The right wing--the Neanderthal part--of the Republican Party continues its war against women. The latest focus of this attack has been women’s reproductive rights and, very specifically, women’s rights to contraception and to abortions.
There are currently eight states whose legislatures require an abdominal ultrasound procedure before any abortion. The list isn’t pretty: Alabama; Arizona; Florida; Kansas; Louisiana; Mississippi, Texas and Virginia. Virginia is the latest state to join the Men-controlling-Women Club. The Virginia legislature has moved away from the more invasive transvaginal ultrasound after an aghast media spread the word about what was about to be passed. Virginia’s politically ambitious Governor Bob McDonnell saw the horrid, graphic, nationwide attention the bill was getting and quickly helped to fashion a new bill with only the external abdominal procedure.
Two additional states, North Carolina and Oklahoma, have passed similar bills which are currently unenforceable because the laws are being challenged in court. Thus, ten of our fifty states (20%) have gone down this anti-women road with some adding little flavors of their own. For example, Texas now mandates that the ultrasound technician display the ultrasound screen to the female patient and he/she describe the fetus to her before the abortion can be performed.[Here]
(I have a question: who invents these torturous steps? You can’t tell me that busy state male legislators spend their time sitting around in committees, figuring how to torture women who wish to abort a pregnancy. Most men have never heard of ultrasound and if they ever actually saw such a picture, most would faint or throw up.)
And where did all this focus on ultra-sound come from? According to the Guttmacher Institute, “since routine ultra-sound is not considered medically necessary as a component of first-trimester abortion, the requirement appears to be a veiled attempt to personify the fetus and dissuade a woman from obtaining an abortion.” [Here] Guttmacher adds another chilling fact that ultrasound can add significantly to the cost of the entire medical procedure, thus adding another discouraging burden to poor women.
And how does Roe v. Wade(1973) figure in all of this? Yes, the Supreme Court has decided that a woman’s right to privacy includes the right to have an abortion. However, the anti-abortion folks have been chipping away at Roe with cases such as City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health(1983), in which the Court has allowed states to pass mild restrictions on abortions if they are not “undue.” [Here]
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate's GOP has blocked President Obama’s judicial nominees. They have managed to jam up the lower courts with one out of every ten lower courts throughout the country standing empty. The Senate Democratic leadership is currently attempting to push the waiting 18 nominations to a vote. These include 7 women and 8 people of color. [Here]
(By the way, if Roe can be picked at and eroded, why not Citizens United?)