This action followed Texas' passing of the nation's most restrictive abortion legislation. Despite the successful filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, presidential wannabe Rick Perry merely called a second special session for his anti-abortion agenda. Texas now requires that all abortions take place in a surgical center, and all doctors have hospital admitting privileges; exactly the same legislation that failed in Mississippi earlier this year. The bill's female sponsor, Rep. Jodi Laubenberg, claimed no exception was needed for rape because, "in the emergency room they have what they call rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out." And here I thought that "a woman can shut that all down" if it's a "legitimate rape." According to Wendy Davis, the new laws will shutter all but five of the states' forty two clinics. This year alone, seventeen states have enacted forty-three new laws that further regulate a woman's access to abortion services, and 120 new laws have been passed in the previous two years. This state-rights attempt to once again criminalize abortion is no coincidence.
In Wisconsin, recall survivor Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill requiring ultrasounds of all women seeking abortions. In Ohio, Republicans crammed abortion restrictions into the state's budget, stating that "life begins at the moment of conception," and mandating ultrasounds before any procedure. The budget/abortion bill was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, making Ohio the only state where a doctor faces criminal charges for failing to test for a fetal heartbeat and informing the woman of the results. Similar bills have passed or are pending in Arizona, Nebraska, Georgia, and Louisiana. So where is the outrage? Forty years ago, woman staged mass protests and marches for the right to control their reproductive lives. So why aren't women and their supporters marching in the streets now? Actually, they are. The nation is so focused on Kim and Kanye's baby, however, that it's not being adequately reported. Thousands have rallied in Raleigh, NC every Monday since April to protest the GOP legislative blitzkrieg, and over 700 North Carolinians have been arrested in the last two months. Hundreds of people massed in the capitol in Columbus OH, including twenty protesters forcibly removed from the Senate chamber for yelling, "Shame on you." In Austin, thousands have protested and twelve have been arrested. Eight people were arrested in Madison, WI for attempting to deliver coat hangers to Republican politicians. So, what's really at work here?
The targeted, state-by-state, anti-abortion strategy has several supporting organizations, including the Susan B. Anthony List and the well-funded National Right To Life Committee, but the major player is the Americans United for Life, or the AUL. A team of lawyers working for the AUL have provided Republican-led state legislatures with pre-written bills, lacking only a sponsor. The AUL has collected their proposed bills in a playbook called, "Defending Life," and delivered it to every state, including Tennessee, where legislators are already working on their behalf. One of the AUL's major goals is the banning of abortion after twenty weeks. Gov. Perry said that "after twenty weeks we are not going to allow abortion in our state." The twenty week provision is based on disputed research that claims a fetus can feel pain at that point in a pregnancy. There are reasons, usually desperate and life-threatening, for late-term abortions that are beyond the comprehension of the Texas State Legislature.
The prolific poet and great twentieth century psychedelic prophet Jimi Hendrix weighed in on the abortion dispute in 1971 with the release of his song "Belly-Button Window," in which Jimi portrays a fetus peering out into the world from his mother's naval. Among other observations, Hendrix proclaimed from the womb;
Two hundred days equals, let's see...six months. That comes out to twenty-six weeks, exactly what the state of Texas allows right now. If Hendrix could figure it out, pre-Roe, then why can't Rick Perry? Here's the point. Abortion is a moral and medical decision between a woman and her doctor and should have no place on anyone's legislative agenda. The politicization of the abortion dispute has distracted us for far too long from the important work of restoring our country, and it needs to stop. I can tolerate a certain amount of government intrusion in my life, but stay the hell out of my uterus.So if you don't want me now, make up your mind, where or when/. If you don't want me now, give or take, you only got two hundred days.