After yesterday’s foaming-at-the-mouth rant, I got a few requests to actually explain why I was so incensed. So, I’ve come up with a summary about what’srotten in the state of Denmark here.
Basically, we’re seeing a flurry of legislation trying to get pushed through at the state and federal level that affects women’s reproductive rights, and the dialogue is…terrifying.
At the Federal Level
A few weeks ago, there was the whole hubbub about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law student who testified at a House meeting about why religious-affiliated organizations who receive tax dollars should provide birth control coverage to their employees and students. Several Catholic-affiliated organizations (universities, hospitals) were especially against this, so this sparked a debate about religious freedoms vs. women’s health and reproductive rights, and while the committee invited several male religious leaders to testify, the Republicans in the House tried to ban Sandra Fluke from coming to share her two cents.
In the end, there was enough of an outcry, so Fluke got her time to testify. Basically, Fluke’s argument is that there are other health benefits to birth control (ovarian cysts, etc.), and paying for expensive treatments can be a burden on students like herself. She wasn’t arguing that she should have taxpayers pay for her bc so she can have sex, but rather that health care plans should provide it so that it’s more affordable for people who need it for a variety of reasons.
Nonetheless, shortly afterwards, high profile conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh jumped on her back and issued no less than 20 slanderous remarks about Fluke. He called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute”, and suggested that women who get bc through taxpayer dollars (misinterpreted Fluke’s point along the way) need to find some way of repayment:
“So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” ~The Honorable Mr. Limbaugh.
A few weeks later, Foster Friess, one of Santorum’s main campaign donors, made a tasteless joke about contraception about how women should just hold a Bayer aspirin between their knees because its cheaper. He made this joke on MSNBC to a female anchor.
So, we have high-profile radio hosts and campaign donors – people with a ton of influence over the next election – saying things that don’t belong in the
21stCentury 19th Century…but wait, there’s more.
At the State Level
At the state level, things are even worse. We’re getting wave after wave of state legislatures trying to pass laws that essentially shame women out of getting an abortion. Now, that’s a whole new debate in itself, but I think that most could agree that these tactics are pretty sleazy.
- Virginia: A few weeks ago, a bill was circulating to require invasive transvaginal ultrasounds before having an abortion. This drew fire and accusations of state-sponsored rape, so the bill was amended to include simply conventional ultrasounds.
- Alaska: Representative Alan Dick is pushing for requirements for a woman to get a permission slip by the man who impregnated her before getting an abortion. There is also a mandate for forcing ultrasounds before the procedure, regardless of medical necessity.
- Arizona: GOP legislator (Terri Proud) wants a mandate that forces women to watch abortions before going through with the procedure. Arizona is also considering defunding Planned Parenthood and allowing doctors to withhold information from patients to prevent abortions. Best of all, Arizona is working on a bill that requires women to prove to their boss that they need birth control for a medical condition if they want it to be covered by the insurer.
- Texas: Governor Rick Perry passed a law that excluded Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid Women’s health program. This means that there won’t be any funding not just for Planned Parenthood, but any clinics with any sort of affiliation to the provider. This includes things like cancer screenings and basic healthcare.
- Georgia: The state house is debating a law that would make it necessary for some women to carry a stillborn or dying fetus until they naturally go into labor. Representative Terry England made his case by comparing women to pregnant cows and pigs and chickens.
Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, I think that most people understand that having an abortion is one of the most emotionally scarring medical procedures you can have. I can’t think of a single woman who would take such a decision lightly or remain unaffected after it was finished. But, there are circumstances where it is a painful necessity.
I feel that our state and federal government is abusing their time and our resources through their compulsion to police women’s bodies. We have so many other issues to focus on, and I feel like this morality kick that many of our elected officials has gotten on is detracting from things that are much more important to the livelihood of this country.
Darn it…I started ranting again. Can’t help myself.
But of course, there’s no point in just ranting in a blog and not doing anything about it. If you have any interest in expressing yourself in this debate, there are a few options:
Write your Congressmen/women. It’s simple, and you may just get an automated response, but enough volume of activity would eventually get through to our representatives.
Or, you could check out advocacy groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights. They have mailing lists that can keep you informed of the latest legislation and activity on the Hill.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I sincerely believe that this activity isn’t going to fly in the next election. Even though the parties mentioned above are somewhat tone deaf now, if we get enough people to recognize their power as voting citizens, we should be able to silence such nonsense. Well, here’s hoping.