Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The GOP's Anti-choice Crusade

It's no secret that the GOP has been waging a war on women's reproductive freedom recently. From the "forcible rape" mess to trying to strip Planned Parenthood of its Title X funds, the GOP has been working non-stop to curtail women's reproductive choices. There's even a bill being considered that will help fund anti-choice "crisis centers" that routinely give out misleading information.

New anti-abortion billboard campaign from Life Always
As Amanda Marcotte so perfectly said, "Republicans appear to believe that the women of America have wildly mismanaged these uteruses in the four decades since the Supreme Court gave them control over them -- and now that Republicans have even a little bit of power, they’re going to bring this reign of female tyranny over uteruses to an end." Here is a listing of just a few anti-choice measures that have passed or are being considered in several states:

In Ohio (via):
An Ohio House committee has narrowly approved a bill that would impose the strictest abortion limit in the nation, outlawing the procedure at the first detectable fetal heartbeat. Wednesday's vote by the Health Committee on the so-called Heartbeat Bill was 12-11. The bill would need to be approved by the House, where its future is uncertain.
Arizona (via):
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into law a controversial bill that makes the state the first in the nation to outlaw abortions performed on the basis of the race or gender of the fetus.

Under the new Arizona statute, doctors and other medical professionals would face felony charges if they could be shown to have performed abortions for the purposes of helping parents select their offspring on the basis of gender or race.The women having such abortions would not be penalized.
Kansas (via):
A bill to strictly limit abortions after 22 weeks based on disputed research that fetuses can feel pain is on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has indicated he will sign it into law. A second bill to require consent of both parents for minors to get an abortion and to require doctors to provide the state with more detailed records for abortions also is headed to the governor.

House Bill 2218, the fetal pain bill, represents a significant tightening of the availability of late-term abortions. It would place strict limits on abortions after 22 weeks based on disputed research that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development. The other abortion legislation, House Bill 2035, would require parental consent for anyone under 18 to have an abortion. Current law requires that one parent be notified, but neither parent can veto a daughter's abortion.
Parental consent laws are always troublesome because there are instances when the parent is abusing the minor. Montana's House recently passed a similar law and this issue was surprisingly addressed.

Montana (via):
A bill requiring minors to get parental permission for an abortion passed in the Montana House of Representatives on Tuesday. The act requires doctors to give 48 hours notice to at least one parent before completing the procedure. It would apply to minors under the age of 18. Minors could get the approval of the courts if they wanted to bypass parental permission.

MT State Representative Wendy Warburton (R-Havre) said, "Parental permission is required before a school can give your child an aspirin for a headache, and they can't get their ears pierced without your permission, so I think it;s certainly just a good common sense thing that parents should need to be involved in a very serious medical decision."

MT State Representative Franke Wilmer (D-Bozeman) said, "Of course this is hard to balance the rights of privacy in a situation that pertains to abortion, and the termination or continuation of a pregnancy. It's not earpiercing. You don't wake up and find your ears pierced because your parents sexually abused you."

Critics say that the bill does not address children who have abusive parents or who are not involved in their children's lives.
Oklahoma (via):
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.

The bill passed 94-2 without debate and will now go to the state Senate, said state Representative Pam Peterson, who sponsored the bill.

The proposed law, similar to one passed in Nebraska last year, is based on medical evidence that an unborn child can feel pain at the 20-week mark, Peterson said.
South Dakota (via and a hat tip to Sarahbear):
South Dakota's governor signed into law on Tuesday the longest abortion waiting period in the nation at 72 hours, and opponents immediately promised a legal challenge to stop it from going into effect. The law signed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard also requires a woman to submit to counseling to ensure her decision to have an abortion is "voluntary, uncoerced, and informed."
Virginia (via):
As he promised, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a bill Monday that places the same requirements of abortion clinics as that of hospitals, which could lead to many of them closing.

Abortion advocates fear some of the requirements including widening hallways, hiring new staff, and purchasing more equipment will be impossible for some clinics to reach financially in limited time. This could result in 17 of the 21 clinics to close, they said. Currently, clinics providing first trimester abortions are subject to the same requirements of a physician’s — one that would perform minor surgeries or dental operations.
Iowa (via):
A bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is expected to be debated soon by the Iowa House.
Iowa is also considering a bill that would stop tax payers from paying for abortion in cases of rape or incest for medicaid recipients. Woohoo for that.

Florida (via):
At least 18 bills seeking to ban or limit women’s access to legal abortion services — even in the case of rape, incest or threat to health — have been filed in the GOP-controlled Legislature. Some are sailing through committee.

That includes a resurrected health bill to require that pregnant women seeking a first-trimester abortion undergo and pay for extra ultrasounds. ...Rape, incest and domestic violence victims who want to opt out would have to show proof of their status, such as by showing a restraining order, police report, medical record or other court document.
Texas (via):
Republicans in the Texas House will demonstrate their newly-gained power today when they give the official approval of a bill that would require women to get a sonogram before having an abortion.

The legislation survived lengthy debate and exhaustive efforts from Democrats to amend the bill on Thursday. The Texas House needs to take one more procedural vote this afternoon and then send the bill to the Texas Senate, where a similar, less stringent sonogram bill already passed.

The state Senate version of the sonogram bill would grant exemptions for victims of rape or incest. The state House, however, where Republicans hold a two-thirds majority, did not include such an exemption in its version. The state House also rejected an amendment that would have "substituted" the House version with the exact wording of the Senate bill, signaling the legislature may have trouble reconciling the two bills.
And these are just the states I could find with a quick google search. Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state polices for the Guttmacher Institute, has said there are variations on the Nebraska law, which bans abortion after 20 weeks, that have been introduced in 17 states this year. This is no joke. I also found a comprehensive list of different anti-choice bills at Ms. Magazine. Warning: be prepared to get mad as hell.

6 comments:

  1. I knew I wasn't imagining things when I thought there was a lot of stuff in the news recently about abortion rights. Republicans have been in office no longer than 3 months and they've made it clear what their priorities are. This is so insane to me.

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  2. I know. I knew there had been a lot of talk about it recently, but I didn't realize the scope either. Mind boggling.

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  3. Funny, most of these guys claim to want LESS government involvement in our lives. How can we do that? Yes, pass MORE laws.

    WTF???

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  4. Republicans supposedly want fewer abortions and unwanted pregnancies, but at the same time want to attack organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide reproductive health care, sex education, and contraception. And then repeal health care, so less women have access to health services. Oh yeah, and also cut social programs that would have helped some of these families.

    The hypocritical views of the Republican party continue to baffle me.

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  5. This is scary. It's not so bad here in California, but I worry that if this kind of insanity takes hold in enough states, it could come here too. And either way it makes me really mad on behalf of all the people in those states whose rights are being taken away. It's like the GOP is saying, "let's get the government out of our lives and into our pants," to quote Roy Zimmerman.

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