For political junkies like me, there’s nothing better than the beginning of legislative season. Lawmakers enter their capitols ready to lead their states in a new and better direction, without the jaded cynicism that seems to seep in by the end of session as looming deadlines approach.
Of course, it is also a time for anti-choice legislators to see how far much damage they can do in a session. Here’s a quick look around the country at how these legislative bodies are trying to control our, well, bodies.
Ultrasound bills have been all the rage recently, and West Virgina doesn’t want to be left out. They are attempting to add mandatory ultrasounds to their current 24 hour Women’s Right to Know Act, because apparently women don’t understand they are actually pregnant unless they see a picture.
West Virginians for Life President Karen Cross said the measure would
give women complete information. Many women change their minds about
abortion when they see an ultrasound image, she said.
"It’s very abstract when she finds out she’s pregnant," she said. "When
she can see a living human being . . . , then [she is] more likely to
You can’t help but wonder if maybe Cross herself needs to look at a few more ultrasounds, too.
In most cases, Cross said, the mental image of an unborn child is
fuzzy, since she is told it is nothing more than mass of tissue.
is dispelled when the woman sees an ultrasound depicting “a living,
human baby with fingers and toes, and arms and legs,” Cross said.
“We know that at eight weeks, they have fingerprints, little fingers and toes and even begin to develop fingernails,” she said.
“When she sees that, she’s more likely to choose life. She should know that before the abortion and not find out later.”
I still have the picture of my ultrasound from my daughter at 10 weeks. I can tell you that there is nothing on that picture that shows fingers or toes, much less little developing fingernails. But I suppose that doesn’t mesh well with the romantic notions of ittybitty perfectly formed mini-preborns that the Right to Life have in mind.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, as Rachel pointed out yesterday, the state legislature debated having abortion removed from ALL insurance plans, both public and private. The amendment was quickly chocked full of so many poison pill clauses like "smoker riders" and "viagra riders" that it was sent back into committee where it will likely suffer a lingering death.
Apparently it was as hard to watch inside Kansas as it was for those of us tracking the bills from outside the state. As The Pitch Put it:
all of this was finally over, this once innocuous measure was sent back
to committee so loaded with bullshit it’s likely nothing will ever get
Credit to the Star‘s Topeka correspondent, David
Klepper, for not stabbing anyone in the throat with his pen
while covering this.
In Utah, "stricter rules" were proposed for "abortions not performed by a doctor through medical procedure."
Abortions not performed by a doctor
through a medical procedure would be illegal under a measure that
passed the Utah Legislature Thursday.
The Senate voted 24-4 to pass House Bill 12, advancing it to the Gov. Gary Herbert’s office.
The bill sponsored by Herriman Republican Rep. Carl Wimmer was
prompted by a case in Uintah County in which prosecutors alleged a
pregnant 17-year-old girl paid a man $150 to beat her in an effort to
induce a miscarriage.
Those who voted against the bill feared that women who suffer a
natural miscarriage or one caused by domestic violence could find
themselves open to prosecution
Of course, in this case, it would be more helpful to consider addressing anti-abortion laws that would cause a 17 year old to be so desperate to have an abortion that she would pay someone to beat her just to not be forced to have a baby. When being severely beaten looks like a better option than having a baby, it’s time to discuss why she is unable to access an abortion safely rather than just write a law forbidding beating her.
Finally, there is Oklahoma, who today will have its next hearing regarding its ridiculously intrusive Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act, a 30+ question document a woman must answer in order to receive an abortion in the state. The questionaire, which many claim is an additional attempt to intimidate women out of having an abortion, could also potentially identify, or, as some point out, misidentify a woman seeking to have an abortion. Should the blocked law pass today, the repercussions could be huge. And no, I’m not just talking about the blow to women’s right to control her own body.
It’s a possible worldwide boycott of the musical "Oklahoma."
Consider yourself warned.
Mini Roundup: While one doctor fights to keep his license after an undercover sting that actually proved his innocence, another doctor welcomes the 40 days protesters, joking they might help advertise the clinic’s services.
February 19, 2010
leader predicts passage of ultrasound bill Beckley Register-Herald
control changes not on Canada’s G8 plans TheChronicleHerald.ca
refuses to pull doctor’s license Los Angeles Times
It’s Complicated Huffington
role in a united Ireland The Guardian
death plan Green
Bay Press Gazette
February 18, 2010
New Frontier in Pro-Life Stem-Cell Research ChristianityToday.com
Affirmed Safe in HIV MedPage
such thing as ‘safe sex’ InsideVandy
missionaries: Lessons from Haiti adoption or ‘child kidnapping’ case Christian Science Monitor
Should Drop Birth Control Out
of Airplanes" The
family planning is
bad idea Visalia
US Bishops and Torture American Spectator
Legislature passes stricter abortion rules LocalNews8.com
on illegal abortions
heads to governor Salt
Manchin supports ultrasound-viewing bill Charleston Gazette
Doctor Welcomes Protesters KHBS-KHOG Northwest Arkansas