Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer.
Here it is, 2012 campaign time, and “women’s rights” are still an issue for fairly large numbers. We’re way past the “You’ve come a long way, baby” because “you’ve got your own cigarette” blatant appropriation of “women’s liberation,” but maybe it’s because actual progress has been made that we still see a “woman’s right to choose” as a key issue for some. Along with other “issues,” like whether the “illegals” deserve human rights; whether the “homosexuals” deserve equal treatment; whether there might be something significant about the skewed-by-race incarceration rates.
For now, I want to take a look at three recent, or fairly recent, articles regarding women’s equality as related to abortion, and reproductive health in general. We all know that 2012 is very much about the economy, but of course, women’s rights (like those of everyone) are directly tied to the economy – if, for example, you have the money, you can get whatever health and medical services you need. Maybe money can’t buy you “rights,” but it can certainly buy the benefits of “rights.”
To begin, take a look at a piece from April of this year, by Lauren Kelly at AlterNet:
According to a recent report from the Guttmacher Institute, an astounding 916 anti-abortion measures were proposed in states around the country during the first quarter of 2011, and the bills that are being proposed are more radical than we have seen in the past:
As a whole, the proposals introduced this year are more hostile to abortion rights than in the past: 56% of the bills introduced so far this year seek to restrict abortion access, compared with 38% last year. Three topics-insurance coverage of abortion, restriction of abortion after a specific point in gestation and ultrasound requirements-are topping the agenda in several states. At the same time, legislators are proposing little in the way of proactive initiatives aimed at expanding access to reproductive health-related services … .
Things haven’t improved. From Sarah Seltzer, also at Alternet, earlier this week “Which State Is Winning the Race to the Bottom to Become the Worst Place for Women?” :
Every day, it becomes a little bit harder for women to get the health care they need in America, particularly if that health care has anything to do with sexual and reproductive health.
The ‘war on women’ began almost the moment that 2011’s new class of legislators took their oaths of office, and it’s still going on as we speak. Anti-choice groups have successfully created blueprint legislation for waiting periods, parental consent laws, mandatory ultrasounds, and targeted regulations of clinics. These kinds of laws have been passed in statehouse after statehouse. …
A few specific examples:
Leading the way are Ohio, Virginia, Kansas and South Dakota. Other states, like Indiana and Missouri, already have so many restrictions of various types in place that they’re going to be hard to catch up with … .
Ohio: A fetal heartbeat law that would outlaw abortion … after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is often as early as six weeks into the pregnancy.
Kansas and Virginia: … There’s another kind of threat at work in Kansas and Virginia. TRAP, or ‘targeted regulation of abortion provider’ laws, are burdensome restrictions that are designed to put abortion clinics out of business. And in Virginia, passing a new set of these laws has been deemed an ‘emergency.’
Earlier this week, Taylor had a piece up, “Meet Les Riley and the Extremes of Republicanism”, in which she cited a recent Mother Jone’s article, “The Most Radical Anti-Abortion Measure in America.” From that article:
In November, Mississippians will vote on an amendment to change the meaning of the word ‘person’ in the state constitution. Under the new language, human life would begin not at birth but at the moment of fertilization. If the amendment passes, it will outlaw abortion in the state entirely, even in cases of rape or incest. It might even leave some forms of contraception, and procedures such as in vitro fertilization, on life support.
Wow. “Personhood” at inception. Baby, you have a come a long way. Your mother, on the other hand …