Fighting Crazy With Crazy
It's been just over a year since conservatives took power over state legislatures and governor's mansions in the "red wave" of 2010.
And without missing a beat, the new small-government-enthused legislatures started focusing on eminently important legislation, like passing "personhood laws" or other outrageous attempts to make it harder for women to receive abortions.
Virginia passed a law requiring any women seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound and be given the option to see the fetus and listen to a heartbeat. (Note that the legislature isn't offering to fund this mandatory and costly procedure.)
In a mark of protest, Virigina State Senator Janet Howell unsuccessfully introduced an amendment to the bill that would require men to undergo equally invasive and expensive rectal exams before being able to obtain a prescription for erectile dysfunction.
"We need some gender equity here," Howell told the HuffingtonPost. "The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?"
Oklahoma is currently pushing a "personhood" bill through their state legislature that would consider a fertilized egg a full-blown human with all rights and protections the second the sperm and egg meet. Despite similar movements being rejected by voters in Colorado and Mississippi, the amendment creates a dangerous precedent that would immediately outlaw most hormonal birth control pills (as well as miscarriages).
Once again in an act of protest, Oklahoma Senator Constance Johnson introduced an amendment to the bill declaring "any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."
"My amendment seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women," wrote Johnson in an open letter published in the Guardian. "I am increasingly offended by state law trends that solely focus on the female's role in the reproductive process. With Oklahoma's new, never-before-experienced Republican majority, we are seeing enactment of more and more measures that adversely affect women and their rights to access safe medical procedures when making reproductive healthcare decisions."
These incredibly patronizing and parochial laws deny women access to legal and constitutionally protected medical procedures, and continue to take away a woman's ability to make choices about her own body. If legislators are so eager to prevent abortion, perhaps they should sign on to the Affordable Care Act and spread access to affordable and effective birth control.