Friday, July 1, 2011

Goodbye Reproductive Freedom, It was Nice Knowing You

Some have been sending news and links my way regarding the Ohio House of Representatives passing three anti-abortion bills earlier this week, in hopes of igniting my rage. I've been busy, so I haven't been able to give this the appropriate attention it deserves. Jen McCreight over at Blag Hag also raged over this, and rightfully so. Thus, I give what the public demands...

Are you fucking shitting me? Seriously? Are you people (referring to both the Republicans AND Democrats in my state House that supported these) so completely out of touch with reality that this is fucking OKAY?
The three bills are as such:

-The first would ban insurance coverage of abortion under the health care reform act within the state, with no exceptions to rape, incest, or the mental health of the mother.

-The second would ban abortion after doctor determined viability, starting at 20 weeks. No exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormality, or the mental health of the mother.

-The third would ban abortion after a heartbeat could be heard via ultrasound. No except for rape, incest, or the mental health of the mother.

Here are the primary issues I have with these three bills:

1- Not having exceptions in any of the bills for rape, incest, or the mental health of the mother, which is downright inhumane. Yes, lets force women to be incubators of the result of an assault against them, so that they get to have that assault perpetrated against them for another 9 months after the initial incident. That seems like a great idea. (Clarification: Yes I am saying that being forced to play host to a fetus that was created against your will is assault. Or at least it should be considered as such.) To not allow exceptions for rape or incest makes these laws more restrictive than many other laws in similarly restrictive states. To also lack exception for mental health makes the statement that a woman's mental well-being is not any of their concern, even though mental health can have a great influence on physical health. Women should just have to deal with the extra stress, in addition to whatever mental illnesses they may have or develop.

2- The banning of abortion coverage under the health care reform acts is hypocritical; especially for Republicans. It is also restricting abortion access to those that can afford it (leaving the poor high and dry). The GOP has had, as a party line for a long time now, a belief that government should have little to no say in the operations of private business. They have shown that they firmly believe that government should leave private enterprise the fuck alone. Which is why I have issues with this. To some degree, I agree that government should not be able to dictate what services a private business can/can not provide (within reason, but that is for another time). So for the Republicans, the "Get government out of business" party, to sit and tell private insurance providers that they can not cover abortion in any plans in the state of Ohio under health reform, is so blatantly hypocritical that it drives me insane.

Additionally, by preventing insurance providers from covering abortion in Ohio, it means that the poor are fucked. The poor, the low-income, single parent (typically mothers) homes, who utilize abortion services the most, would be fucked. Abortion is expensive. It is painful. It can have a recovery period that may involve missing work (aside from missing work for the informational and procedural appointments, which must be at least 24 hours apart in Ohio). By removing that little bit of financial cushioning insurance coverage provides, it make the difference between whether a woman is able to get an abortion, or have 9 months (at minimum) worth of additional expenses.

3- The "Heartbeat Bill," as it has been dubbed, would ban abortion after a heartbeat can be detected. Oh, the heartbeat bill... My friend Dan Sprockett has an excellent post on why heartbeat bill is bad science. In short, heart cells have this weird little habit: they beat on their own. You can take a bunch of live heart cells, put them a petri dish, and they will pulse together. While this little aspect is cool, it is bad news for women under this new bill. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 5 weeks due to this phenomena (often before the heart is even fully developed). Many women do not even know they are pregnant at this point. This bill is bad science all over.

The bill is also arbitrary in its restrictions. Why is the heartbeat important? Why is it the existence of a clump a pulsing cells that somehow determines this fetus, barely the size of a peanut, is now more important that the already living woman it inhabits? Keep in mind, this bill also lacks exception for rape and incest. There was this lovely little gem during some of the proceedings:

Some women, he said, who are raped and become pregnant, view carrying the child to be a "triumph" over their rapists. A number of women in the hearing room gasped after he said this. Several wiped away tears. - Walter M. Weber 
The creators and backers of this bill give no real reason as to why the cutoff point should be when a heartbeat is detected. None. They make references to Romeo and Juliet, which is a work of fiction, not reality. There is no reasoning behind this, other than to try and essentially eliminate abortion in Ohio.

There is a slight silver lining to all of this. The heartbeat bill will not pass constitutional review, as it is in direct violation of Roe v Wade by setting the cutoff prior to a doctor's determined viability outside the womb. This leads to more hypocrisy on the Republicans' parts, as for all their talk of fiscal responsibility, they are going to waste tax-payer money on defending an unconstitutional law that restricts women's reproductive rights. The insurance bill might be challenged on oversight grounds. As for the exceptions to rape and incest, who knows. I have no idea why these bills have gotten this far without someone in the legislature standing up and saying "Hey, this is a little harsh and should be removed".The other bill, a ban on abortions after viability, is slightly redundant to a federal law saying the same thing (but starting at 24 weeks), but is different in that it does make exceptions for fetal abnormalities or the mental health of the mother. Because we all know health just refers to you body, and your brain is clearly not part of your body.

I didn't vote for these people. I didn't ask for my reproductive rights to be threatened to be all but stripped from me. But that is what these people are doing. I am honestly worried about these bills. They are an unprecedented attack on women's reproductive health in this state. Should these bills be passed into law, should they pass constitutional review, they would practically eliminate abortion access in this state. Which is a worrisome thing indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment