So January 23, 2013, will mark the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade, the landmark case, which overturned numerous anti-choice state laws and legalized abortion rights in the United States. While it might be too early to celebrate, we might want to take notice of an apparent coordinated political effort that seeks to turn back the clock to a time when it was okay to deny women autonomy over their bodies.
Over the past two years, several GOP-controlled states, as well as their comrades in Congress, have launched one of the most extreme assaults on women’s choice the U.S. has seen in decades. It’s so extreme that many in media have declared it a “War on Women.” Wherever you stand on reproductive rights issues, you might want to take notice on how your gender, more particularly your body, is being used as a way to gain some political leverage and not necessarily for your benefit. So let me just highlight some of the measures that you should be paying attention to:
Last week, the Georgia House passed the “fetal pain bill,” which seeks to criminalize abortion after 20 weeks, completely overriding the Roe V Wade precedent by 4 weeks. Dubiously dubbed the “women as livestock bill,” this measure makes no exception for rape or incest and requires that women undergo a series of tests to prove that their fetuses might be on the verge of death due to some sort of chromosomal or congenital anomaly before an abortion could be performed. Likewise, the law also stipulates that the abortion must be performed in such a way that the fetus emerges alive. If, by chance the fetus dies during the abortion, the performing doctors will face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.
This bill garnered national attention after one of its Republican co-signers compared pregnant women carrying stillborn fetuses and seeking abortion to the cows and pigs on his childhood farm, suggesting that just like farmers, have to “deliver calves, dead or alive,” a woman carrying a dead fetus, or one not expected to survive, should have to carry it to term. Once this bill is signed into law (and all signs are suggesting that the governor will sign it), Georgia will become the seventh state including Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, North Carolina and Indiana, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks.
This past week, Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, (You know the guy that pissed off all the union workers and caused a summer of uprisings in the state?), has signed two Republican backed bills, which require doctors to consult privately with women seeking abortions. You know, to ensure that she is not being forcefully lead into having an abortion. The bill also bans abortion coverage in policies sold through a health insurance exchange, a marketplace for small businesses and individuals to purchase health insurance cheaply, except in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity.