When It’s Not Actually about Women’s Health

Supposedly, conservatives believe in limited government. Supposedly, conservatives want to keep government bureaucrats out of the doctor-patient relationship. Supposedly, conservatives think that red tape limits business and gets in the way of free enterprise. Supposedly, conservatives oppose “nanny state” laws that infringe on individual choice. But when it comes to abortion, all of this goes out of the window. When it comes to abortion, conservatives forget all of the things they supposedly believe in and don’t believe in in their rush to use any tactic they can lay their hands on to ban abortion. I’ve been ignoring the news lately because of how depressing it’s been, but today I finally took a look and I thought I’d share some of what I found.

Ohio just passed an anti-abortion bill. What does it include, you ask?

Clinics must have an agreement with a local hospital to transfer patients there in the case of an emergency, but public hospitals are barred from entering into those agreements. Opponents of the restriction say they will be used as an excuse to close clinics that have no way of complying.

Another way the new law is unusual: the director of the state department of health, a political appointee, has the unilateral power to revoke variances given to clinics without a transfer agreement. The director also determines whether transfer agreements are satisfactory.

Emergency rooms have to accept patients no matter where they come from, meaning that there’s no reason to require local abortion clinics to have official transfer agreements. That said, having such an agreement does seem a bit like common sense. The problem is that the issue has become so politicized that getting such an agreement itself has become politicized. What’s to stop a Catholic hospital from refusing such an agreement for religious reasons? And there are plenty of areas where a Catholic hospital is the only one available. What is to stop the pro-life owner of a private hospital from denying such an agreement? But let’s assume for a moment that this measure really is about protecting women’s health (as anti-abortion activists allege): In that case, why bar public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements with local abortion clinics? That makes utterly no sense and makes a mockery of any attempt to claim that these regulations are about protecting women’s health. They’re not. They’re about doing everything possible to make sure that women don’t have access to abortion services.

The Ohio bill will also require abortion providers to attempt to find a heartbeat and to inform the woman if there is one, and slashes Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Then there is North Carolina’s “Faith, Family, and Freedom Protection Act,” which was passed by their house yesterday and their senate today. In addition to banning Sharia Law, this bill would require clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgery centers, require that each clinic have a transfer agreement with a local hospital, and stipulate that a doctor must be in the room for the entire abortion procedure, whether surgical or medical (i.e., the abortion pill). In a move that flies in the face of the Republican party’s rhetoric regarding government regulations on health insurance, the bill also bans a wide swath of health insurance companies from providing coverage for abortion.

So let’s unpack this. First, only one of the state’s clinics meets the standards for ambulatory surgery centers. (An ambulatory surgery center is the same thing as an outpatient surgery center.) For more background, here are some interesting articles. Some abortion clinics are registered as ambulatory surgery centers already; some states view licensed clinics (which generally includes abortion clinics) as the equivalent of ambulatory surgery centers; and some states don’t actually regulate ambulatory surgery centers. First trimester abortions are extremely safe and routine procedures, and many critics of increased regulation argue that abortion is not a surgery, but rather a simple and routine procedure. The sorts of requirements many states place on ambulatory surgery centers don’t actually make sense for the more limited function of abortion clinics. Indeed, dental clinics often perform more invasive and risky procedures than do abortion clinics.

In addition to all this, the clinic where I volunteer only does abortions one day a week. The rest of the week it’s simply a family planning and women’s health clinic. I know what an ambulatory surgery center is first hand—my son had a minor surgery there last year. The entire function of such a clinic is different—it is designed for dozens of surgeries every day with numerous doctors staffing it at all times in company with anesthesiologists and other specialists. This isn’t how an abortion clinic works and there’s no need for it to be how an abortion clinic works. Requiring the entire facility to operate as an ambulatory surgery center just for that one day a week is both highly impractical and extremely unnecessary. Basic regulations to ensure that the clinic is clean and equipped to safely do what it does? Yes. But those regulations need to take into account just what these clinics are and what their actual needs and functions are. In practice, these laws are aimed at shutting down all but the largest and most busy abortion clinics, resulting in a situation where women have to travel hundreds of miles to access simple and routine procedures.

These bills are being pushed by Republicans who would just as soon ban abortion entirely if they could, meaning that their claims to be concerned about women’s health—especially when leading pro-life voices have argued in the face of hard evidence that abortion is never medically necessary—is obviously a ruse. Sometimes these individuals drop the charade enough to admit this with weirdly contradictory rhetoric:

But Dave Welch of the Texas Pastor Council told the panel that abortion rights supporters are trying to protect an industry “whose sole purpose is to take human life.”

“Why should we even question whether they [abortion clinics] should be held to the same standards as other medical facilities?” he asked, saying that it “is inhumane that any society would not protect the life of innocent children who have nobody else to watch over them.”

If there was actual concern about the safety of the clinics, rather than passing a bill that will close down all but one of the state’s abortion clinics—and thus tangibly endangering women’s health in addition to limiting their access to abortion—lawmakers should develop a workable plan for gradually improving the facilities offered by abortion clinics.

Now let’s look at the North Carolina bill’s restrictions on RU486, which a spokeswoman reported comprises 50% of all abortions in the state. Also called the abortion pill, RU486 is administered in two doses, one taken in the presence of a doctor and one taken 24 to 48 hours later while at home. After the second set of pills, the abortion takes up to 24 hours to complete—it’s essentially an induced miscarriage. As written, it appears that North Carolina’s new bill will ban medical abortions—the safest type available—entirely (for a comparison of surgical and medical abortions, see this link). The drugs involved in RU486 can be purchased over the internet, and because of restrictions like these some women in the U.S. are already doing that or, if they live close to the border, crossing into Mexico to buy the drugs. Now, taking the abortion pill without ever seeing a doctor, either to make sure that there is no extra risk of side effects up front or the standard follow-up appointment, is obviously more dangerous than taking it in a clinic. So, once again, these requirements actually do the opposite of improving women’s healthcare.

The abortion provisions inserted in this North Carolina bill at the last minute—meaning yesterday—and without any notification to the public. There is some chance North Carolina’s governor will veto this measure, but if he does, the Republican party holds a majority that will allow it to override this veto.

Finally, there is Texas. The bill working its way through the legislative process there will close 37 of the state’s 42 clinics.

The bill would require abortions, including those induced by drugs, to be performed in so-called ambulatory surgical centers. The regulations for such facilities include specific sizes for rooms and doorways, and additional infrastructure like pipelines for general anesthesia and large sterilization equipment.

. . .

Of the 416 ambulatory surgical centers in Texas, five perform abortions.

Abortion rights advocates say Texas women will be forced to seek dangerous and illegal abortions because they will no longer have ready access to the procedure.

Ambulatory surgical centers cost more to build and operate than abortion clinics, which in turn raises the cost of abortions for patients.

Like North Carolina, if this bill is passed abortion providers will eventually adapt—they won’t have any option. Some clinics will manage to transform themselves into ambulatory surgery centers, and some ambulatory surgery centers that don’t currently offer abortion might possibly be able to be leaned on to begin offering abortion services. But in practical terms, what we will see is abortion clinics closing down and becoming a think of the past as abortions become much more expensive and drastically harder to get, especially in the short term. And not surprisingly, this will all hit poor women the hardest.

And the Texas bill has a lot more than just the ambulatory surgical center requirement. The bill would also require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of each clinic where they perform abortions. Because of this:

The Texas Medical Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology both oppose the bill.

Stacey Wilson, assistant general counsel for the Texas Hospital Association, noted that admitting privileges are not required for any other procedure performed outside a hospital. Because hospitals generally do not perform elective abortions, either for religious or political reasons, they’re unlikely to grant privileges to a doctor for elective abortions, she said.

Wisconsin is on the verge of passing this same admitting privileges requirement. The problem with this requirement is that abortion doctors are generally on the move rather than settled in one place—they perform abortions in one clinic one day of the week, then move on to another clinic the next day, etc., on a rotation. They sometimes serve more than one state, travelling hundreds of miles as part of their job. This isn’t the matter of a local doctor who practices locally having admitting privileges, which makes it complicated. But the real problem is what happens on top of that—the problem is that hospitals are likely to deny abortion doctors admitting privileges not for any practical reason but rather solely for political or religious reasons. This is what happened in Mississippi, when legislators passed a similar law and local hospitals proceeded to deny admitting privileges to the two abortion doctors who serve Mississippi’s last abortion clinic. Again, if the concern was for women’s health, legislators would be seeking to find a way to solve this problem, perhaps by ensuring that hospitals cannot deny admitting privileges for unprofessional reasons. But then, it’s not about women’s health—it’s about using transparent claims of concern for women’s health as a tool to ban abortion. Oh, and there’s also the fact that there are no hospitals within 30 miles of some Texas abortion clinics, meaning that there is literally no way for those clinics to fulfill that requirement whatsoever.

Another point: Both the Texas and the North Carolina bills require that even medical abortions—i.e., ones involving a pill to induce miscarriage—be performed in an ambulatory surgery center. Medical abortions don’t require anything that could be construed as surgery no matter how you view it. Several months ago, Indiana passed a law requiring that clinics offering any form of abortion have the facilities for surgical abortions; as a result, Planned Parenthood’s Lafayette clinic there will almost certainly be forced to stop offering abortion services at all (previously, they only offered medical abortions). These sorts of restrictions clearly have nothing to do with women’s health.

I feel like I’ve said a lot here without really saying anything at all. If anything, I hope I’ve made clear some of the ways Republicans are seeking to eliminate abortion (i.e., through legislating abortion clinics out of existence, not through things like, you know, offering better sex education, working to make the most effective methods of birth control more widely available, or making it more affordable to raise children) and why claims that these measures are all about women’s health ring hollow. I hope, also, that this meandering exploration has shown you just how deep and widespread this problem is. I can only say that the widespread outcry against these measures gives me hope. Perhaps conservatives have overreached, and perhaps, just perhaps, there may be building momentum for support for women’s reproductive rights.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • centaurie

    “In addition to all this, the clinic where I volunteer only does abortions one day a week. The rest of the week it’s simply a family planning and women’s health clinic. I know what an ambulatory surgery center is first hand—my son had a minor surgery there last year. The entire function of such a clinic is different—it is designed for dozens of surgeries every day with numerous doctors staffing it at all times in company with anesthesiologists and other specialists. This isn’t how an abortion clinic works and there’s no need for it to be how an abortion clinic works.”

    I think that part of the problem is that people who have no direct experience with *actual* *good* abortion clinics, probably think more of the Gosnell-clinic. The pro-life part of the media (channels/newspapers/blogs) (in the US at least) isn’t really helping….

    • Miss_Beara

      And those people do not understand that by closing down clinics, more Gosnell-like clinics will pop up. Or maybe they do, but they don’t care. Who knows.

      • Mishellie

        It honestly seems like they believe that Gosnell is what all abortion clinics are like. Every time I try to argue that what he was doing was GROSSLY UNSAFE AND ILLEGAL and what we want is safe and legal abortions… It’s like they just can’t grasp that thought.

      • centaurie

        Also, when we mean “safe & legal” we mean that FOR THE WOMAN. THey only see the fetus….

      • ZeldasCrown

        I always just want to reach through my keyboard and shake them! If Gosnell’s clinic is what legal abortion looks like, then why is he being prosecuted/convicted (I haven’t been following recently, so I don’t recall how far the proceedings have gone yet). If it was representative of legal abortion, wouldn’t his clinic still be open?

      • Lucreza Borgia

        He was convicted on all counts, if I recall correctly.

      • Brian

        The low-level anti-abortion types think that all abortion clinics are like Gosnell’s. The people that run the anti-abortion movements know this isn’t true, but go out of their way to convince their followers it is. And they also know there will be more Gosnells, not less, if abortion is banned, but that’s fine, they WANT more Gosnells. To scare people into donating money, and to punish the evil sinners.

      • onamission5

        But you see, closing down safe, legal clinics allows them to do what they have wanted to do all along and that’s vilify and prosecute abortion providers. That more Gosnell type clinics will pop up is a feature, not a bug. That people seeking abortions will be horribly injured or die, also a feature which allows anti-choicers to paint abortion seekers as victims of predatory [illegal] abortion providers. They know it won’t stop abortion. They don’t want it to. They want to criminalize abortion and penalize those who participate. Abortion providers go to jail, abortion seekers get what they’ve got coming to them for being slutty sluts.

      • KarenJo12

        No, to abortion opponents the women who will die from illegal abortions are filthy whores who got only what they deserved, and who serve as a lesson to the rest of us of what happens if we don’t cater to every idiot whim of our assigned male owners.

      • onamission5

        Yeah that’s kind of what I meant by “what they’ve got coming.”

  • tsara

    Can we make this a thread for discussion of what we can do to help people in those areas?

    EDIT: I just looked at a map, and it turns out that Ohio is relatively close to where I live! I’m within an hour or so on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
    EDIT II: What I mean is, I can maybe do something to help!

    • Lucreza Borgia

      Like the Freedom buses in the 60s?

      • tsara

        I don’t know. I don’t know what would help. :(

    • Olive Markus

      I am so grateful there are people like you in the world.

      I tend to be paralyzed with fear and anger over these situations and am NOT a good activist, even though I want to be.

      If you come up with good ideas, please let as many people know as possible.

    • tsara

      I have contacts in the medical community in southern Ontario and a fair amount of free couch space. If anyone in need of medical care they can’t get in Ohio (or wherever) doesn’t find it too difficult to get to the Niagara/Toronto area, respond here and I’ll see what I can do to help.
      If anyone can suggest anything else, I’m all ears.

      • realinterrobang

        I’m in southwestern Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Detroit. I don’t have crash space, but I do have a bit of spare cash and I’m *really* networked locally. I don’t know how to follow replies on Disqus but interested people can e-mail me at shgstewart at g mail dot com. This is shaping up to be a crisis of “silent tragedy” proportions.

    • tsara

      Things people can do:
      Article possibly worth handing out:

      Here’s an article entitled “Can’t Attend Today’s Rally? How You Can Still Stand With Texas Women,” (it was published on the first). It has a list of pro-choice organizations in Texas that people can support.
      Article entitled “Rick Perry: Ideological Crisis Pregnancy Center Is the Future of the Texas Women’s Health Program.” The Women’s Health Program, according to the article, is specifically and only for not-pregnant women. Why a CPC is the future of a health program directed at not-pregnant women, unfortunately, probably has something to do with the fact that it does not seem to offer actual contraception or health care.
      And here is the website of the above CPC:
      Anyone up to spamming the area around them with and/or handing out flyers for Scarleteen and the pro-choice organizations at the link above?
      (EDIT: obviously only in a ‘legally exercising your freeze peaches’ way. I realize that some places have stricter regulations than others on where you can post things.)

      North Dakota:
      Apparently only has one abortion clinic.

      • Rosa

        this is great research.

    • Rosie

      In my state (Kansas) there are currently three (I think) clinics that offer abortions, and all are located in the Kansas City area in the extreme NE corner of the state. It’s only two hours from my house, but seven or eight hours’ drive from the western parts of the state.

      I don’t know how to do it, or how to properly vet volunteers (to avoid the creeps who might take advantage), but I’d like to organize (or see organized) a sort of couch-surfer arrangement, where volunteers could offer places to sleep and possibly transportation (like the animal-rescue folks do for critters) for women needing abortions.

      • tsara

        I’ll see whether or not I can find a similar existing organization that could help, or at least give you ideas.

      • tsara
      • tsara

        I’m doing this research in between bits of other research at my actual job, so I haven’t come close to scraping the bottom of the barrel yet, but I haven’t found any couch-surfing networks.

        I have a few ideas, though.

        1. For vetting volunteers. You may wind up needing more than one type of volunteer and it may not be necessary to require all of this from all of them, but for (at the very least) those who want to open private residences and/or provide transportation in private vehicles:
        -Full name of volunteer.
        -Full address of residence and/or licence plate of vehicle.
        -type of residence and/or vehicle
        -full name of primary owner of residence and/or vehicle
        -information on what claim the volunteer has on the residence and/or vehicle (are they renting? are they co-owner with an estranged spouse? etc. These types of things can cause legal issues, so.)

        You need this information (and probably the volunteer’s consent, but maybe not. I suggest getting it anyway, just as good practice) for the following: police background checks, driving record checks, verification of residence/vehicle claims, checking out their facebook page, that the vehicle is functional and the residence is up to code, blah, blah.
        For legal liability templates you can probably ask about school liability waivers and vetting for families hosting exchange students or sports teams from out of town.
        I’d also recommend putting together a questionnaire that would, hopefully, catch any red flags (about religion, about politics, about lifestyle) as well as tell you about their living conditions (smokers? cats? vegans?).
        The first thing I’d ask each potential volunteer, though, is how much help they’re willing to give (and you don’t need to hold them to it, necessarily, but it’ll save you from putting in all the effort of doing a background check for someone who’s only willing to do it once.

        2. Women’s shelters. It might be worth it to call up any you can find. Make sure they’re pro-choice, first of all, but they tend to be safe, discreet, and often offer counselling.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        If you do organize it, I’d add my name/house to the list. I live in the North Dallas area- if the Texas bill passes, and it likely will, DFW will be one of the few places that will still have abortion clinics available.

      • tsara

        I’ve spoken to a friend of mine who’s actually set up a charity. She said she’ll write up a brief, adaptable how-to guide, complete with email outlines. She should be finished by Monday. I plan on going over it with her, tweaking anything that I think (based on my research) needs to be tweaked, and then posting something (probably a download link) here on Tuesday or Wednesday.

      • tsara

        My friend, unfortunately, didn’t come through with the thing. I did, however, take notes from the discussion we had, and managed to (roughly) get down the steps:

        1. Write description of what you want to do.
        2. Identify organizations that might be interested in helping you. Three basic categories: legal, financial, and subject-specific informational.
        3. Send preliminary emails to addresses listed on ‘contact us’ pages. Format: i)intro: what you want to do ii)what sort of help you want from that organization iii)conclusion: why you’re worth helping+inquiries for further info.
        4. Buy a map and some pins to stick in it (one colour for service providers, one for volunteer houses? transportation stops?). Identify all relevant facilities, list the services they provide.
        5. Hunt down email addresses of specific members of the organizations you previously contacted — people whose roles seem particularly relevant. Email them. Mention last week’s email, elaborate on what you said there, and talk about what you’ve been working on so far. Mostly just reiterate contents of last email.
        6. phone or visit in person

        I also read an article by a pro-choice person that suggested that abortion funds help organize them. There might be something here that’ll help:

      • Rosie

        Thank you so much for all this information, tsara. I don’t have much experience organizing things, but with everything you’ve said here, and maybe a little help from like-minded local-ish friends, I just might be able to make this go. Thank you!

      • tsara

        Glad I was able to help :)

    • tsara
  • smrnda

    It’s troubling that a bunch of know-nothing ignoramuses get to pass laws dictating what doctors (who have to know something to practice) have to do. Then again, when it comes to women’s health, conservatives just invent their own facts (like you can’t get pregnant from rape) so this isn’t surprising. The medical profession ought to have some weight to fight this type of stuff, though I can’t imagine what they would do.

    • SheilaCrosby

      They also make up their own facts about history (which doesn’t directly affect people) and climate science (which is dangerous for 7,000,000,000 people). And economics. And probably lots of other things. Heck, conservapedia says that “E=mc2 is liberal claptrap”.

      Are they saying that atomic bombs go BANG by some completely different mechanism and it’s pure conincidence that they produce exactly the amount of energy predicted by E=mc2? Or are they saying that atomic bombs don’t go BANG at all?

  • Lucreza Borgia

    You and you’re logic!

    Meanwhile, how many anti-abortion conservatives are OK with midwives doing homebirths without any of these regulations?

    • Seeker

      Some of the Duggar girls have expressed interest in being untrained midwives for each other, and the FLDS often has untrained sister-wives helping each other give birth. If the woman dies from it, the man just goes and finds another one to impregnate.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd


        It’s usually the infant, and not the mother, that dies though. Or is severely wounded. Or suffers permanent brain damage from oxygen deprivation. It’s never the midwife’s fault, though, oh no!

  • Miss_Beara

    Of course it isn’t about women’s health. It is about control. This whole hullabaloo has creepy rape undertones with the whole “your body is not your own” and Perry’s “scream” comment and forced transvaginal ultrasounds. It all comes down to control. If the GOP-ers were this concerned about the economy, jobs, education, health care and the environment, this country would be in a rather good place.

    I have a friend who lives in England and he is absolutely shocked that this is even an issue in the US in the 21st century. I know every country has its own problems, but reproductive rights for women should never been a problem in this country, ever. I am so sick and tired of this assault on women’s health. Millions of children are living in poverty and when people bring this up to forced birthers, they never have anything to say. Control.

    • Mishellie

      Actually, in twitter a lot of them told me that they tried to adopt a child who was unwanted and after several years they have up. To which I called BS. Then they called me every misogynistic name in the book, made death threats, told me they were going to report me to the police because “a child killer like you shouldn’t be on the streets.” Then I deleted my twitter.

      • Beutelratti

        Wow. I’m sorry you had to experience that. For what it’s worth, I really admire all of the American women who stand up for their rights, even if it’s “just” on Twitter. I honestly cannot even begin to imagine what it must feel like to have your right to your own body be legislated into non-existence.

      • Brian

        Yeah, I’m sure they called up the local orphanarium, and they said “Sorry, there’s no more babies left to give to good Christian parents like you, because they all got ABORTED.” That’s a common problem in the US, from what I hear.

  • Saraquill

    It was explained to me that this is small government in the respect that it is small enough to fit in a vagina. (I mean this in sarcasm.)

    • victoria

      I’m really glad I wasn’t drinking something when I read that, because I would have snorted my drink out of my nose.

  • busterggi

    Supposedly conservatives honor the Constitution and founding fathers who wanted separation of church and government but that doesn’t stop them from pushing for theologically based laws.

    • Olive Markus

      Modern conservatives do not believe the founding fathers wanted a separation of church and state. They are truly functioning on the belief that they intended to found a Christian Nation.

  • onamission5

    I haven’t been able to find any information about which abortion clinics in NC have a change of staying open should these sneaky fuckers get their Xenophobia and Racism With a Side of Anti-Choice bill pushed through. Crowdsource halp?

  • Ella Warnock

    Another barrier to abortion providers obtaining hospital privileges is that the Catholic church is buying up/merging with hospitals at a frantic pace. Quite frankly, even though I’m past childbearing age I am still very wary of being a female patient at a Catholic-run hospital. To them, I have even less value than a woman who can still have children.

  • http://fundamentallyopposed.blogspot.com/ Linnea

    My outrage over the bills in Texas has finally exceeded my natural timidity and terror of conflict, so I will be at the Capitol on Monday to protest during the committee hearing. I may even sign up to testify, although if it’s anything like the most recent hearing a couple of days ago, only a handful of the witnesses will be allowed to speak.

    It’s so disheartening because it’s clear that this bill in Texas will pass, and Perry will sign it even though the majority of Texans oppose it. I didn’t vote for these asshats but too many other people did, and now we’re stuck with the inevitable and horrible consequences. And this isn’t the only proposed bill that is related to abortion–another one would greatly complicate the process in place that allows minors to get a judicial bypass (permission from a judge to get an abortion without parental consent). There are some very valid reasons for judicial bypass, including potential for harm to the minor, especially if the pregnancy is the result of abuse or incest. This bill is just as frightening as the omnibus abortion bill and could easily be passed if the public’s and media attention is focused elsewhere.

    • Rosa

      Good for you! I have a friend in Texas who’s been going and she mostly feels amazing because of it (angry, sometimes sad, but the people she’s meeting and the work they’re doing is making her really happy and connected.)

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I am with you in heart and spirit. Tell me what color you’re wearing and I’ll make sure I wear the same!

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      That’s awesome. Good luck getting a speaking spot- I think they cut it off at a few hundred speakers at most, even though thousands signed up to speak.

    • gimpi1

      Perhaps if the majority of Texans oppose it, Governor Perry will finally pay a political price? I thought after the “pray for rain” day and his talk of leaving the union, Texas would reject him, but he won re-election. Does anyone think this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?

    • http://fundamentallyopposed.blogspot.com/ Linnea

      I’m getting excited about Monday now :) My SIL said yesterday that she would bail me out if I get arrested, but I’m not planning to be part of an “unruly mob.”

      I have prepared written testimony to submit to the committee, and everyone who shows up can formally record their support or opposition to the bill. So that’s my plan.

      Oh, I and the other pro-choice folks have been wearing orange and so far have greatly outnumbered the pro-life folks who are wearing blue.

  • Stev84

    So they ban sharia law while basing bills on biblical law. Yeah, no hypocrisy there.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      There’s no difference whatsoever between sharia law and fundamentalist dominionism.

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    Bingo. The goal isn’t to lower the number of abortions OR to make women’s lives better in any way. The goal is to roll back women’s advances in society. That’s it. If Christianists make unapproved sex terrifying enough, we poor stupid heathen sluts might stop having so much of it. We’ll get married, stop screwing around outside of wedlock, and have tons of babies like we’re supposed to. We’ll stop working outside the home and make sandwiches for everybody! Yay! Once you realize that this is the actual goal, then the tactics become *completely* understandable. They aren’t doing a single thing that has been demonstrated time and again to lower abortion rates, but they’re doing plenty to obstruct, shame, and humiliate women seeking full access to reproductive health care.

    You would seriously think the Christianists would know better than to start in on women’s rights this earnestly. Think of all the cultural wars they’ve kicked up in our history–from women’s suffrage to no-fault divorce to gay rights. Every single time, when push came to shove, people eventually said “NO MORE” and pushed back bigtime. At this point, only the most misogynistic MRAs and fundies think women shouldn’t be able to vote; Christians divorce more than anybody pretty much; gay rights are in the bag. Now they’re focusing their laser-like gaze on women’s rights. Are they expecting this one to be the one they win after losing every other fight they’ve started? Are they expecting, after alienating most of the country and losing millions of members for their bigotry against gay people, that abortion’s going to be the battle that wins back hearts and influences the nation to regard them more favorably? It’s just baffling to imagine how they think anything but negative things will happen as a result of their efforts.

    You know, I’m sure, that several big anti-gay organizations more or less gave up on marriage equality a year or two ago, seeing how it had backfired; I’m wondering how long it’ll take for them to realize that reproductive rights is not a battle they want to accelerate now.

    • Sue Blue

      Their major tactic just seem to be to double-down on dumb.

  • http://fundamentallyopposed.blogspot.com/ Linnea

    Here is a great site about the Texas SB1 hearing/protest on Monday the 8th, including info about what to expect if you go AND what you can do to support if you are in Texas but can’t make it to Austin, or even if you are out of state: http://jessicawluther.com/2013/07/05/texas-senate-committee-hearing-for-sb1-monday-july-8-at-10am/

    The pro-life groups are planning to bus in folks from out of state to boost their numbers–and possibly increase the public “support” votes if the clerk does not verify Texas residency. On top of trying to alter the public record of the vote in the last special session, this just shows how desperate they are and that they will even resort to lies and deception to force their beliefs through.

  • Marta L.

    A large part of the problem is that these things are happening state by state, meaning the same fight must be won at least fifty times, and that’s assuming people trying to shut down clinics like this. The transvaginal ultrasound is shocking the first time it comes up, maddening the next 5-6, but after that there is a sense of, we’re still fighting over this?

    And honestly, I have no solution. But it really is disheartening at the end of the day.

    • Rosa

      the Governor of Wisconsin just signed a mandatory ultrasound, 24 hour waiting period, admitting privileges at a local hospital bill. I didn’t even hear about it until afterward and I know a TON of people there. The clinic in Milwaukee will have to shut down if this is enforced.


      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd


        It’s really hard to get your voice heard on this if they keep sneaking it in, because they know that in the sunlight people would be angry and yell at them. Far better to present a fait accompli.


    • tsara

      I’m pretty sure this applies to the transvaginal ultrasound bills:

      “International standards do, however, provide some guidance on the elements that comprise cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.30 Similar to torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, as defined in the CAT, requires evidence of severe pain or suffering.31 In order to constitute degrading treatment, however, it is sufficient to show that the act was aimed at humiliating the victim, regardless of whether severe pain was inflicted.32 While international legal standards do not provide a clear definition of what qualifies as “severe” pain or suffering, some insight has been shed at the regional level.33 Additionally, the CAT Committee has found that there is no need to prove an act was committed for an impermissible purpose in order to establish CIDT,34 and the Special Rapporteur on Torture has asserted that CIDT can be either intentional or negligent and with or without a specific purpose.35″

      From the document available at this page: http://reproductiverights.org/en/document/reproductive-rights-violations-as-torture
      (entitled “Reproductive Rights Violations As Torture And Cruel, Inhuman, Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment: A Critical Human Rights Analysis.”)

  • Marta L.

    I’ve been thinking about this some more, particularly Libby Anne’s comments about Republicans. That’s certainly what I was taught growing up, but I’m not sure it’s true. Republicanism these days is a coalition, and you have at least three groups: military hawks, social conservatives, and libertarians. Libertarians are really the only group interested in small government; the other two will jump on that rhetoric but for practical reasons.

    Since we’re talking about social conservatives… I don’t think they want us to go the anarchist route. They like order. They just want that order to line up with what they think about morality. When they see the democratic government as a lost cause, they will fight for a smaller government, so other groups they do have more control over can step in. But when the government does seem primed to act the way they see fit, they’re all for big government. This isn’t really a contradiction, though it might seem that way at first. It’s more that they see the government and other institutions as tools. When those tools work, they’ll use them; but when they don’t they’ll go looking for another tool.

    None of which makes laws like this any better. I mean, I’m a Christian, but I strongly believe that Christianity should be transforming hearts and minds, not using the laws to force people to act a certain way. (Peter Enns recently went into some interesting Biblical evidence on this point, FYI: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2013/07/is-the-gospel-necessarily-against-empires-like-say-even-america-he-asks-sheepishly-on-the-morning-of-july-4/ ) I hate laws like this with every ounce of my being, and they fact that I consider myself an NC expat has me all but foaming at the mouth over the way my state is trying to ban Islamic law and set up Christian law all in one fell swoop. But I don’t think that makes these social conservatives hypocritical. Because not all conservatives actually stand for small government these days. With this crowd, small government has always been a means rather than an end.

  • Stephanie

    I live in Ohio and the most disturbing part for me is that it was in the state BUDGET. It was not a separate proposed bill, it was hidden inside a financial plan. Grotesque.