How often is my government going to embarrass me this year? Election season in America is always insane, and this year even more so as the Republicans try to out-conservative and out-religion each other in their desperate bid to gain the G.O.P. nomination for President. This has trickled down to Republican state legislators, whose activities would be funny if they weren’t so dreadful—especially with regard to women’s reproductive freedom. Here are two items called to my attention just yesterday.
1. Bill to force women to carry dead fetuses. In Georgia (of course), a Republican state legislator (of course) has introduced a bill that would force a woman to carry a fetus to term even if the fetus is dead. According to ThinkProgress:
State Rep. Terry England was speaking in favor of HB 954, which makes it illegal to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks even if the woman is known to be carrying a stillborn fetus or the baby is otherwise not expected to live to term.
He then recalled his time working on a farm:
“Life gives us many experiences…I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.”
Suggesting that if a cow or pig can give birth to a dead baby, then a woman should too was not enough for Rep. England though. He then delivered an anecdote to the chamber in which a young man who was apparently opposed to legislation outlawing chicken fighting said he would give up all of his chickens if the legislature simply took away women’s right to an abortion.
And recommending continuing a non-viable pregnancy is a violation of the standard of care, meaning the Georgia Representative would like to legislate medical malpractice standards despite the fact that England is not a doctor.
Here’s a video of England spewing his insanity at the Georgia legislature:
And that’s how Republicans like England see women: as cows—reproductive machines who must give birth, even to a dead baby, at the behest of their masters. Carrying a dead infant, of course, poses serious risks to a woman, including the deadly risk of infection from a decomposing fetus. England wants women to run that risk—for what?
2. Pennsylvania proposes mandated ultrasound for women seeking abortion, and, unlike the bill in Texas, would force the women to watch it. She does, however, have the option of closing her eyes! From HuffPo
During a discussion of a far-reaching mandatory ultrasound bill, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Wednesday dismissed off-handedly the insinuation that the measure goes too far, saying, “You just have to close your eyes.”
Corbett reaffirmed his support for the “Women’s Right to Know” Act, which would require doctors to perform an ultrasound on a patient, offer her two personalized copies of the image and play and describe fetal heartbeat in detail before she can have an abortion — “as long as it’s not obtrusive.”
Invasive transvaginal, as opposed to abdominal, ultrasounds are required in the first trimester; these would presumably include every woman who had been raped, producing a second violation:
Pennsylvania’s ultrasound bill, unlike the revised version passed in Virginia, does not specify a type of ultrasound, so the doctor will have to use an “interior” procedure for most first-trimester abortions in order to meet the requirements of the law.
And can you believe this inhuman requirement?
Even if the woman opts to “close [her] eyes,” as Corbett suggests, the doctor will have to turn the ultrasound image toward her face, give her two signed copies of the printed image, describe the number of heartbeats per minute and tell her if that’s normal or not for a fetus of that age. She then has to wait 24 hours and bring all the signed paperwork and both ultrasound images to her abortion doctor in order to have the procedure legally, and the doctor has to repeat to her the age of the fetus.
Here’s Corbett defending the bill and saying that women don’t have to watch the ultrasound:
It’s always the men proposing this stuff, isn’t it? I hope this kind of wickedness drives women away from the Republican party. I weep for my nation, and can only imagine how this looks to people from other countries.
Meanwhile, women—even Republican women—are starting to push back. Several bills have been introduced to regulate the reproductive “rights” of men. These include an Ohio Viagra bill, which, while clearly tongue in cheek, makes a deadly serious point: men wouldn’t want their reproduction regulated in the way they’re trying to do to women. Business and Health describes one:
The most recent gambit came late last week, when Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat, introduced a bill that would effectively regulate the sex lives of men. The legislation, Senate Bill 307, would require men seeking prescriptions for the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra to see a sex therapist receive a cardiac stress test and obtain a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming the man’s impotency.
And, in Georgia, eight of the nine women senators (all Democrats, of course) walked out of the legislature protesting the Republican “war on women” (and that’s indeed what it is). You can see the video here.
h/t: Gayle, Sigmund