Monday, November 26, 2012

War Against Women and Thanksgiving

So I hope you all had a happy, fulfilling and productive Thanksgiving. I sure did. There may have been some drama, but what holiday is complete without it.

Now there has been a ton of talk in the news about the War on Women and I for one totally think that it’s the truth. Never before have I seen so much propaganda and so many laws making things difficult for women... mainly their vaginas

This past year the United States has seen many laws regarding women’s health care issues. There have been laws on abortion, birth control and covering preventive care. These laws have ranged from making preventative care covered at 100 % and free birth control to forcing women to have transvaginal ultra sounds before getting an abortion. Abortion has been one of the most controversial topics to come up in court house and law cases.
There have been 40 lawsuits and different types of regulations in only 15 states trying to make abortions either illegal or harder for women to have access too.  These laws are coming into play almost 40 years after the U.S Supreme Court’s decision in Roe versus Wade. Roe versus Wade made abortions legal, now it seems most of the laws coming up are trying to reverse this famous case.

In July the House Committee approved the ban on abortions in the District of Columbia if the pregnancy has reached twenty weeks. The bill passed with votes 18 to 14 because of the Republican majority. This bill seemed off because it only targeted the District of Columbia where abortion used to be legal up until the birth of the child. The support for this bill came in the form of medical experts stating that fetuses begin to feel pain after the 20th weeks.  Amendments to the bill to have exceptions in the event of health risks to the mother failed.

Also in July the Center for Reproductive Rights disputed the constitutionality of a law in Mississippi which makes abortion providers have to be certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as have hospital admitting privileges. This will leave no functioning abortion clinics in Mississippi. Which begs the questions, when does it stop being law? Law by definition means a binding or enforceable rule and while it is a normative social practice to guide human behavior, it is not about imposing personal, political or religious beliefs on a race, community, sex or ethnic group. When does it become an attack and going against constitutional protection of a woman’s right to choose? Other normative domains in society are things like culture, religion, etiquette etc…etc… but the law differs from these.

Again, in July of 2012 legislation was put into place in Texas to drop funding of organizations like Planned Parenthood and other facilities that provided abortions. Many clinics had major funding cut and 15 clinics closed. The function of the law is to protect the people, maintain social control and outlines what the government can and cannot do.  That means keeping those who live in the United States healthy and safe, which all these anti abortion laws go against. The clinics that had funding cut and had to close were not abortion only clinics, most gave many other services. Such as mammograms, birth control, STD testing and other low cost, sliding scale and free services. It seems in many ways these law cases and legislation is doing more harm than good.

At the beginning of 2012 Arizona also tried to enforce many anti-abortion laws. This was coincidentally during an election year.  Arizona passed a bill that stops abortion in the 18th week of pregnancy and one that states one cannot sue a doctor if they do not tell the patient that the baby has something wrong with it, information that may convince a woman to have an abortion. The 18th week bill also created a new definition for pregnancy stating that gestation begins the day of a women’s last menstrual period cough cough bull shit This bill violates Supreme Court Rulings already in place. The “wrongful birth, wrongful life” bill also goes against the function of the law to protect citizens, stating that a doctor can withhold information from a patient and cannot be held liable for said information.

The law is supposed to guide people and protect them, it is supposed to separate from church and personal view points.  Many of these new laws and legislation do the exact opposite. Will new definitions of the nature, function and source of law need to be considered? Possibly, hopefully now that the election season is over the law can go back to actually creating rules and regulations that are practical and actually needed by the American people.

Here are some fun articles about the things I discussed here today:

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