News from the Plains: All this RED can make you BLUE
The (Woman's) Body Politic
by Barry Friedman
The latest Oklahoma news from, shall we say, down there:
1. A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.When Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said restrictions on abortion rights were acceptable as long as they didn't place an "undue burden" on a woman, many Oklahoma legislators heard--and continue to hear--"First we register all the vaginas."
2. Abortion is covered in private insurance policies only in cases of life endangerment, unless an optional rider is purchased at an additional cost.
3. Health plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange that will be established under the federal health care reform law can only cover abortion in cases when the woman's life is endangered, unless an optional rider is purchased at an additional cost.
4. Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment, unless an optional rider is purchased at an additional cost.
5. The use of telemedicine for the performance of medication abortion is prohibited.
6. The parent of a minor must consent and be notified before an abortion is provided.
7. Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
8. An abortion may be performed at or after 20 weeks postfertilization (22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period) only if the woman’s life is endangered or if her physical health is severely compromised, based on the spurious assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that point.
Abortion providers in Oklahoma will be required to report dozens of new details about each procedure under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.
A separate bill in the Oklahoma House, sponsored by Representative Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City), would put to voters an amendment to the state’s Constitution that would define life as the moment “biological development” begins. It would outlaw abortion, birth control, and in vitro fertilization that resulted in fertilized cells dying. It would not provide any exception in the case of rape or incest.See what they do? It's not about abortion, not really--it's about sex, it's about control, it's about telling a woman what she can and can't do with her body; otherwise, why include in vitro, why include birth control? To representatives like this, women are not human beings--they're chattel.
Unfortunately, men aren't the only ones who think so.
In 2010, the State House approved a measure that would require women seeking an abortion to be given ultra sound pictures of the fetus prior to the procedure. And of the 94 legislators voting, only 7 said no. Representative Lisa Billy offered the bill. A woman. With a uterus.
Billy was quoted as saying: “The bill is necessary to provide women all of the information before they make an irrevocable decision. This bill actually provides her a choice – she does not have to view that screen.”She does not have to view that screen? How does one's head not explode after uttering such a thing?
Worse, the representative is wrong. Or lying. Or insane.
Oklahoma, North Carolina and Texas passed laws requiring that the ultrasound screen face the woman and spelling out in detail what the doctor must describe, effectively requiring vaginal probes in most cases.Probes the state would require--require--physicians to perform and the patients to pay for.
How's the GOP notion of less government intrusion in your lives working out for you? Ladies ... GOP ladies ... Hello?
Yet another law says doctors cannot be sued for lying to expectant mothers about disabilities in the fetus.
Doctor (looking at blood results): Oh my God!
Expectant Mother: What, what? Is something wrong?
Doctor: Uh, no. No. Did I say something was wrong? No, no. I was just thanking God for the miracle of modern medicine. Let us pray.
The good news, and there isn't much: many of these horrendous laws written by horrendous legislators have been ruled unconstitutional. Not so much because they're the result of 14th Century misogynists who spend too much time being pelted by the wind that comes sweeping down the plains--where 'ev'ry night my honey lamb and I discuss God's plan for her hoo-hah--but because they are so poorly drafted, they violate the Oklahoma Constitution, which requires bills to deal with a single subject only. Judges here want to control the amount of stupid that goes into each piece of legislation.
On Tuesday, following appeals by the state, the Oklahoma Supreme Court reaffirmed the lower court's decisions that the laws are "facially unconstitutional."Not sure what that means? Replace facially with fucking and you'll have some idea what the courts think of the state's abortion laws.
Now if we could just get state legislators to stop writing them.