I don’t usually get all political-like on this blog. I do pay attention to politics, though, and I pay attention to the constant erosion of rights that’s been happening in this country. It’s pretty horrifying, really. And as a woman I’ve been following the Texas debates over the ridiculously restrictive abortion bill pretty closely, because it’s not just about Texas. Let’s ignore the dirty and underhanded skirting of the rules and laws in Texas regarding parliamentary procedures, and focus only on the bill itself, shall we?
In fact, it’s not about abortion, although the Republicans would REALLY like you to ignore that fact, because screaming “KILLING BABIES” gets them blind support for a bill that effectively enslaves a large population in their state to women’s bodies. No, I’m not being dramatic: let’s review.
First of all, the 20 week ban is a straw-man intended to get the pure reactive response of pro-lifers. I’d wager $100 that said reactions are by people who only saw the Fox News headlines and didn’t bother to read the actual bill. According to the most recent CDC statistics (2008), 91.4% of reported abortions occurred prior to 13 weeks. 91.4%. That means 91.4% of the Texas bill banning abortions after 20 weeks has NOTHING to do with the abortions themselves. If you’ve listened to any of the testimony at all (it’s live-streamed, by the way), you’d hear that most of the less-than-10% of women who have an abortion after they’ve made it halfway through their pregnancy do so for a medically necessary reasons.
Oh Conservative Texas Legislators: Do you REALLY think a woman who’s carried life inside her for 20 weeks would arbitrarily end it? Do you REALLY think a woman should be forced to carry a stillborn corpse to term (which is exactly what would’ve happened for many of the women providing testimony)? More importantly, who exactly give you the right to judge another woman or family for THEIR choices in this life, and decide for another adult what’s best for them and their family?
Are there outliers, women who truly use abortion as birth control? I’m sure there are. There are outliers on both sides. Outliers are OUTLIERS…but this bill focuses on them to distract people from the real issue.
The real issue here is HEALTHCARE for women, and male legislators attempting to control the less-privileged people in their state. Oh, you think I’m avoiding the KILLING BABIES issue? Let’s review.
The Texas abortion bill will, in effect, close many of the affordable health care clinics in Texas. Is that an issue for the well off and/or wealthy women in the state? Nope: they can likely afford to travel to the few remaining clinics if they need to. So in practice, this bill removes not only abortion but family planning and birth control from a population of women unable to take time off of work or travel a few hundred miles to see a doctor.
This is in the wake of two major blows to women owning their own bodies and reproductive cycles: Planned Parenthood getting effectively kicked out of Texas via defunding, and abstinence-only sex education. BOTH of these resources educate women on how their body works and what can be done to prevent pregnancy.
What was the Senate’s response when birth control was brought up in yesterday’s debate? “Use condoms.”
Hmm. Aren’t condoms a MALE BIRTH CONTROL? So…what Texas Conservatives are really saying is: you’re a slut if you have sex before marriage and deserve what you get, because we don’t believe you have the right to control your own health care: it’s up to the MAN (via a condom) to choose whether you get pregnant or now.
Birth control freed women from the patriarchal control of their bodies through pregnancy…and Conservative legislators in this country have been trying desperately to get the “little woman” back under control. Don’t believe me? How many women were on the US Congress panels regarding birth control when Rush Limbaugh called a college student a whore for wanting access to the pill? Hmm.
Oh wait…sex education is abstinence only…so even using condoms isn’t taught as a birth control option.
Now, let’s remove the feminist piece of this and focus on the men. What happens when lower-income families are denied good sex education, access to birth control, and affordable/accessible health care (yes, that includes abortions)?
They have babies. Lots of babies. Why? Because human beings are wired to have sex, particularly when they’re in love and in stable relationships. Oh, you thought this didn’t apply to married couples? It does. The sex isn’t stopping: conservatives can try all they like to stop human nature, but it’s going to happen.
Women aren’t the only population impacted by this bill: the men who love them, their children, their potential children and families are ALL impacted. And when a low-income family has more babies than they can afford as a family, what happens? They’re trapped financially. How exactly does a bill that will close the doors to health-care facilities serving this population in particular NOT enslave that very population economically, and how exactly is that better for the children in these families?
Let me say again: this bill does not ban abortion: abortions under 20 weeks will still be legal in the state (and as you can see if you click the CDC link, 91.4% of abortions are done FAR earlier than 20 weeks). This bill is an attempt to control women’s bodies, reproductive rights, and economic status by denying health care and birth control via making access so limited and expensive it’s impossible to access it.
Why is this important to me, a Minnesotan far removed from Texas (or North Carolina or Wisconsin or Ohio)? Well, Mark Rubio has said he intends to introduce a nearly identical bill in the US Senate. So yeah, this is important to me. Women (and the men with them) of any social status, economic status, or race shouldn’t be slaves to their reproductive cycles. Education and family planning resources have been eroded for over a decade, and now the remaining health-facilities which provide those resources could be closed.
This is absolutely a big deal, and it’s important for women AND men to stand up and say clearly: WOMEN CAN CONTROL THEIR OWN LIVES, BODIES, and HEALTH CARE.
Conservative legislators in this country (mostly male, but some females as well) feel they have the right to get between a woman’s medical decisions with her doctor. Why? Because their religious beliefs tell them it’s wrong. Never mind that your beliefs may not be mine. Never mind that EVERY major religion in the world has some variation of judgement being left to God.
I wasn’t aware so many Conservatives’ glass houses are stone-proof.
5 thoughts on “Why Texas Matters, and Why I Support Wendy Davis (from MN)”
I grew up low-income and I was not denied access to sex education beyond the idea of abstinence. In this country sex education is all over the internet, which is a free accessible service at public libraries everywhere. Its taught in public schools. I learned it there and in health classes.Most abortions are for birth control by over 90%. They're called \”elective\” probably to make it sound nice. The science shows that a human in development is by scientific definitions a living being from the moment of conception. That isn't right winged, religious psycho babble – that is science. While many pro-lifers are typically religious nut jobs, the science does in this case actually support their beliefs whether they know it or not. Data clearly shows in the US that over 90% of abortions are elective by healthy adult women. Adults whether they are poor or not in this country are culpable for the decisions they make. If you shoot someone – you go to prison even if they are poor homeless individuals obtaining money from the state. Instead of saying poor people should have abortions to reduce welfare recipients, laws should hold people accountable for having children and stop giving them indefinite access to welfare. Make men and women pay for their children, support them. In this nation, education is accessible for anyone who seeks it out. It's hard to miss that sex results in pregnancy. Evidence is all over in every life system on the planet. Low-income people are aware of that, believe it or not. Low-income does not automatically equate to unintelligent. Its an excuse.The problem here for me is the continued excuses society makes for bad behavior and a desire to just let people keep doing them simply because its easier or more convenient. Roe Vs. Wade actually made it possible for women to terminate pregnancy at any stage for any reason. I'm not sure that most people know that. Think of that. At any time for any reason. Less than 90% of abortions of all total are given for a reason of medical necessity or for rape/incest victims. Instead of rewarding the bad decisions of some with death for others, perhaps it should be legal for those in life threatening situations to abort or for rape/incest victims -especially underage. I don't see this issue as a need for an all or nothing mentality. We can protect the rights of women who may fall into a life threatening situation while holding people accountable for their actions.
Bravo to this post! For me, a lot of this issue boils down to 1) people who don't have vaginas making decisions for those of us with vaginas, and 2)people using politics to push their religious agenda on to everyone else. Religion and politics are often dangerously intertwined and I think the whole abortion issue is an excellent example of that
Nowhere in my post did I make any reference to, allusion to, or implication that low-income has anything to do with low-intelligence. My point is that wealthy women will STILL be able to control their bodies and their health care, because they have the money to do so. I respect that you disagree with abortion. As a pro-choice person, I support your right to choose not to ever have one. I support your ability to decide that, for you, abortion is wrong. I even support your comments about ending life. Except when it comes to removing another adult's rights to determine HER values, morals, and judgments for her own body, her own situation, and her own life. The choice is not yours to make. Your judgments regarding \”bad decisions\” and education are YOUR judgments. We grew up in a health-based sex education system, not an abstinence based sex-ed culture. We got far more facts than teens now get: if you don't believe me, feel free to check stats on the age of women terminating pregnancies and the rise of STDs in the past 15 years. Science does, indeed, support the fact that until a certain age a fetus is not viable outside the womb. That is a fact. Why would there be any difference for an incest or rape case, other than the moral judgment against \”sluts\” who get pregnant? Sigh. These are my issues with this topic: everyone is so black and white until there's middle ground just as repugnant brought to light. I do not agree with the moral notion that a woman's body is nothing but a vessel with no options. I also do not have the Christian-based virgin/whore values regarding women. As a history fanatic, I can tell you there's evidence that abortion has been around since at LEAST Ancient Egypt. Abortions will continue to happen even if they become illegal, if you extrapolate from scientific history regarding how they were done in the past. The question is, who has the right to impose their morals, their views, their beliefs upon another adult human being? In my opinion, no one. Taking away that right treats women like children and property, unable to make their own moral and medical choices. And I find that unacceptable.
this bill will not reduce the number of abortions- by making health/reproductive care and education unavailable to women who don't have the wealth for other options, the number of unwanted pregnancies will go up, and, legal or not, the number of abortions will go up. These 'anti-choice' people are actively working for more abortions. This is because they really don't care about dead poor babies, they care about power- over women, over men they perceive as weaker/poorer than them.
Thank you for standing with Wendy, with Texas Women, and with all women!