1. Women’s reproductive rights struggles in Texas
After Sen. Wendy Davis (D), Texas, put together her 11 hour filibuster against a controversial anti-abortion bill that would diminish access to abortion services across the state last tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry (R) requested a second special section for today, hoping now he would be able to pass it. This session may last a month. The governor’s decision is, as reported by The Huffington Post and The Texas Tribune, just one of many strikes on women’s reproductive rights and women’s health care under Perry’s administration. In 2011, they produced a law saying every woman considering an abortion should have a sonogram and hear a description of their fetus. Researchers from University of Texas at Austin, as noted by The Texas Tribune, estimate “that 144,000 fewer women received health services and 30,000 fewer unintended pregnancies were averted in 2012 than in 2010.”
It is outrageous to find that women’s health care has been compromised. It is erroneous that abortion is just treated as a matter of “killing a life” and not as a broader social issue and a women’s reproductive right. A right to choose. A right to have access to Planned Parenthood clinics, a support system that could help young pregnant women to make their own decisions.
We’ll have to keep a close eye on what happens in Texas for the next few weeks, hoping social pressure may be the one thing that makes Republicans rethink their votes, since the bill is likely to pass if they remain the same.
2. And also in Ohio
Gov. John Kasich, from Ohio, signed the state’s budget bill with strong anti-abortion language. As reported by The Columbus Dispatch, the bill takes effect today and have significant measures against women’s health and reproductive rights. Here is a list of all measures:
a) Significant abortion provisions were not changed.
b) Planned Parenthood was cut off 1.4million dollars in federal family-plaining dollars and who gets the money was reviewed
c) Abortion clinics now have tougher requirements: they have to have agreements with hospitals (but public hospitals are out of the question). This measure would cause the closing of some of Ohio’s abortion clinics.
d) Doctors performing abortions have to do an ultrasound and, in case they hear a heartbeat, it must be informed to the patient. He also has to explain the chances of the fetus surviving to a full term. By the way, a fetus is redefined as “developing from the moment of conception”, not likely the more common definition, which is when a fertilized egg has been implanted on the uterus.
e) Crisis pregnancy centers will receive funds, but the way they give the informations is arguably biased.
Taken together, all this measures make Ohio the state with the most stringent laws on abortion in the US, as noted by Think Progress. The article does point out that 52% of Ohians that answered a pool from the Public Policy Polling Group about the budget said they were against it specifically because it included attacks on reproductive rights, such as defunding Planned Parenthood and shutting down abortion clinics.
The picture of a bunch of mid-aged conservative men all around the governor signing the budget couldn’t be more emblematic. Apparently, women and voters had no voice on the process. It’s a shame.
- 6 Truly Unbelievable Ways Ohio Has Just Eviscerated Women’s Rights (rinf.com)
- Ohio’s Kasich approves sweeping restrictions on reproductive rights (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Flanked By Men, Ohio’s Governor Signs Draconian Abortion Bill Into Law (leftandcenter.com)
- It’s a Wendy Davis nation, now (salon.com)
- Ohio mandates abortion ultrasounds, guts Planned Parenthood in one fell swoop (tv.msnbc.com)
- Good Morning: Ohio Governor Just Fucked Over the State’s Women (jezebel.com)