Not content to let Oklahoma have the limelight for too long in mandating offensive, ineffective ultrasound procedures, Florida has now passed their own bill declaring all women must pay out of pocket for the procedure prior to having an abortion, unless she has proof she has been raped. Of course, whether she chooses to listen to the description of the embryo or fetus is completely up to her. How’s that for freedom of choice?
After being stalled for a day by Democrats trying to take a stand against the measure, the bill then heard numerous hours of heated debate from both sides of the aisle, with some rhetoric getting so hot that it was suggested that parents who brought children should leave the chamber.
There was passionate debate Friday on both sides of the issue, including three hours on the amendment requiring the ultrasound exam.
Rep. Janet Long, a Democrat from Pinellas County, opposed the measure, saying, “This is governmental intrusion in the most personal decision. Stand down if you don’t have ovaries.”
Rep. Betty Reed, a Democrat from Hillsborough County, said the ultrasound exam is an invasive procedure that should not be imposed on women.
“It is not right. It is not fair. It is not what we should be here doing,” Reed said.
House Speaker Larry Cretul stepped in when Rep. Alan Hays, a Republican from Umatilla, likened abortion to the Holocaust.
“Everyone is aghast and embarrassed” about the Holocaust, in which at least 5 million Jews were killed, Hays said. “What are we going to say as a society about the killing of more than 50 million?” he asked before Cretul cut him short.
Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, a Democrat representing Manatee and Sarasota counties, said, “This is an unconstitutional law.”
One politician gave an impassioned plea to please consider the mother when it comes to forcing an unwanted ultrasound, trying to remind the anti-choice legislators that not everyone terminating a pregnancy is doing it because it is unwanted.
[Y]ou act like this ultrasound machine is in another room, that you walk out into and go, oh, there it is. Actually, that ultrasound machine is right next to that bed, where my wife is laying, looking at this fetus. And she’s starting to cry. And she asks that that ultrasound machine be turned in the other direction because she can’t see it anymore. But this bill right here is saying “no, we’re going to demand one more time when you go in to finally terminate that fetus — because God and nature told you ‘not this time,’ that you be forced to see that screen, or you be told what’s on that screen, and that you demand it be turned away, but you’re still going to have to listen to the description of what’s still there. Members, this is something we’re about to do to women in this state.
But we’re not alone. Statistics show that about 25 percent of pregnancies are terminated naturally by God and nature. With today’s medical care, women don’t have to wait for the mother to keep a dying fetus inside their womb until it finally terminates on its own, or it finally miscarries by nature. So my wife and my sister are not alone. There are thousands and thousands of women that will be in the same position.
Members, we constantly hear that this chamber is all about small government. The only thing this body has proven in the last six years is how this Legislature defines small government — six years ago this Legislature wanted government so small that it could fit down a tube into an individual woman’s throat named Terri Schiavo; this decade we have shown time and again that you want government so small that it can fit under someone’s bedroom door; and members, this year you are showing that you want government so small that it could fit between a woman’s leg and into her uterus. It’s not the small government that anyone wants.
I know that I have changed no one’s vote today because this body is controlled more by ideology than empathy. But I tell my story today because I want you to go home tonight and when you are by yourself and you have closed your eyes to sleep that your mind is filled with the personal pain you have brought to my wife, my sister and the thousands and thousands of women who want nothing more than to have the baby that is growing inside of them, but that unfortunately, God, nature and fate have chosen that it will not happen at that time. When you close your eyes every night, I want you to see their faces and their pain and the trauma you have personally brought them.
Of course, the question now remains, what will Governor Charlie Crist do with the bill? Currently in a battle with Tea Party darling Mark Rubio for an open senate seat, and recently leaving the Republican Party to run as an independent, Crist is being begged by numerous legislators and activists to veto the bill.
We hope Gov. Charlie Crist’s new-found “independence” allows him to veto the Legislature’s ultrasound mandate, a crude effort to coerce women in to not seeking an abortion.
The law, unveiled and passed in the closing days of the session just concluded, requires ultrasounds for women considering abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy, when more than 90 percent of abortions are preformed.
Doctors must perform the ultrasound, and a woman must sign a form if she wishes to avoid viewing those results.
The mandate’s backers describe it as an effort to give women more information before they make a decision on abortion.
But the gathering and discussion of information about this legal procedure should be strictly up to the doctor and patient, with no political meddling.
They should not be burdened by heavy-handed, religion-driven government mandates having to do not with health issues but with the politics of abortion.
The debate on the bill made it clear that legislators backing the bill are concerned with trying to prevent abortions, not protecting the health of women.
Until abortion foes have the votes to ban it, they should stop trying to interfere with a legal procedure they find objectionable.
Let’s hope Crist’s declaration of an independent Senate candidacy last week is also a declaration of independence from the right-wing forces that seek to sabotage women’s reproductive rights.
After all, they turned on Crist before he dumped them.
However, the Republican legislators are already laying on some heavy-handed rhetoric to persuade him to pass the bill.
Rep. Chris Dorworth a Lake Mary Republican, acknowledged the veto possibility but said, “If he vetoes this bill, he’s saying that millions of people — the millions of babies who will be terminated from this … are not people. And I know, that as a man of character, that he won’t do that.”
Mini Roundup: I suspect in three days the usual group of anti-choicers will claim this to be the be all, end all of abortion repercussion studies, despite its obvious flaws. Yet it will never occur to them that these are the lengths women will go to in order to get an abortion if it becomes illegal.
April 30, 2010
Kenyan churches oppose constitution over abortion – The Associated Press
Florida Senate Approves New Abortion Restrictions – Kaiser Health News
Chris Selley: A contrived little abortion war – National Post
Would independent Crist sign or veto new abortion laws? – Creative Loafing Tampa
Abortion bill veto will boost Charlie’s Senate race. – Orlando Sentinel
Palin Event Requires Media To Pay Anti-Abortion Group For Access – Huffington Post
Kenyan constitutional talks stall on abortion issue – Catholic Culture
Why Stephen Harper took a hard right on abortion – Toronto Star
Abortion’s route to rare – New Bern Sun Journal
Kan. House fails to override veto of bill rewriting late-term abortion law … – Los Angeles Times
Ga. Capitol notes through Day 40 – Macon Telegraph
Oklahoma abortion laws target the vulnerable – Monterey County Herald
Poll: Most want next SupCo justice to support abortion – Seattle Post Intelligencer
Kenya: Abortion in the Draft Constitution – AllAfrica.com
America’s 5 strictest abortion laws – The Week Magazine
BC Hospitals Refuse to Release Abortion Data – Lifesite
House spends final day on abortion with eye toward Crist – Tampabay.com
Abortion funding limit could reach further than intended – Washington Post
House Sends Controversial Abortion Bill to Crist – The Jacksonville Observer
Abortion bill will cause pain, trauma – Tampabay.com
Charles Lewis: Chipping away at abortion – National Post
Abortion: The debate politicians are afraid to reopen – National Post
Abortion’s New Battle Lines – New York Times
Florida House sends abortion bill to governor – Tampa Tribune
2 abortion amendments pass – Tampa Tribune
Kansas: Abortion Bill Veto Stands – New York Times
‘Lack of contraception awareness’ among women – Private Healthcare UK
Dan Bailey: The case for abstinence-centered sex ed – Dallas Morning News
UNFPA: INVESTING IN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS TO ACHIEVE MDG5: PURNIMA … – MaximsNews Network
Fifty years of . . .The Pill – Irish Times
STI’s untreatable case – Fiji Times
Palin calls for a ‘culture of life’ – Fort Worth Star Telegram
Maternal mortality reduces in Eastern Region – Joy Online
New Hope for Infertile Young Women – BusinessWeek
WHO Chief Notes N. Korean Achievements in Public Health Care – Voice of America
A contrived little abortion war – National Post
Maternal mortality rates unacceptable – London Free Press
May 1, 2010
This is sure to raise red flag among anti-abortion crowd – Winnipeg Free Press
Nurse sues hospital over forced abortion assist – New York Daily News
Abortion bill now heads to Crist – Ocala
NEW ARIZONA LAW TO RESTRICT ABORTIONS – MNDC Breaking News
Desperate measures in face of unwanted pregnancy – Zambian Watchdog
Contraceptives to defuse population bomb – Daily Times
HIV is not a gay disease – The Guardian
Sex and risk among people in their 20s – Los Angeles Times
Central Jersey HIV/AIDS cases, mortality rates continue decline, but health …– myCentralJersy.com
America’s First Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine – The Atlantic
Is HIV a high priority? – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
How to Avoid Sexually Transmitted Diseases Stds – TMD Celebrity News
Midwives Out in Cold – Wall Street Journal
Bold Plan for Maternal Health – Inter Press Service
US teen pregnancy rate up: Study – The Province
May 2, 2010
An annual display of the abortion divide – Philadelphia Inquirer
Abortion confusion reigns in Legislature – Chattanooga Times Free Press
PARKER: Educating pregnant women – Clarksville Leaf Chronicle
Abortion bill clogs up House – Florida Times-Union
Oklahoma’s abortion count is below US average – NewsOK.com
Family planning cuts will cost taxpayers – Asbury Park Press
In Developing World, Health Services May Be Just a Phone Call Away – Voice of America
Church enlists Villar, de los Reyes in drive vs RH bill – Inquirer.net
Grandmas to Africa for HIV/AIDS gathering – The Province
Teen pregnancy targeted – MassLive.com
Teens urged to get cervical cancer vaccination -Sutton Borough Guardian
South Dakota midwives are trained, certified nurses – Rapid City Journal
Course on safe motherhood kicks off – Yemen News Agency
Canada has moral duty to ensure safe abortions in Third World – Orillia Packet & Times
The PILL and Time Magazine – Salem-News.Com
Phil leader pledges 3 million votes on contraception – CathNews Asia
Doctors at religious hospitals face ethical conflicts over care – American Medical News
Bill would require sex-ed classes – Lancaster Newspapers
Stomping Out AIDS – WSAZ-TV
Pupils could be exempted from new sex-ed requirement – Lancaster Newspapers
Still Second-Class Citizens?: Women and Health Care – Socialist Alternative
The birth of a mom – Toronto Sun
May 3, 2010
Crist should veto abortion legislation: Editorial – The News-Press
A fetus is not a person – Ottawa Citizen
McDonnell finally makes pro-choice plate official – Daily Press
It’s a good plan The best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted … – Houston Chronicle
Clinton upset delicate balance of consensus – MiamiHerald.com
The Pill gives way to the pills – Baltimore Sun
Blogs Discuss Future Of Abortion-Rights Movement, History Of Birth Control … – Medical News Today
Washington Post Columnist Gerson Discusses G8 Maternal, Child Health Initiative – Medical News Today
SD youth: Less smoking, drinking, but more sex – Sioux Falls Argus Leader
In Developing World, Health Services May Be Just a Phone Call Away – Voice of America
Democrats Try To Lock Up Their Base – Right Side News
Maternal deaths – Calgary Herald
International Day of the Midwife celebrations – Channel 9