Photo Credit: Sarah Seltzer
When statehouses across the country started passing abortion bans at the seemingly arbitrary threshold of 20 weeks, was it a mere coincidence? When the "right to know" bills that required mandatory ultrasounds -- sometimes transvaginal ones -- before abortions were introduced or passed, in state after state, from Virginia to Texas to Pennsylvania, was that a matter of chance?
Of course not: none of these trends were the product of diabolical mind-sync on the part of anti-choice legislators. Instead, these bills arise from the tradition of blueprint legislation -- the practice of borrowing bill prototypes or model bills from a central national entity and then adapting them for introduction in statehouses. The practice is used on both sides of the aisle, but is particularly insidious in the case of anti-choice bills, part of the "war on women"-- the campaign to erode Roe until it's all but nonexistent.
Blueprint legislation has come to light recently thanks to the spotlight on the right-wing, corporate American Legislative Exchange Council, and in particular ALEC's hand in the proliferation of dangerous "stand your ground" laws, like Florida's, and discriminatory voter ID legislation.
ALEC has taken a hit in recent days as progressive activists, including ColorofChange and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, have convinced major companies -- among them Mars, McDonald's, Wendy's, Kraft, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Intuit, plus the Gates Foundation -- to drop their affiliations with ALEC in light of the Trayvon Martin case. READ MORE