed law could not be used to permit access to abortion, which was banned by West Virginia lawmakers last year.”
Read PRRI’s full report “Abortion Attitudes in a Post-Roe World: Findings From the 50-State 2022 American Values Atlas” here.