Every time I do these round-ups I’m just bowled-over at the amount of legislation out there. As one protester’s sign said recently, “I cannot believe I still have to protest this shit!”
Let’s start in Kansas, which is fast becoming the petri dish for right-wing policy enactment, where lawmakers have proposed a bill that would charge sales tax on an abortion procedure. Medical procedures, as you may know, are not supposed to be subject to sales tax, and would open a woman’s medical records, which are supposed to be confidential, to an audit by the IRS, to determine exactly which medical procedures can be tax deductible. This tax would also be applicable to women seeking an abortion following a rape.
Not only that, the bill also includes provisions which would allow doctors to withhold information from their patients in order to prevent an abortion, requires them to repeat the lie that abortion causes breast cancer, and it prohibits any malpractice suits if the woman or child experiences any health problems or complications from that information being withheld.
So, not only would they make getting an abortion more difficult after a woman’s been brutalized, but they’re going to raise her taxes for it and possibly withhold vital health information which could impact her overall health, but leave her with no path of recourse should something go wrong.
Classy, Kansas. I won’t be visiting there any time soon…
On to another state I wouldn’t be caught dead in: Arizona. The State Senate just passed a law similar to the Kansas bill, and passed it with a vote of 20-9. The “wrongful birth, wrongful life” legislation would prohibit a woman from suing a doctor for withholding health information about the fetus that would cause a woman to consider an abortion, including information that could kill her during childbirth.
As an interesting aside, the lawmaker who proposed the bill, Sen. Nancy Barto (R), was named legislator of the year by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is behind many of the radical, right-wing bills being filtered through the states.
Speaking of ALEC, wonder where all of this suspiciously similar legislation is coming from? Well, here’s the scoop. Most of these bills have been proposed by Americans United for Life (AUL), an anti-choice group that is pushing the “model legislation” out through the states, in the abhorrent tradition of ALEC, with which they have a very cozy relationship:
AUL’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Dan McConchie, recently returned from networking with state legislators from across the country at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego, CA. It was ALEC’s largest meeting ever with more than 1,600 attendees. Legislators were particularly interested in AUL’s model bill – the Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act – which helps states opt-out of the abortion mandate in the new federal health care law. “Five states have enacted opt-out laws so far,” said McConchie, “and this is just the beginning. There was a real excitement at ALEC over our model bill – I think you’ll see this type of legislation moving forward in several states during their coming legislative sessions.”
The bills are almost identical in word and phrase, and the Sunlight Foundation has released the results of a recent examination of the Texas bill which forces a woman to have a sonogram before any abortion procedure:
Sunlight’s analysis using SuperFastMatch shows that the Texas bill shares multiple instances of identical text with 12 of the 13 bills to which it was compared, including Virginia. Our analysis also showed text overlaps between the Texas bill and the model bill written by Americans United for Life.
SuperFastMatch, an automated textual analysis, identified overlaps in text in multiple ultrasound bills, but also found cases where entire passages were replicated. In some cases an entire passage was replicated across bills with exception of one word, such as the use of “that” instead of “which,” causing the technology to overlook those instances and not count them as matches. When that occurs, it takes the work of a human to point out that that passage is in indeed the same.
So, ladies, ALEC and their henchman organization, AUL, now have their sights set on your vagina. It’s time to (wo)man the battle stations.