Assault on Reproductive Freedom Continues

They call it death by a thousand cuts. The assault on reproductive freedom continues, at the state government level, and unfortunately, it is not just about whether a woman should have the freedom to get an abortion.

Indiana has enacted a new law that cuts off federal money to Planned Parenthood in the state, although as we all know, that money does not go to pay for abortions. Instead, it pays for medical exams and treatment for women who can’t pay for these things. If you have ever been prescribed birth control, you know you cannot have the prescription without the exam, and if the exam comes back abnormal the doctor generally still won’t give you the prescription until the abnormal test result is checked out and taken care of – all very expensive if you don’t have insurance.

The Indiana law has an exception for hospitals, so this law is very specifically targeted at Planned Parenthood. That organization challenged the law in court, but U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt allowed the cuts to go into effect immediately, denying the request for a stay.

The new law also bans abortions after 20 weeks, 4 weeks earlier than the previous law. It is thought that Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas are likely to quickly follow Indiana’s lead.

Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood Indiana, said:

The court’s ruling today means that 9,300 Medicaid patients at our 28 locations have lost services from their preferred provider.

Over 30 anti-abortion laws were enacted just in April.

Abortion banned at or after 20 weeks: Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma.

Required counseling that included inaccurate information about links between abortion and breast cancer risks: North Dakota.

Required counseling women that abortion ends “the Life of a Whole, Separate, Unique, Living Human Being”: Kansas.

Requires an ultrasound before an abortion: Arizona, North Dakota.

Abortion coverage limited in health care exchanges: Idaho, Virginia, Oklahoma.

Amended legislation to further restrict minors’ abortion access: Kansas, North Dakota.

Amended abortion reporting requirements: Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma

I read a story (read the comments at the salon.com story with caution) recently about a woman who experienced a placental abruption, and was bleeding out at a hospital where the doctor refused to perform an “abortion” although the fetus was either dead or not able to be saved, and the woman was dying. There is some confusion in the comments over whether the problem was no one else knowing how to perform the procedure, or whether ordinary medical procedures used to care for women after natural miscarriages just weren’t applied. In any case, another line of attack is the education of doctors: if they believe it is okay to let women die in an emergency room rather than refuse to hurry the dying of a non viable fetus or remove a dead one, if, as one medical doctor states, medical schools don’t talk about applying the procedures to these situations because they are afraid and the first time the idea occurs is in the emergency, and if the government limits funding for medical schools on the basis of whether they train doctors to perform abortions.

From the woman herself:

You shouldn’t need to know the details of why a woman aborts to trust her to make the best decision for herself.

Comments

  1. sbg says

    Seriously, Minnesota used to be such a cool state. I am dismayed.

    Horrified, actually, and not just about MN, at how quickly and awfully we’re regressing.

  2. says

    Shit like this is why I don’t call myself pro-life. I don’t like abortion, but it’s common sense to “abort” a dead fetus to save the life of the mother. Or to “abort” a living fetus if it is threatening the life of the mother. I go to Planned Parenthood, walking past pro-life protestors, because they can help me with my PCOS (a condition that threatens fertility, among other complications) and my only other option as “too poor for health insurance, too rich for Medicaid” is the religious clinic at which I have to lie about my sexual orientation and sexual status.

    I’m “pro-life” in the sense that I want more life, for everyone, including the already born. People like this are in such a fucking rush to make sure every single fetus gets every shadow of a chance, whether it needs it or not, that they don’t see (willfully ignorant, I’m sure) how this screws everyone else. Almost 10,000 Medicaid patients lost necessary medical aid because of the possibility that 3% of them might choose abortion. Where I’m from, punishing 97% for the actions of 3% is called a police state, or just plain wrong.

  3. says

    When are these terribly concerned people going to suggest that we do something to men who are fathering unwanted kids? Hmmmmm?

    Note to world: if you belong to a group that worships a man they claim was a virgin until he died in his thirties, and you don’t advocate restricting MALE sexuality from producing unwanted babies, you are not a real Christian, but rather a misogynistic asshole using Christianity to make yourself look sociable. Fuck off. When you consider the frequency of men raping women and men impregnating girls they molest, men are more than half the problem. If you want to restrict abortion rights and put guys in jail (or something) for fathering unwanted kids, then I will take you seriously. Maybe. I would still be troubled by wondering who you think is going to take care of all those unwanted kids the way they need to be taken care of.

    That said, this is really stupid for a number of other reasons, too. I can’t believe anyone is so incapable of rational thought that they want to prevent even virgins from getting care for PCOS and similar conditions (maybe the BC people need to “remarket” BC meds as “PCOS meds” – that sort of thing works on stupid people), so I tend to assume they just salivate at the idea of women dying.

  4. Raeka says

    As someone said in the comments of the PZ site: I can’t even be angry anymore, I’m just tired.

    But man, my resolve to get involved in politics –grassroots campaign, local presidential campaign, whatever– as soon as I graduate college just gets stronger every day.

  5. Dani says

    These are the kind of people that I can’t stand, the kind of people that, for whatever reason (a political boost, a way to make them seem more “religious”, etc) make a big deal about “saving the unborn children”…and then don’t give a crap about them once they *are* born. They turn women into breeding stock and/or whores whose lives have no value, which leads them to be able to pull this kind of garbage without a second thought. They don’t actually care about life, they just care about making themselves look good.

    I’m absolutely horrified by that woman’s story. Horrified. Especially by this paragraph:

    “Everyone knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable, that it couldn’t be viable given the amount of blood I was losing, but it still took hours for anyone at the hospital to do anything. The doctor on call didn’t do abortions. At all. Ever. In fact, no one on call that night did. Meanwhile, an ignorant batch of medical students had gathered to study me — one actually showed me the ultrasound of our dying child while asking me if it was a planned pregnancy. Several wanted to examine me while I lay there bleeding and in pain. No one gave me anything for the pain or even respected my request to close the door even though I was on the labor and delivery floor listening to other women have healthy babies as the baby I had been trying to save died in my womb.”

    Awful.

  6. says

    Dani: These are the kind of people that I can’t stand, the kind of people that, for whatever reason (a political boost, a way to make them seem more “religious”, etc) make a big deal about “saving the unborn children”…and then don’t give a crap about them once they *are* born. They turn women into breeding stock and/or whores whose lives have no value, which leads them to be able to pull this kind of garbage without a second thought. They don’t actually care about life, they just care about making themselves look good.

    Yes, this.

  7. Sally says

    The point is of course that members of the ruling class will always be able to control their own fertility, whether this means having access to contraception or obtaining abortions. What they don’t want is for the underclasses to have the same rights — if they did whence would come the next generation of disposable bodies to serve as factory- or cannon-fodder

    Women (and men who wish to be considered worthy of the name ‘human being’) should be willing to fight for nothing less than the following ten-point program:
    1. Abolition of abortion laws; each woman must be free to make her own decisions.
    2. Free abortions, as part of demand for free quality medical care for everybody, so poor women will have the same freedom of choice as middle-class women.
    3. Freely available birth control devices and information.
    4. Free full-time child-care facilities for all children, the expenses to be borne by the employer or the State. Free pre-natal, maternity and post-natal care with no loss in pay for time off.
    5. Establishment of free voluntary cafeterias in the factories and other places of work. Socialization of domestic duties.
    6. Divorce at the request of either partner. Abolition of alimony. Expenses for children to be paid by the State.
    7. Lower the legal age of adulthood to 16. State stipend for schooling or training for any child who wishes to leave home. Free education for all children, with housing, food and stipend. No loco parentis. Student-teacher-worker control of all schools and colleges.
    8. Full and equal pay for equal work.
    9. Equal access to all job categories. Shorter work week with no loss in pay (“30 for 40”) to eliminate unemployment at the capitalists’ expense.
    10. An end to all forms of discrimination — legal, political, social and cultural.

  8. Patrick McGraw says

    Sally,

    But that’s Socialism! And we all know that Socialism is bad in any form! That’s why we need to privatize everything, including law enforcement and fire departments, like back in the good old days of the 19th century!

    /sarcasm

    I actually had an asshat insisting to my face the “company towns” were a good thing, and the reason they had a bad rap was because of Roosevelt’s “attempts at utopianism” in the 30s.

  9. says

    Sally,

    While I agree with most of your points, I do want to argue in favor of alimony in point 6. Alimony is protection for stay-at-home partners and parents. My mother and many people like her gave up their opportunities for workplace careers to stay home and take care of the children and the house. That is a full time job, often times more work than a workplace career. In theory it’s a partnership worked out between both parties in which one person assumes the other’s half of income earning and the other assumes the first’s half of domestic work. It’s only fair to split the money equally, since the workplace worker would not have been able to earn that much without the support of their stay-at-home partner.

    Divorce leaves many stay-at-home partners stranded. They have sacrificed their opportunities to advance in other careers in exchange for working this long in the homemaker career (rather like an engineer sacrifices their opportunity to advance as an attorney or an architect). Alimony, then, is the continuation of the social contract previously agreed upon by both parties when they entered into marriage. It protects stay-at-home partners from being screwed over by workplace partners who took advantage of their labor but don’t want to acknowledge the benefit it afforded them.

    The devaluation of domestic work bothers me both as an equalist and as a feminist. “Equal pay for equal work” is a great concept, but not when it dismisses the value of certain kinds of labor. Why should the workplace worker’s labor be valued over the homemaker’s labor? Knowing that most stay-at-home partners are women (an overwhelmingly majority) only makes the issue worse and adds undeniable sexism to the “no alimony” argument. Taking compensation away from a profession staffed mainly by women is going to harm women in unequal proportions.

  10. says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    YES, THIS. Strongly seconded. Alimony is extremely necessary, in the current system, for the reasons Sylvia mentioned, plus: abuse. Alimony helps enable abused spouses to get out regardless of whether they can fend for themselves in the work place or find another source of marital-style support. And yes, most abusers will withhold alimony and jerk them around to continue the abuse, but fortunately the law is – for once – on the abused party’s side in this. Otherwise, the only choice you’re leaving these people is to try to find someone else willing to marry them and pay their way, and this is virtually impossible for a lot of people, and highly undesirable for many. Honestly, and maybe I’m being harsh, but I can’t even imagine why you’d be arguing to abolish it, unless you just don’t understand the purpose of it.

    We will actually never HAVE equal pay for equal work until we start thinking of the labor provided by at-home domestic partners as a real job. Instead of being considered an interruption in one’s work experience, it should be considered management (lots of juggling, administration, ability to self-educate to adapt to changes in the workflow, etc.). A successful homemaker would be fully qualified for some management jobs, so this valuable experience should appear proudly on resumes and be WELCOMED by employers looking for management material. I am absolutely 100% serious.

    Then maybe we could talk about abolishing alimony, because then a person would have a viable choice other than “stick with current asshole, or try to find someone else who will ‘keep’ me.”

    And don’t anyone come back with the argument that women should be seeking education and NOT staying at home these days. That’s privileged bullshit. College is ridiculously overpriced, but it’s increasingly hard to find decent paying jobs without a degree, and day care is often the same cost as what one partner’s salary would be, and therefore it makes sense for somebody to stay home. Instead of taking those sensible options from people, we just need to start looking at work as work, whether it’s paid or not.

  11. Sally says

    I fully understand that this programme cannot be realized [i]within the current socio-economic paradigm.[/i] It is meant to be a series of transitional demands toward which I for one am prepared to work as part of an overall strategy to transform society from a system based on greed to one based on need, i.e., from capitalism to socialism (as Patrick McGraw rightly divined).

    On the question of Alimony, I should probably have employed different punctuation — the “expenses for children (and, yes, I should probably have included “…and non-working partners”) to be paid by the State” will, in my schema, [b]follow on from[/b] the abolition of Alimony.

    And no-one is asking [i]all[/i]women to shift into paid employment outside the home — at least [b]I’m[/b] not! As an “equalist and a feminist” but also as a socialist, I’m trying to give other women the [b]choices[/b] that I have been lucky enough to enjoy. A person who [i]chooses[/i] to involve themselves in domestic work must be free to do so — such an idea [i]inevitably[/i] requires that such work be assigned a monetary value, and indeed such a process follows from the ‘socialization of domestic duties,’ mentioned in point 5 .

  12. Shaun says

    Is the concept of alimony applicable to partners without children? I’ve never had a live-in romantic relationship, but I’ve always managed to do all my own housework AND go to work, so I find it kind of hard to believe that two people couldn’t manage to do housework even more efficiently and easily than one.

  13. says

    Sally,

    Mmm. You might be able to make that work in another framework, since that’s what you’re saying. I can’t visualize it, but then I’m still working to reform this framework. :)

    Shaun,

    Legally, alimony is still granted in cases without children.

    As for the justification of it, it’s one of those things that can vary greatly based on socioeconomic status. For many middle and upper class families, the non-working partner functions as a personal assistant, organizing their social schedule and packing their bags for out of town trips. They handle the other’s half of the household chores, which is less without children but could be a significant amount depending on how expensive the house is.

    They’re available for work that must be done during the work day, like waiting for the plumber and taking the car in for an oil change, thus enabling the working partner not to take sick time for those things. If the working partner’s career requires a move, the stay-at-home partner can move because they don’t have obligations outside the family. Entertaining can be necessary for advancement in some careers, which the stay-at-home partner is responsible for. Networking with the other stay-at-home partners can also boost the workplace workers’ careers.

    Even without children, stay-at-home partners put in significant amounts of time and energy, which enables their workplace partners to go further and earn more than they could without that support. Additionally, they are not putting time into careers outside the home, which makes them available for their partners. This sacrifice is part of what alimony compensates for as well.

  14. says

    Sally,

    I wasn’t saying YOU were suggesting all women should get educations and work outside the home – I was merely anticipating someone else would, since a lot of “feminists” still think that way, unfortunately. :)

    Thanks for clearing up what you meant.

    Shaun,

    There are several kinds of alimony. The one most of us think of first is in futuro – permanent payments for the life of the spouse. In most US states, that alimony is typically granted only in marriages of 10 or more years, where the non-employed spouse lacks both the education and work experience to get much better than minimum wage (assuming the couple enjoyed a pricier lifestyle than minimum wage provides). Rehabilitative alimony is a schedule of payments that end after a few years, designed to help a spouse with some education or a shorter period of unemployment get back onto a career track that will eventually keep her/him at the same lifestyle s/he enjoyed during the marriage. The existence of children has absolutely nothing to do with it – kids get child support, and that’s a whole separate aspect of the divorce.

    The reason I disagree with Sally’s proposal to have the state pay for alimony and child support is that such a system would REWARD people abusing marriage as a way to support their career goals until they’re achieved, then trashing said marriage and skipping merrily away without any repercussions. Such irresponsible behavior should not be rewarded by the state.

  15. Patrick McGraw says

    Short version of a longer and confused post regarding socialism and other political, religious, philosophical, or other beliefs and ideas:

    Has anyone here NOT had this conversation?

    Jackasses A and B: “All members of group X believe Y.”
    You: “I’m a member of group X, and I don’t believe Y. I believe Z.”
    Jackass A: “No, all members of group X believe Y. Therefore, you are lying and are not really a member of group X.”
    Jackass B: “No, all members of group X believe Y. Therefore, you are lying and really believe Y.”

  16. says

    Patrick McGraw,

    Gawd, yes.

    And then you have Jackass C: “Well, most Xers believe Y, so you’re an anomaly.”
    Me: “Can you name any Xers who believe Y?”
    Jackass C: “I saw a member of group not-X talking about it.”
    Me: “But have you ever actually seen an Xer say that?”
    Jackass C: “Well, this other not-Xer says…”

  17. SunlessNick says

    I tend to assume they just salivate at the idea of women dying.

    It’s hard to reach any other conclusion from the facts.

  18. says

    Planned Parenthood also provides HIV tests and other tests that have nothing to do with birth control.

    I have donated to Planned Parenthood this year and will continue to do so. It is beyond me why some think that people taking charge of their lives and being responsible is anti-American. There are few other options for low income adults. The money going to Planned Parenthood wasn’t going to abortion in the first place; the legislation de-funded other services. It’s upsetting and depressing.

  19. says

    aerin: It is beyond me why some think that people taking charge of their lives and being responsible is anti-American. There are few other options for low income adults.

    I’ve been thinking lately about how the upper classes have had access to birth control and abortion since long before most people even realize they existed, but poor people are supposed to just breed like rabbits. I’m wondering how much this supports the order in which a carefully defined group of the top 1-5% live it up at the expense of labor performed by the entire rest of humanity. In that scenario, the top class would suffer if it overpopulated, but you can never have too many folks in the lower classes… so long as they don’t come for your heads, of course.

  20. says

    As someone said up in the comments, quoting another, I can’t even be mad anymore. I’m just so tired. I live in New Zealand now (I grew up in the states – first 28 years of my life), and I’ve been watching this whole thing unfold in the states, cut by cut. It’s depressing. It’s scary.

    I blog. I Facebooks articles. I think maybe more women will wake the F@#$ up and rise up en masse and DO something. Do something big. If I put it right out there in front of their faces, and maybe it can’t be ignored? But I don’t see anything happening except bit by bit erosion. And, I keep thinking someday it’ll be too late – but for an increasing number of girls and women, it already is. Is anybody DOING anything? And, I despair. Not much I can do from NZ but write about it.

    It’s not like my new home is in danger of this. Which, I’m glad of, frankly. But watching my home go down like this from afar. It’s not fun.

  21. Sally says

    Jennifer Kesler: I’ve been thinking lately about how the upper classes have had access to birth control and abortion since long before most people even realize they existed, but poor people are supposed to just breed like rabbits. I’m wondering how much this supports the order in which a carefully defined group of the top 1-5% live it up at the expense of labor performed by the entire rest of humanity. In that scenario, the top class would suffer if it overpopulated, but you can never have too many folks in the lower classes… so long as they don’t come for your heads, of course.

    As I have said elsewhere, the ruling class and the wealthy will always be able to terminate a pregnancy, while using legislation, “inspired by god,” (who else?) as a whip to deny the same right to everyone else.

    After all, if they poor didn’t breed, where would the ruling classes get their next lot of slaves/peasants/factory-workers and cannon-fodder?

    It really is that simple.

    eviltwit:
    p.s. 2: @Sally – i hope you don’t mind if I quote you on a future blog post.I like your *points*.

    I’m honoured … please feel free!

    Jennifer Kesler:
    Sally,

    I wasn’t saying YOU were suggesting all women should get educations and work outside the home – I was merely anticipating someone else would, since a lot of “feminists” still think that way, unfortunately.

    Thanks for clearing up what you meant.

    The reason I disagree with Sally’s proposal to have the state pay for alimony and child support is that such a system would REWARD people abusing marriage as a way to support their career goals until they’re achieved, then trashing said marriage and skipping merrily away without any repercussions. Such irresponsible behavior should not be rewarded by the state.

    It is indeed *totally* irresponsible behaviour. But what if one party *does* default? Is the State to be a teacher of ‘good’ behaviour and a punisher of ‘bad,’ but not a sustainer of its citizens? I think that this is a peculiar feature of US socio-economic ideology that is alien to those of us not born there.

    Patrick McGraw:
    Short version of a longer and confused post regarding socialism and other political, religious, philosophical, or other beliefs and ideas:

    Has anyone here NOT had this conversation?

    Indeed, sometimes it even seems to crop up among the eminences grises in this forum.

  22. says

    Sally: But what if one party *does* default? Is the State to be a teacher of ‘good’ behaviour and a punisher of ‘bad,’ but not a sustainer of its citizens? I think that this is a peculiar feature of US socio-economic ideology that is alien to those of us not born there.

    I think you’re actually misunderstanding US law. The state doesn’t punish anyone for anything – divorce is an entirely civil matter between individuals, not a criminal issue between the state and an individual. US law merely grants remedies for individuals to seek when they feel they’ve been wronged by another individual. It’s a lot like contract law, actually – if Google sues Microsoft for allegedly stealing their patent, that’s not the “state” punishing anybody. The civil courts were originally conceived as a way for individuals to settle disputes without violence and other measures that create civil unrest. And punishment is really not the right term, as there are absolutely NO punitive damages awarded in divorce ever – no matter the abuse, cheating or whatever one party has put the other through.

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