If you're a woman and fortunate enough to live in Indiana, Wyoming, Idaho, or West Virginia this year, consider yourself blessed! Your state legislature has adjourned for 2012. You are the chosen few!
Do you reside in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, West Virginia, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Carolina, or Vermont? You lucky women living in these 17 states may be safe! There has been no anti-woman legislation in your home state this year. YET! Cross your fingers (and your legs) -- your legislature is still in session and they still have plenty of time to invade your privacy and take away your equal rights!
For the rest of us, here's what's already happened or is being considered in 2012:
The goal? Shut down all the abortion clinics. Tactic: Shut down the Birmingham clinic on May 18, 2012 for 'having doctors with hard-to-read handwriting. . .'
Two-pronged approach last March. The House passed a budget that limited the use of public funds for low-income women's abortions to those that involve rape, incest, or threats of life to the mother. Meanwhile, GOP Governor Sean Parnetll signed a law to start producing "Choose Life" license plates.
Warning! Stay out of Arizona. In this state, women are considered pregnant starting the day following their last menstrual cycle. Why you ask? Using this date rather that an accurate calculation of when the pregnancy started, the 20-week deadline is passed before usual testing can determine fetal abnormalities, leaving women zero time to decide whether to terminate their pregnancy, So clever, Arizona is the only state to do this.
They also passed laws to prevent wrongful birth lawsuits, meaning doctors can lie to parents about the health of their fetus if they believe the mother may decide to abort. They also limited doctors' freedom to use newer methods of medicinal abortion which are safer and have fewer side effects. And, just to seal the deal, they passed a law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius of their clinics.
If you have to pass through, keep driving folks!
"Personhood" advocates are working diligently to include a constitutional provision in this year's election that defines life as beginning at the moment of conception. You know, through the popular vote routine that has been so successful for the GOP -- guess they will show Mississippi how it's done! Of course, they aren't bothered by the news that the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled that their state's proposed personhood amendment was blatantly unconstitutional.
If you're feeling carefree in the land of California Dreamin' -- pay attention! Personhood advocates are pursuing a "life begins at conception" measure, How's that for a surprising proposition in November? And anti-abortion activists are collecting signatures again for a ballot initiative that will require teens to get their parent's permission and wait 48 hours before having an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.
Ignoring precedent in Oklahoma and a sound defeat in Mississippi, personhood advocates press on in Colorado. Way to hang in there, you're nothing if not persistent.
Legislators have been busy in the 2012 session! Seven bills focused on limiting abortion rights. Alas, none of the bills bore fruit, it was a barren season for them! Lucky voters will get to decide whether to eliminate women's right to privacy and will get to vote yay or nay on whether employers will be able to determine whether contraceptive care will be covered by group health insurance plans for female employees. Nice, huh?
Yet another personhood amendment guaranteeing full human rights to fertilized eggs. And let's not forget Republican Governor Nathan Deal's 'fetal pain' law which bans abortions when the fetus is more than 20 weeks old because the fetus can feel pain, although no medical evidence supports this claim.
Let's hear it for their new 'refusal clause'...never heard of it? This prize-winning legislation expands funding to "crisis pregnancy centers," expands "conscience rights" to medical professionals who may refuse to participate in abortion and contraceptive services. This bill also allows doctors to lie to women about birth defects, and for good measure, also allows doctors to withhold life-saving cancer treatment in the interest of saving the fetus.
Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed this bill on May 15, 2012. The bill opens the door to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill emergency contraceptive prescriptions they "reasonably believe" might result in termination of a pregnancy. No more 'morning after' pills which the Mayo Clinic says can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Way to go Kansas!
A mandatory ultrasound law and a law restricting "telebortions" are making their way through legislation. Never heard of a "telebortion"? This occurs when a doctor phones in a prescription for RU-486 while not sitting in a clinical room with the patient.
If the Michigan Senate has their way, it will be a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion. It seems to us that this will often be a difficult case to prove, you know, the standard he-said, she-said defense.
Beautiful Minnesota, 'don't cha know', adjourned its legislative session without any new anti-choice bills signed into law. There is an effort though to add a personhood amendment to their state ballot in November, restricting the use of public funds to provide abortion services for poor women and state employees.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed legislation on April 17, 2012 -- a measure specifically designed to close the state's only abortion clinic. Have you heard of TRAP laws? Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers or TRAP laws — all the rage, rather than trying to restrict abortion by challenging Roe v. Wade or by adding waiting periods, parental consent laws and bans on late-term abortions, TRAP laws target abortion facilities rather than patients by adding requirements to abortion providers, facilities and clinics that do not apply to physicians who perform other surgeries.
Here are two fun new offerings from the Republican legislature in Missouri! 1) Let's show the low-income women on public assistance in Missouri how much we care. No funded abortions for you unless your life is in danger. Raped? A victim of incest? Tough! Pay for your own abortions or have the baby. Get over it! A bill not unlike the failed Blunt Amendment, allowing a woman's employer (aka "Boss") to decide whether or not contraception or abortion services are covered under her group health insurance plan.
And why not consider funneling $1.6 million to "crisis pregnancy centers"? Of course, they don't provide abortion referrals but will let you know women who want abortions are "hellbound". And why not strengthen existing "conscience clauses" to boot?
Sounds familiar, nothing unusual here. Anti-abortion rights advocates want to strengthen parental consent laws for minors and introduce a "personhood" ballot measure to voters.
Zygotes are people, too! So why not in Nevada too? Personhood advocates in Nevada are working to ensure it's on the ballot!
Live free or die... unless you're a lady. The legislature has considered a fetal pain law similar to Georgia's, a ban on "partial birth" abortions, a 24-hour waiting period, mandatory counseling, and a strengthening of "conscience clauses" that would allow medical professionals to refuse to assist women in abortions.
Let's hear it for a ballot measure to limit the circumstances when low-income women can use public funds for abortion care. And while they are at it, why not try to remove the constitutional provision that bars any laws that mandate parental involvement in abortions.
If Republicans have their way, Measure 3 will pass in June. If passed, this little gem will let your boss be the "decider" on whether your group health insurance plan will pay for your birth control! Forget about separation of church and state, now you get to worry about your boss in your bedroom. Very nice!
If personhood advocates round up enough signatures by July 4, their measure will be on the ballot in November. After much arguing about the unclear language which could prohibit emergency contraception, other forms of birth control and infertility treatments, proponents have added language clarifying the measure will not restrict "genuine" contraception, IVF or other infertility treatments. Critics (ourselves included) don't put much faith in their term "genuine". . . and the language is still unclear whether hormonal birth control pills and IUDs would be banned.
The Oklahoma State Supreme Court was busy in April, and we're happy to report they unanimously called the state "personhood" initiative for this fall unconstitutional! A few weeks earlier, a state district judge ruled the mandatory ultrasound law was unconstitutional because it singled out abortion from other medical procedures, which is a no-no! The Oklahoma GOP will probably appeal this decision to the State Supreme Court. So far Oklahoma -0-, women -2-. The battle continues. . .
Hey, you independent Oregonians! There is a push for a personhood amendment in your state this fall. Keep an eagle eye on these proponents!
Watch out South Carolinians or you may find a 20-week abortion ban; insurance plans unable to offer Affordable Care Act "exchanges," which means No Abortion Coverage. And the Senate has already passed a bill to bar private insurers from covering abortion. So much for Roe v Wade.
Wow, where to start?! According to their new law, women receiving pre-abortion counseling must be told they are at higher risk for future mental health issues. Amazing! (Never mind the fact that the study that linked abortion and mental health issues has been proven false)<>Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard also signed a bill to bar insurance through the state's exchanges from covering abortion care. And South Dakota women who want an abortion MUST visit a "crisis pregnancy center" before receiving care. Since these centers are usually linked to religious and anti-abortion groups, maybe this is where they believe the link between abortions and mental health issues arise!
As of July 1, women in Tennessee will no longer be able to receive prescriptions for RU-486 via teleconference, thanks to a new law that bars the practice.
Back in February, a conservative judge allowed a law that requires a 24-hour waiting period along with a mandatory ultrasound to go into effect. As ice cream on top the cake, the doctor MUST also describe to the woman the image on the ultrasound screen.
A 72-hour waiting period law recently went into effect. Previously, Utah women seeking abortions had to wait 24 hours between having an ultrasound and having a medical procedure. Who knows, those extra 48 hours may cause most women to see the light and pray for the church and state forgiveness.
Although vagina-focused Republicans lost the personhood battle last February, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell did sign a new law requiring a 24-hour waiting period and mandated that women receive an ultrasound before having an abortion. At least the 'trans-vaginal wand' rape isn't mandatory!
Last, but not least, the Koch state! Beloved Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a law that limits insurance coverage for abortions. He also outlawed the use of telemedicine when prescribing abortion drugs. Health professionals must now double-check to really, really make sure women aren't being coerced into abortion, because surely it must be so!
Latest legislative news about the war on women — what's happening in Washington D.C.
More coming soon...
Propaganda: We need to restrict abortion access because sex-selective abortion rates are a problem in the U.S.
Truth: The U.S. sex ratio, at 1.05 males for every female, is squarely within biologically normal parameters.
Propaganda: The cost of Medicaid-funded family planning services is an unjustifiable national expense that the government cannot afford.
Truth: "These efforts save almost $4 for every $1 invested and help avert almost two million unintended pregnancies per year, which would otherwise have resulted in 860,000 unintended births and 810,000 abortions. Without these services, the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions occurring in the United States would be nearly two-thirds higher among women overall and among teens; the number of unintended pregnancies among poor women would nearly double."
Propaganda: Women's reproductive rights are not under attack.
Truth: More than 50% of women now live in states hostile to abortion.
Propaganda: Teens who receive sex education in school are more likely to be sexually active and promiscuous.
Truth: "Respondents who had received instruction on both abstinence and birth control were older at first sex than their peers who had received no formal instruction and were more likely to have used condoms or other contraceptives at first sex; they also had healthier partnerships."
Propaganda: There is a clear causal relationship between abortions and women's mental health issues.
Truth: "A study purporting to show a causal link between abortion and subsequent mental health problems has fundamental analytical errors that render its conclusions invalid, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Guttmacher Institute. Although debunked...mandatory counseling laws in a number of states now require women seeking an abortion to receive information, purportedly medically accurate, that has no basis in fact. Among other things, mandatory counseling can require that a woman be told that having an abortion increases her risk of breast cancer, infertility and mental illness. In reality, none of these claims are medically accurate. These laws not only represent a gross intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, they serve to propagate misinformation, intentionally misinforming the patient on important medical matters."
Propaganda: Teen births and abortion rates are at all-time highs.
Truth: Teen pregnancies have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s, as have the births and abortions that result; in 2008, teen pregnancies reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years.
Propaganda: Poor, uninsured women have most of the abortions that are performed past 16 weeks gestation.
Truth: "...Once other factors were taken into account, women with family incomes of at least 200% of poverty were more likely than poor women to obtain abortions at this stage. Patterns in insurance and income suggest that the higher cost and decreased availability of abortion services at later gestations may make them less accessible for poor women and those who pay out-of-pocket."
Propaganda: The vast majority of women use birth control solely to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Truth: Only 42% use the pill exclusively for contraceptive reasons.
Propaganda: Marriage is the solution for women having problems with unwanted pregnancies.
Truth: Poor women who are married have unintended pregnancy rates more than twice as high as those of higher-income women who are unmarried or cohabiting.
Propaganda: Abortion rates for low-income women have risen because poor women routinely use abortion as a form of birth control.
Truth: "..the ongoing economic recession may have made it harder for poor women to obtain contraceptive services, resulting in more unintended pregnancies. In addition, when confronted with an unintended pregnancy, women who might have felt equipped to support a child or another child in a more stable economic climate may have decided that they were unable to do so during a time of economic uncertainty."
Propaganda: The government should not have to pay for contraceptive and family planning services for low-income women.
Truth: "The estimates of the cost to taxpayers of providing medical services to women who experience unintended pregnancies and to the infants who are born as a result of such pregnancies range between $9.6 and $12.6 billion per year, and average $11.3 billion. The estimates of the public savings that would result if these unintended pregnancies were prevented range from $4.7 billion to $6.2 billion per year, and average $5.6 billion."
Propaganda: Affordable contraceptives are not important to Catholic and Evangelical Christian women.
Truth: "Most sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant practice contraception, and most use highly effective methods like sterilization, the pill, or the IUD. This is true for Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, and it is true for Catholics, despite the Catholic hierarchy's strenuous opposition to contraception."
Propaganda: Most women who have abortions do so without the consent or support of their partners.
Truth: "Nearly nine in 10 women who are cohabiting or married report that their partner knew about their abortion (88% and 87%, respectively) and that he was supportive (82% and 87%). By contrast, 72% of divorced and separated women reported that their partner knew and 66% said that he was supportive. Additionally, women in long-term relationships were more likely than those not in a relationship or in a relationship of less than one year to report both that their partner knew and that he was supportive. Only 12% of women reported that they had not been in a relationship with the man who got them pregnant, but a majority of these women reported that he still knew about the pregnancy and that he was supportive (61% and 64%)."
Lists and links to resources, organizations and groups who have put on their boots and dogtags to go forth, raise hell, and rock the slut vote in 2012.
More coming soon...