Outlawing the Pill, One State at a Time

In today’s “whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?” news, fringe anti-abortion group Personhood USA is pushing for a legal redefinition of personhood in which life would begin the very moment sperm fertilizes an egg, even before the embryo would have an opportunity to implant into the woman’s uterus. The effect of such a (ridiculous) redefinition? Contraception, like the Pill, could be outlawed.

Think Progress explains,

These laws would recognize every fertilized egg as an individual and complete human being with full rights, and place millions of women in legal jeopardy. According to 2008 numbers, around 11 million American women use birth control pills and another 2 million use intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Contraceptives like the pill and IUDs not only act to prevent fertilization, but, if fertilization does occur, may prevent that fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Personhood USA considers this tantamount to abortion, and wants to make it a punishable offense for women to control their own fertility. Worse, because the proposed legislation could make any effort to terminate a pregnancy a criminal act, it could also bar doctors from saving the lives of women with ectopic pregnancies, which are never viable and need to be terminated as soon as possible.

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Guess What–Women Have Brains

A whole bunch of politicians in this country–not to mention their supporters–seem utterly convinced that a vagina and a brain can not exist in the same body. What other explanation can there be for the latest round of utterly insulting and paternalistic anti-choice bills flooding state legislatures?

Let’s look at the Texas sonogram bill, just for kicks. The bill, which is expected to be signed by Governor Rick Perry, requires that a doctor perform a sonogram at least 24 hours before a woman can have an abortion. The woman must have the option to see the results and hear the fetal heartbeat; even if she chooses not to do this, the doctor still must describe to her what the sonogram shows, including any limbs and internal organs.

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana wasn’t just content to cut off funding for the Planned Parenthood clinics in his state. Nope, he also made it illegal for any abortions to be performed after 20 weeks. And–the icing on this cake of wrong–doctors are now required to tell women that life begins at conception and that a fetus can feel pain at around 20 weeks.

Excuse me while I check out the immigration requirements for Canada, and remind myself to never, ever, ever move to Indiana. Or Texas. Or any of the number of states considering aping these and other restrictive laws, including my home state of Alabama.

I really want to know exactly what anti-choicers think goes on inside an abortion clinic. Do they imagine some sort of Snidely Whiplash character, twirling his mustache and menacingly waving around a speculum? Do they think clinic employees haunt malls and grocery stores and libraries, sidling up to pregnant women and enticing them in the manner of drug dealers, muttering out of the corner of their mouth that the first pregnancy test is free? (Oh wait, no, it’s the crisis pregnancy clinics that use free pregnancy tests to lure women in their doors. My mistake.) [Read more...]

The Irony of Ultrasound Legislation

5 states now require providers to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions, with several other states encouraging women to do so via counseling/consent provisions.  Pro-life proponents of this expensive, unnecessary, and patronizing requirement hope that viewing a fetal image will dissuade women from choosing their choice.  Au contraire.

The New York Times reports that out of 254 women at 2 British Columbia clinics, none reversed their decisions to terminate as a result of viewing an ultrasound.  Zero.  At an Alabama clinic, patients and providers report that ultrasounds helped ease the decision to abort:

In some instances, the ultrasounds have affected women in ways not intended by anti-abortion strategists. Because human features may barely be detectable during much of the first trimester, when 9 of 10 abortions are performed, some women find viewing the images reassuring.

“It just looked like a little egg, and I couldn’t see arms or legs or a face,” said Tiesha, 27, who chose to view her 8-week-old embryo before aborting it at the Birmingham clinic. “It was really the picture of the ultrasound that made me feel it was O.K.

Remember,  61% of abortions in the U.S. are obtained by women who already have one or more children:

Like other patients, Laura, who has a 17-year-old son, said she took offense at the state’s implicit suggestion that she had not fully considered her choice.

“You don’t just walk into one of these places like you’re getting your nails done,” she said. “I think we’re armed with enough information to make adult decisions without being emotionally tortured.”

Womb is Utah’s

As I start to write this article I have the uncontrollable urge to ask Utah: are you kidding me?

I was alerted yesterday by Amplify that Utah’s congress overwhelmingly passed legislation that will criminalize women for miscarriages if it is determined the pregnancy ended as a result of “intentional, knowing, or reckless behavior.”

The bill is riddled with clauses that leave the state wide open to re-colonize the body of Utah women. One cannot help but think of The Handmaid’s Tale when reading about these new laws. [Read more...]

Karmic Rewards: Privacy & the Public Figures Behind Oklahoma HB 1595

Senator Todd Lamb
As Kristen reported last week, the Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act, (passed in Oklahoma last spring) is being challenged in court on the grounds that it covers more than one subject and, thus, is a violation of the state constitution. Since Kristin already did such a great job summarizing the bill, I won’t bore you with those details—check out her post if you want to read more!  We at FFC sincerely hope this challenge (as well as any others that come forward) is successful and that this horrible piece of legislation meets its end before it can be implemented.

Given the particularly heinous nature of this bill and the potential it has to do long-term harm to the rights of women all over the country, plus the fact that it is really only one example of the shenanigans state elected officials will pull in order to ensure that I am not the one to control the destiny of my uterus, I think it makes sense to subject it to all sorts of scrutiny, courtesy of the blogosphere.

And since I am all about karmic justice, I decided that the idiots behind this colossal piece of crap should be subject to an equal level of scrutiny as well as varying forms of public ridicule.  Sadly, it isn’t within my power to cart them off to the town square and place them in a pillory everyone to mock.  I will just have to settle for posting their profiles here.  Including their phone numbers and email addresses.  All of this is public information, of course.  But I thought it might be interesting to see how they feel about having the details of their personal lives uploaded to the web for all to see.

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Arizona Rally For Choice

The Arizona Senate approved two pieces of anti-choice legislation this week. Activists will be descending on the state capitol to urge Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bills. Here’s the details. If you’re in AZ, be there, or be square! You know I’ll be representin.

n92074857321_8901Friday, June 26, 2009
11:30am – 1:30pm
Margaret T. Hance Park
1134 N. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ

Here’s a link to a map. Be sure to register for the event so the organizers know how many people to expect. It’s gonna be off the chains, ya’ll.

Bring your sunscreen, pom poms, radical cheers, and plenty of water. Hey hey, ho ho, patriarchy has got to go!

Arizona Senate Advances Anti-Choice Bill

6a00d8341bf80c53ef00e54f380ef18834-800wiThe Republican-dominated Arizona Senate advanced two pieces of anti-choice legislation on Wednesday. The first bill would mandate a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could obtain an abortion. The second bill would increase the penalties for doctors who perform late abortions. (For a great analysis about the terminology surrounding the terms “late-term” and “partial-birth” abortions, check out this podcast from NPR.) The state GOP has tried to pass similar bills on 9 separate occasions, but former Governor Janet Napolitano, a staunch women’s rights supporter, vetoed them every time. Arizona’s current Governor Jan Brewer is very anti-choice. She has promised to support both pieces of legislation if they pass through the legislature.

The 24-hour waiting period has become a key strategy on the anti-choice agenda. Similar laws have passed in a number of states, and each time the wording is the same. Forcing women to wait 24-hours to receive medical care is unconscionable. Women driving to the city from a rural area have already had to travel at least 3-4 hours to receive care, if not more. They probably had to take time off of work, and they may have had to arrange for childcare and/or transportation. If they are unable to receive care on the day that they arrive for their first appointment, those hurdles must be surmounted a second time when they come back to obtain the actual abortion. According to Planned Parenthood Arizona:

Supporters of abortion rights said the provisions of the bill would reduce the number of Arizona communities where abortion is available from 10 to three. The requirement that a physician meet with a woman at least 24 hours before the procedure would limit the areas where it can be provided because physicians would be less willing to make multiple trips to rural areas, according to Planned Parenthood. [Read more...]