Florida Lawmakers Violate Rights, One Fetus at a Time
May 19, 2010 in Crazy Wingnut News
Hold on to your uterus, Frieda, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Earlier this week, Florida legislators passed a largely Republican-endorsed bill that would require women seeking abortions in their first trimester to have a mandatory ultrasound, and forcing them to see the images and listen to a doctor give a detailed description of the fetus’ development. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?
I mean, it’s only additional data to make a more informed, responsible decision. Oh wait, I forgot one teensy, weensy, caveat – they’re forcing woman to pay for it, and if they have insurance that might be exchanged for the new national health care proposed by Obama, it will not be covered to keep “abortion from being funded by taxpayers”. Excluded from this requirement would be abortions sought by victims of rape, incest, human trafficking, domestic violence, and instances where not aborting poses great risk to the mother – so long as they can prove it.
I’m not sure which part of this bill pisses me off the most. Maybe it’s the fact that this proposal was tacked onto the end of an unrelated bill regarding drug free workplaces by a Republican senator to avoid it being anticipated and not allowing for public debate and input (the same Senator, it should be noted, that caught all sorts of hell by right-wing religious conservatives when he failed to get a bill passed that required parental notification for abortions performed on minors).
Or maybe it’s that in order to make a woman exempt from it, she has to prove that she meets the criteria. Yes, prove that she was a victim of rape/incest/domestic violence/human trafficking – how fucked up is that? Not only are they assuming that the woman was able to report the offense when it happened, but they’re making her out as if she’s a criminal who has to prove herself “innocent” to become exempt.
Or perhaps it’s the fact that right-wing conservative lawmakers, knowing they can’t make abortion illegal, are passing legislation that makes it difficult and more taxing on women to seek out a perfectly legal procedure. I’m not going to start a debate on whether abortion is morally right or not; I am, however, going to strongly oppose my government attempting to influence what I do with my body by forcing a mandatory guilt trip on me in the hopes that I change my mind to their liking. And make me pay for it, to boot. Because let’s be honest, that is why they want to make this ultrasound mandatory – to make a woman second-guess herself when she sees the arms and legs and (possibly) hears the heartbeat of an unborn fetus. Which, hey, if you’re going to have second thoughts, it might as well be before it’s too late. But don’t force the woman to pay for it out of pocket. Some have argued that the costs can be as low as $100 for an ultrasound. True, but that’s not the point. Whether it’s $50 or $5,000, I find it wrong for the government to intrude upon a woman’s right to do with her body as she sees fit by issuing unfunded mandates.
That brings to light another question: What if she is unable to pay for the ultrasound? I see that leading to a few different results, none particularly pleasing:
a) She has the child and gives it up so that it may (hopefully) be adopted. I say hopefully because, as much as everyone likes to think that all babies get adopted into loving homes, they don’t. There were kids as old as sixteen and seventeen in foster care with me that were still hoping to be adopted, but it hadn’t happened. Some of those homes they had been in are not places anyone would want their child to grow up in. If they have a disability, their chances are even less. So if they don’t get adopted, they have a fifty-fifty chance of growing up in an unloving, possibly unsafe utilitarian environment run by an oft broken branch of state government. Super!
b) She has the child, and even though it’s a mistake, it’s HER mistake and no one else is going to raise the mistake for her damn it, so she keeps the baby. Growing up knowing you’re unwanted, that couldn’t possibly lead to any problems for said child in the future, nope, not at all. Not to mention, if you’re too poor to afford an ultrasound, you’re probably going to be too poor to provide a good, stable life for said child (a broad generalization, I know, but hey – we’re dealing with right-wing religious crazies, it’s par for the course).
c) She attempts to procure an abortion by other means. Some will disagree with me on this, and perhaps I’m being a bit extreme, but put it in context. If you’re a pregnant eighteen or nineteen year-old girl who can’t afford the ultrasound and your parents are those uber-strict-Nazi-don’t-you-dare-shame-this-family types, what are you going to do? I don’t think it’s far outside the realm of possibility to think that she’s going to either attempt a DIY version at home, or go somewhere less than reputable to get it done.
That being said, I find it funny that the people who are pushing this bill will be the same people who bitch and moan that their tax dollars go to help poor children born to women too poor to get the ultrasound. While in the womb, you are sacred; out of it, you’re on your own. I also can’t help but think of it as these legislators way of guaranteeing the next generation of voters/constituents/cannon fodder.
I’ll wrap up my meandering little argument by stating I think it’s wrong for the government to put such a requirement on women, making their right to do with their bodies as they see fit up for debate AGAIN, especially when the action they’re pursuing is completely legal.