A Window into the Political Debate Over Women’s Reproductive Health

Anybody else a little frustrated with what’s been going on in politics for the past several years? Recently, Idaho Lawmaker Vito Barbieri, asked if women can just swallow a camera for a vaginal exam. Ummmmm, Vito, in case you weren’t paying attention in Basic Human Anatomy Class, the vagina is not connected to the stomach or intestines. And last year,  Republican Lawrence Lockman of Maine said, “If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t [in most cases] result in anyone’s death.” Yep, he really said that. And yes, he is someone who has the ability to pass laws that impact our lives and bodies.

When are we going to put a stop to this idiotic politics that threatens the integrity and health of women?

Oh, but he apologized, so it’s ok. And let’s not forget former Representative of Missouri Todd Akin, not understanding basic female anatomy either, who had this to say in regards to pregnancy as a result of rape. “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” Nope, not true dude. And people like this are still in office making laws about the female body.

Let’s check out this now-famous photo from 2012: Below is the group of people appointed for the GOP panel about birth control and women’s health in 2012. Notice how there isn’t a single woman on the panel discussing women’s health? That should be an obvious problem, but surprisingly, it didn’t occur to them to put a single woman on the panel discussing issues that directly relate to women.

BChearing
Photo credit: Think Progress

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that having a buffer zone, an area to protect patients from protestors, around abortion clinics in Massachusetts apparently violates protesters freedom of speech. When a women goes in for an abortion, she often has to walk past a crowd of people berating and humiliating her over a private decision she has made about her own body. Women are frequently in danger, especially if protesters are in close proximity. But now, in Massachusetts where the buffer zone has become almost obsolete, a woman might have to walk past a crowd that looks like this:

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Women are often in danger of being harmed by protesters especially if protesters are in close proximity and if there is no buffer zone. Not to mention the hypocrisy. Gail Collins, author and writer for the NYTimes, pointed out that the supreme court’s decision to allow protesters to stand right next to the clinic entrance where women walk in, is hypocritical.  “…the decision came from people who work in a building where the protesters aren’t allowed within 250 feet of the front door.” So, the decision to allow protesters to berate, humiliate and endanger women at close proximity comes from people who are protected from protesters at a 250 feet distance. 

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Speaking of hypocrisy, if someone is going to call themselves pro-life, wouldn’t you think they’d want to support the living? Although I find George Carlin a little annoying, I have to admit, he stated it well:

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Across the country, politicians and people are trying to get bills passed that would corrode access to abortions services. One such bill in Montana just a few weeks ago was introduced. Brittany Salley-Rains, outreach and education coordinator at Blue Mountain Family Clinic said this about the bill. “Let’s be honest about the intentions of HB 479. This bill is masquerading as a compassionate effort to prevent pain and suffering, when in fact it would create it for women in Montana.”

People are still trying to get personhood bills passed into law; bills that say life begins at fertilization, which would not only outlaw abortion but it could also outlaw birth control, plan b, and have other ramifications. Ted Cruz, the man who is, oh, I don’t know, running for president, is one person who supports personhood amendments, not to mention is against abortion for victims of rape and incest. (Just a side note, he also was one of the main people responsible for the government shutdown in 2013 that cost our economy $24 billion dollars. Thankssss a lot Ted Cruz.) Gail Collins, breaks it down what personhood means. “Personhood is an anti-abortion movement that holds that life begins at conception, giving fertilized eggs all the rights of a human being.”

I don’t think a fertilized egg should ever take precedence over the currently-living woman with human rights of her own. And I don’t think someone has the right to impose their beliefs on another person, especially when it means taking away their bodily rights and forcing them into motherhood. And I’m not alone in my thinking. 54 percent of people under 40 think abortion should be legal.  To be pro-choice doesn’t mean you’re pro-abortion. It means you’re pro-safety net and pro-human rights.

Although I really do get that people who call themselves pro-life are trying to come from a place of compassion, what they end up doing is harming currently living people and children. Like a 13 year old who gets pregnant and cannot support herself or another living thing. What about her life? Ideally, a girl wouldn’t get pregnant in the first place at such a young age if she wasn’t ready, and that’s exactly why we need methods of contraception and progressive sex education which are proven ways to prevent abortion, something most people who are anti-choice are ironically against.

Let’s not forget; abortion is an issue about an already living human being. It is about the woman herself who is already breathing and living and has human rights of her own. Human rights, like the right to make decisions about her own body and life. A woman is not an oven or an incubator. She has rights over her life. As justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously said “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human…” If I could hold a sign in front of protesters who protest abortion, it would say this:

Women’s lives matter. 

Sources:

Baumann, Lisa. “Lawmakers Weigh Bill to Increase Abortion Regulations” March 2015. Web. 2015. http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/lawmakers-weigh-bill-to-increase-abortion-regulations/article_bacd7564-bbc8-50cd-b5f2-26e5210b77ec.html

Chapin, Laura. “A Race to the Bottom on Women’s Rights: Ted Cruz’s 2016 bid epitomizes the GOP’s new abortion extremism” U.S. News. March 2015. Web 2015.  http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/laura-chapin/2015/03/23/ted-cruz-ignites-2016-race-to-the-bottom-on-abortion-and-womens-health 

Collins, Gail. “The Eggs and Us: The Abortion Wars Rage On”. Nytimes. June 2014. Web. March 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/opinion/gail-collins-the-eggs-and-us.html

Johnson, Luke “Shutdown Cost $24 billion, Standard and Poor Says”. Huffington Post. Oct 2013. Web. March 2015 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/16/government-shutdown-cost_n_4110818.html

Lauchman, Samantha. “Republican Lawmaker Apologizes for Saying Men Should be Able to Rape Women if Abortion is Legal”. Feb 2014. Web. March 2015.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/28/lawrence-lockman-rape-_n_4874586.html

Moore, Lori. “Rep. Todd Akin: The Statement and Reaction” Nytimes. Aug. 2012. Web. March 2015 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/us/politics/rep-todd-akin-legitimate-rape-statement-and-reaction.html 

Purple, Matt. “Under 40 Poll: Young People Are Still Pro-Choice” Sept. 2014. Web. 2015. http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/national/under-40-poll-young-people-are-still-pro-choice/nhP5y/#__federated=1

Silverstein, Jason. “Idaho Lawmaker Asks If Women can Swallow Cameras for Gynecology Exams, Question Goes Viral” Feb 2015. Web. March 2015. www.nydailynews.com/news/national/idaho-pol-asks-women-swallow-cameras-gynecology-article-1.2127025

Wittes, Benjamin. “Confirmation Wars: Preserving Inependent Courts in Angry Times” July 2009. Web. March 2015. 

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One thought on “A Window into the Political Debate Over Women’s Reproductive Health

  1. Dear Julia,

    Your blogs are always interesting to me! I like to know what you are writing and your take on the issues. I think I missed your birthday! Blame it on the old aged lady…but I love you and wish you a Happy Happy Year to follow, and somehow will get back to you pretty soon.

    I keep following about the woman on the 20 dollar bill (which I read about first on your blog and now it is everywhere!) Keep it up, dear Julia, all that you do. When you get the chance, please fill me in on your life. I care!

    All is well with me…I went to Seattle last month to see a book-it show and support Myra’s 25th year recognition, and Casey went with me. I forget everything, so maybe already told you this. Plan to go back again to see My’s production of “Little Bee” (a good book) that she adapted and is directing that opens next month.

    Love you, Dear Julia, dama

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