Last week I spent away from the computer and came back to way too much information about the persecution of women in the United States. The number of anti-choice laws proposed across the nation has risen above 1,000. An outstanding overview of the assault against women between puberty and menopause is “10 Worst States To Be a Woman.”
With the third highest teen birth rate and the fifth highest maternal mortality rate and STD transmissions, Mississippi has two abortion providers. And one in three Mississippi children lives in poverty. The huge state of Texas was this blog’s subject several days ago, but there’s worse news: by slashing family planning funding and eradicating state funding for low income women’s reproductive care, lawmakers will guarantee that the 35 percent of uninsured women in childbearing years will only grow. Crisis pregnancy centers—the ones that prevent women from having abortions for any reason—will keep its funding, and Texas women will be required to have an ultrasound (for their own money) to get an abortion.
Earlier we also talked about the 72-hour waiting period and the lack of abortion providers in South Dakota. The required counseling for an abortion must be done by the aforementioned crisis pregnancy centers—which will only counsel against all abortions. Indiana has found a way to drive more women to have abortions. (What would happen if the state treated gun owners the same way that they treat women who need abortions—counseling, a waiting period, and then no access? Wait! Maybe a good idea!)
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (a maybe Republican presidential candidate) not only has signed a bill to stop abortions after 20 weeks but also cut off federal funding for family planning—which means no federal funding for contraception. With teen pregnancy projected 21 percent higher in the state because of this lack, about 3,500 additional abortions in the state are projected. The law also requires doctors to tell women that life begins at fertilization (freedom of speech? small government?) and that a fetus can feel pain at or before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Kansas is following Daniels’ leadership in refusing Planned Parenthood its funding, and earlier in the spring other states such as New Jersey and New Hampshire had introduced bills toward this end.
Minnesota also passed an abortion ban after 20 weeks (unconstitutional because the Supreme Court gives viability as the criterion), going so far as to deny an abortion for fetuses with fatal abnormalities or the mother’s health. The governor has not yet signed the bill. Perhaps there is some sanity in the world, but one would not know it by listening to state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R) when he informs the “ladies” about the seven U.S. Supreme Court members who voted in favor of Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion. “Men, a certain percentage, have developed a perverted view of women and what abortion tells men is they can use women and lose them.”
At the same time Oklahoma is attacking not only women but also their children by introducing a bill denying Planned Parenthood the right to distribute nutrition vouchers for the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
With its new law mandating that women cannot get abortions based on the fetuses’ race or gender, Arizona just skates over these problems in this state: 23 percent of women of child-bearing age have no insurance coverage, and 23 percent of the children live in poverty. Arizona also has the third highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country. Georgia tried for the same law as Arizona but failed. Nevertheless, Georgia still has the highest maternal mortality rate. Another Southern state, Louisiana, ranks only 46 in maternal mortality (at least four states have more women die in childbirth), but Gov. Bobby Jindal would love lots of anti-choice laws, including the same one as Arizona. Evidently lots of women are demanding abortions because they don’t like the ethnic background of their fetuses.
Meanwhile how does a far-right politician stop people from talking about his votes against gays, family planning, Medicare, and all the other things that far-right people hate? Rep. Aaron Schock (IL-18) used this cheesecake image on the cover of Men’s Health to divert criticism from his political positions. This is evidently not the first time that he’s enjoyed exposing his body to photographers. His positions are made clear, however, on the DCCC’s website. Can you imagine the reaction if any Congresswoman were to pose in a provocative manner? Perhaps the representative is just going for schocking name recognition.