It seems as though Ohio started the landslide of abortion-related legislation, many of which are linked to restricting a woman’s choice.
Kentucky’s new Republican House majority took the first step on Thursday towards pushing his pro-life position. The new bill, which passed 83-12, will require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound- a physician or qualified technician must perform an ultrasound and position the screen so the woman may view the images, and are required to describe what the images show (i.e. the size of fetus, development of organs, appendages, etc.). Sponsors say the bill will better protect the health of women and provide materials necessary for them to make informed choices.
Someone call the fire department, because there are a bunch of pants on fire.
This bill does nothing but shame and attempt to scare women seeking abortions. There are 25 states that have laws regarding ultrasounds and abortions, but only three states require medical staff to display and describe the images according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group for health issues. This was passed alongside a measure that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, despite the fact that fewer than 1% of abortions occur after 20 weeks. Most of these are a result of doctors finding serious birth and hereditary defects that are undetectable in earlier screenings, and it’s often a gut-wrenching decision to have this late-term abortion. Republicans are taking advantage of the public’s ignorance about the procedure in order to weaken abortion rights overall.
Of course, it could just be ignorance all around.
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers told reporters that women relinquished their reproductive “choice” by getting pregnant in the first place. Stivers said that, “A woman had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not conceive. But once conception starts, there becomes another life involved. And the legislature has its ability to control how that life may proceed or how it would be terminated.”
Hear that ladies? Don’t worry about spending money on birth control. You can just choose whether or not you conceive! It’s that easy. If you’re struggling with fertility, you’re just not choosing enough. His condom broke? Your vagina must have chosen to rip that thing open because you’re clearly ready for a baby.
In case that sarcasm wasn’t clear through text...I’m sorry, but are you fucking serious? Does Stivers need a crash course in basic biology? I’ve been told by a friend that his comments could have been referring to the choice to use birth control, but considering that Kentucky sex education teaches abstinence-only programs - no requirements about teaching contraceptives - I highly doubt that’s what Stivers was getting at. Kentucky has previously received $839,352 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, so there’s a real possibility that there are folks who believe that nonsense. Anti-abortion advocates support the 20-week ban by claiming fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of development, but that claim is completely unsupported by scientific evidence. The fact is, fetuses that young almost never survive outside the womb, or live with moderate to severe impairment among the surviving newborns.
In reality, the new law is an attempt to chip away at the rights provided by Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court precedent set in that historic decision protects a woman’s right to have an abortion until a fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks, but the introduction of the many states now passing anti-abortion laws hovering around this timeline is incredibly worrisome. The bill, which does not make exceptions for rape, incest, or irreversible fetal anomalies (an outrage in itself), poses a serious threat because it ignores women’s health needs in individual circumstances.
At what point does describing a fetus help a woman make that decision? Hint: it doesn’t. There is no medical purpose for this action. This is a blatant attempt to make women feel guilty for choosing to abort a fetus, creating an atmosphere where judging her for ending a pregnancy would be normal. Kentucky’s push for these bills is setting a dangerous precedent and creates a serious fear about the GOP’s agenda.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood issued a joint statement to this effect:
“This legislative session measures are being advanced at unprecedented speed. Things are moving so quickly, members of the public and press were unable to obtain copies of the 20-week abortion ban and ultrasound bills before they received a reading and were headed to committee for a vote.”
Unfortunately, this bill is expected to pass quickly, as Gov. Matt Bevin is also pro-life and is predicted to sign.
“The attempt to ban abortions at 20 weeks is cruel, dangerous, and poses a serious threat to women’s health,” Amber Duke, communications director of the ACLU of Kentucky, said in an email. “Legislation like [this] ignores women’s individual circumstances and denies them the dignity to make personal, private decisions. A woman should make decisions about abortion, adoption and pregnancy with those she trusts, not with politicians.”
It’s interesting how the first bill to come out of this governing body is not one that will create jobs, or work to reduce debt. In fact, it will most likely be the opposite. “The effect of passing this type of discriminatory legislation is clear. It will cost the state millions of dollars,” Chris Hartman, the director of the Fairness Campaign stated. A Kentucky LGBTQ advocacy organization is condemning the bill, predicting that the state could face backlash like North Carolina did after it passed similar legislation last year. “If Kentucky lawmakers want to remain focused on improving our commonwealth’s economy, this is exactly the legislation they should avoid,” Hartman pointed out.
How about focusing on improving your constituents’ lives? Working to provide more jobs, lower taxes, or improve the environment? No, that’s right. The most important thing to our GOP is clearly legislating women and their vaginas. When are these Republicans going to get their hands out of our wombs?