5 States Where GOP Extremists Are Pushing Repugnant Anti-Women Laws
A sign at a NYC rally for choice.
Photo Credit: Sarah Seltzer
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The 2012 election was meant to be a referendum on, among other things, the tide of Republican extremism that swept reproductive rights to the edge of existence in many states between 2010 and 2012. Although the Tea Party was allegedly given votes in the midterms to address financial issues, abortion restriction and defunding Planned Parenthood immediately rose to the top of the new Republican priority list.
That was all supposed to end with this election--but did it?
This absurd period of legislative history that became dubbed the “war on women” (though it affected people of all genders) culminated in this year's notorious spate of comments from Tea Party-approved candidates about rape -- legitimate, god-willed or otherwise -- and resulted in the biggest anti-misogynist backlash at the ballot box we’ve seen in a long time.
Women handily voted for Obama, vetoed extreme anti-choicers and listed abortion as an important issue in exit polls. But in several states, GOPers seemed not to get the message. At all. Some of them are continuing to fight the same battles, in some cases putting women’s access at risk.
Could it be because they have no ideas besides digging back into the “dump on women’s rights” bag of tricks?
1. Ohio. Right away during Ohio's lame duck session, members of the state GOP decided that it might be a good idea to revive some battles they lost, like the dangerous and restrictive “heartbeat ban,” which would ban abortion while a fetal heartbeat was detected (and whose potential effects many have compared to the situation in Ireland that led to Savita Halappanavar’s death). They also made efforts to defund their state’s Planned Parenthood--again.
This led to State Senator Nina Turner creating a T-shirt that said “Get Out of My Panties” and calling the GOP in her state "insane."
At last this week, these Ohio GOP efforts to curtail reproductive freedom came to an end, but not after they wasted a lot of time and energy on all ends trying to remind women of their desire to legislate in the womb.
2. Arizona is worthy of a double prize, and not only because the state is continuing to fight an appeal in court to keep funding away from Planned Parenthood--even though they’ve lost in lower courts.
Even worse, there’s a new shame tactic from the state, which has already instituted a highly constitutionally questionable 20-week ban: a Web site which tries to manipulate women out of having abortions. At Jezebel, Katie JM Baker offers an analysis of the site’s true intentions:
Make no mistake: the website is biased, ...The title itself — "A Women's Right to Know" — is incredibly patronizing. The first paragraph on the home page doesn't define abortion or even explain why a woman might choose to terminate a pregnancy; instead, it states that "... If your doctor performs an abortion on you without obtaining your voluntary consent or without allowing a private medical consultation they may be liable to you for claims in a civil action." Because it's that easy for women to get abortions, you guys! Those wily doctors will give you an abortion even if you don't want one! Lock your windows!
Rather than offering women medically accurate information, the site offers half-truths and shame.
3. Arkansas GOPers, finding themselves in charge of both legislative chambers, are wasting no time trying to do what they do best: get all up in Arkansas uteri. They are introducing measures to ban abortion by “telemedicine” as well as a controversial 20-week ban:
Mayberry said he plans to reintroduce legislation next year that would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on the disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain after that point. Mayberry's bill was one of 10 anti-abortion measures that failed to clear the House Public Health Committee during last year's session, and it's one of three measures that Arkansas Right to Life says it plans to push for in the legislative session that begins Jan. 14.