Don’t Mess with Us Lefty Women in TexasPosted: March 7, 2011
I included a brief link on this story in the Monday reads, but it got buried at the end and I thought this deserved it’s own spot on the frontpage anyway.
Some fun stuff went on here in Texas last Thursday in the debate over the sonogram-before-you-exercise-your-civil-rights law.
Furious at the sexist paternalism and anti-choice nuttery behind this bill—but unable to do anything to stop it—pro-choice Texas legislators instead decided to engage in a bit of performance art to draw attention to the hostility towards women and short-sightedness inherent in these ultrasound bills that condescendingly masquerade as caring.
Ah, some of that “Feminists Behaving Badly” spirit I wrote about in December is making an appearance as the war on women continues unabated! It’s about time.
Houston state representative Harold Dutton got the most coverage for repeatedly making the point that “pro-lifers” drop all pretense of caring about life the second it can’t be used to punish sexually active women. In rapid order, he introduced three amendments that were tabled by the majority, who really didn’t want to address the issue of the wellbeing of actual children when potential children matter so much more to them. All three amendments addressed what should happen if a woman looks at a sonogram and decides not to have abortion.
Guess what the first, second, and third amendments were. I bet a lot of you could! We’ve got a running commentary in the comments suggesting this sort of thing all the time:
The first amendment would have required the state to pay for the child’s college tuition, the second required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age 18, and the third required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age six.
Now, of course these amendments were blocked, but Dutton made the point we all know so well. The rightwing assault on women’s rights has nothing to do with protecting the life of children.
There were more amendments in addition to Dutton’s, and they just get more clever. Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio offered up an amendment that would require abortion clinics to give medically accurate advice about contraception (which they already do). Of course, that amendment too was tabled. Castro also added amendments that called for the state to a) expedite the Medicaid application process for women who get sonograms and b) protect abortion patients from stalking, harassment, and violence. Neither passed, of course.
And, here was the amendment from Rep. Marisa Marquez of El Paso:
Sec.A171.057.AAMANDATORY VASECTOMY. On an application under Section 171.056, a court shall order a man to undergo a vasectomy if it is shown that:
(1) the man is the father of the pregnant woman’s child outside of marriage; and
(2) previous to the date of application, the man was a father to two or more other children by two or more other women outside of marriage.
In other words, the Personal Responsibility for Sexually Active Men Amendment!
I don’t even have to tell you what happened to that one.
As you may have heard by now and probably suspected anyway, the draconian forced sonogram (i.e. forced pregnancy!) law passed the Texas House, and it did so naturally without any of these amendments.
But, it’s clear that the so-called “Culture of Life” is a promiscuous emperor who’s not wearing any clothes and doesn’t care about zygotes, blastocysts, embryos, or fetuses once they’re born or about preventing unwanted pregnancies or even helping poor women pay for the freaking sonogram. Nor about the safety of the poor deluded damsels in distress they believe have been brainwashed into having abortions. And, the pantsless deadbeat babydaddy emperor certainly doesn’t want to see any forced vasectomies.
Just this morning I ran across this doozy in a roundup of headlines at the Austin American Statesman:
New York Times columnist Gail Collins recently said Texas “ranks third in teen pregnancies… and it is No. 1 in repeat teen pregnancies.” That statement is Mostly True, according to PolitiFact Texas.
Governor Goodhair (miss Molly Ivins along with Ann) fasttracked this ridiculous sonogram bill, declaring an “emergency” status for it, but if the Texas theocratic equivalent of the Taliban really wants to focus on a pregnancy-related emergency, perhaps they should look at the fact that Texas is tops in teen pregnancy–once again making our state the national buffoon of rankings. Their abstinence-only, forced pregnancy agenda looks like an even bigger joke when considered in this light.
Then again, teen pregnancy seems to be something they *want* to be tops in. For some reason which makes no logical sense, the Huckabees and the Palins find more fault with the pregnancies of financially independent women like Natalie Portman or the fictional Murphy Brown while they applaud the fictional Junos.
Anyhow, the lead story at that Statesman roundup is about Perry appearing with Grover Norquist tomorrow. More anti-tax rhetoric in store, woohoo.
See for the rightwing, we’re all subhuman and corporations and clumps of red whatnot are “people” — except for when it comes time for “personal” responsibility. Then suddenly, those of us, adult and children, who are living and breathing suddenly are “people” with “responsibilities.”
The right talks about our budget like it’s a family affair, which it’s not as Kat so expertly explained in her last post, but when it comes time for even the forced sonogram that they’ve declared an “emergency” for, well, it’s not so family-ish anymore, it doesn’t take any kind of village.
This is the oligarchy’s distraction from passing any kind of meaningful economic policy. That in itself is a devastating cost to all of us, but added onto that is the fact that this distraction is being born on the backs of women, their civil rights, and their families.
Just take a look at this story about a Nebraska family — Her baby wasn’t expected to live, but Nebraska law banned abortion:
There was less than a 10 percent chance their child would have a heartbeat and be able to breathe on its own. There was an even smaller chance – estimated at 2 percent – that the baby would ultimately be able to perform the most basic functions on its own, such as eating.
Robb and Danielle, left alone in an exam room, held each other and discussed what to do. They just couldn’t see the logic in exhausting painful, expensive medical procedures after being told they had almost no chance to save their baby’s life.
They decided: There are worse things than death.
“So (the perinatologist) came in, and we said we’d just like to put an end to this nightmare and can you help us. She said, no, she can’t,” Danielle said.
The perinatologist said Nebraska’s abortion law, which had been in effect less than two months, would not allow Danielle to terminate her pregnancy because her baby still had a heartbeat and because her own life was not immediately jeopardized.
The couple went home to wait, brokenhearted. They acknowledge they could probably have gone to another state to terminate the pregnancy. Danielle said she felt intense stress and wasn’t strong enough emotionally to deal with an unfamiliar place and doctors she hadn’t met.
Eight days later, Danielle went into contractions, and baby Elizabeth was born to her 15-minute life.
Legislating pregnancy is inhumane. Rights should not be up for public policy debate.
“This isn’t culture. This isn’t custom. This is criminal.” –Hillary
Don’t mess with lefty hearts and minds across this country. The liberal tendencies of the electorate are going to come roaring out with this kind of overreach. Pretty soon we’ll have feminists and socialists behaving badly all over the place. Not, because we’re all extremists, but because the political dialogue in this country has moved so far to the right, that the radical notions of freedom, equality, and the government needing to leave us alone so long as we’re not infringing on everyone’s rights will be seen as very far left notions.