Repro Wrap: You Can’t Force a Taxpayer to Pay for an Abortion, But You Can Force a Dead Woman to Give Birth
This week, a committee of House Republicans restarted the war on women with a hearing on HB 7, a “no taxpayer funding of abortion” bill. Nothing in the bill hasn’t been proposed before, from codifying the Hyde Amendment, which forbids Medicaid from paying for any abortions except those caused by sexual assault or which could cause a serious harm to a pregnant person’s health, to expanded “conscience rights” when it comes to denying abortion care, working in a hospital with a patient who had an abortion or refusing to fill a birth control prescription. This retread bill has never passed the senate before and will not pass again this year, but, with the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade on the horizon, it is imperative that “pro-life” Congress members feed some red meat to their anti-choice base.
HB 7 serves as a clear reminder that the GOP’s first priority is to anti-choice activists and donors. If there was any doubt about that fact, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus dispelled it when he moved the party’s winter meeting so all of the RNC members could charter a bus to the March for Life.
So what does a truly “no taxpayer funding of abortions” policy look like? Now we can look to Alaska as the newest example. After writing new regulations on what passes as allowable for “medically necessary” abortion, the state has essentially eliminated any public funding, leaving the low income people in the state who do get pregnant and want to terminate with no support or options.
The family of Marlise Munoz, the pregnant mother of a toddler being kept on life support against her family’s wishes by a state that wants to keep her functioning until her baby is old enough to deliver, has decided to sue to have her removed. What may end up at the heart of the issue is what is Marlise’s actual diagnosis? As we’ve seen in the Jahi McMath case, a brain dead patient’s heart can be kept functioning for some period even with no brain stem activity, but not indefinitely. In discussing the McMath case, one doctor notes that in cases like Terri Schiavo, which was a vegetative state but not brain death, she could remain functioning for years. However, with actual brain death, that simply can’t be sustained, pointing to two pregnant women who were kept on life support just long enough to deliver babies — in both cases just a month.
If Munoz is truly brain dead, is the hospital literally keeping her on support as a long shot attempt to make it to viability? If that is the case, and especially without the family’s consent, then that is truly, truly monstrous.
Pro-life activists claim abortion restrictions would never lead to investigating miscarriages. Yet, when faced with a miscarriage, the first thing they do is investigate it as a homicide, even with this 911 call as evidence. Also, a doctor in West Virginia who claimed he saw abortion complications at least once a week may have to explain why it is that the state reports no known abortion complications in the last few years.
Mississippi wants their teens not to be able to easily access emergency contraception. Arizona wants their teens who get pregnant not only to only give birth, but always give that child up for adoption, too.
Still, there is good news to celebrate, too. Vermont will be proposing a bill to affirm the right to an abortion; Austin city council members are urging national and state leaders to protect abortion rights; a New Hampshire bill would protect access to abortion clinics; and a Valencia County, N.M., push to ban abortion at 20 weeks failed to make it past the city council.
The Supreme court has set the date of March 25, 2014 as the day they will start reviewing the Hobby Lobby birth control case, and Wisconsin’s admitting privileges law will be reviewed federally in late May, in case you are stocking up on popcorn. Hopefully, those judges will be more open minded than these Texas judges were this week.
Speaking of Wisconsin, one anti-choice politician swears there are enough GOP votes to pass more abortion restrictions, if only the Senate majority leader would put them up for a vote. In other words, Wisconsin Republicans don’t want to actually pass more anti-choice bills, but if one was put in front of them they would vote for it to protect their seats. Why are they so afraid? Take a look at how much funding “family” and “pro-life” action groups in the state are getting, and who they are getting it from, and the answer becomes much clearer.
Finally, in the least shocking news ever, mandatory ultrasounds do nothing to reduce the number of people choosing an abortion after viewing one.
Photo credit: wikimedia commons