Female Legislators Fighting Back Against Restrictive Abortion Laws In The Best Way Possible

pro-choice

My body. My right. My choice. Except that it’s not, is it? Here in the US it would be easy to think that because the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion was legal in all 50 states, that women wouldn’t experience harassment, violence and legislative interference on a daily basis when it comes to their reproductive rights.

Sadly, it seems there are bills being introduced and laws pass every year in almost every state that seek to make it harder for women to make their own choices for sexual reproduction and healthcare. A growing number of conservative men and women think that by turning the clock back on women’s access and rights to obtain an abortion, it will somehow stop abortions. But a study out of Texas, a state where the presence of abortion clinics have nearly halved in the past few years because of ridiculous restrictive laws, shows that upward of 100,000 women have performed self-inducing abortions. The study estimates the number could be as high as 240,000. That’s just in Texas!

Interestingly, the CDC released a study which claims the number of abortions has consistently fallen, since they started keeping track in 1976. They attribute this to family planning, and a growing number of contraceptives and birth control options that have become available on the market over the past few decades.

Somehow the notion of investing in better sex education and allowing greater access to birth control in the prevention of abortion hasn’t clicked with some conservative legislators, who blindly insist that making abortion illegal will do the trick. Well now it’s not just everyday women who are fed up with this tactic. Democractic legislators are starting to draft their own clever bills that seek to clamp-down on and restrict access, but not to birth control or abortions.

The first is representative Stacey Newman from Missouri, who has introduced a piece of legislation that would target gun ownership in the same way abortion is targeted. According to STLmag.com, the state is home to some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, including a mandatory 72 hour waiting period, but is also home to some of the highest rates of gun violence, with cities like Kansas City and St. Louis ranking in the top 10 cities in the nation.

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After the recent spate of mass shootings in San Bernadino and Colorado where heated conversations about gun violence and background checks once again reached fever pitch, Stacey Newman decided the time was ripe to pre-file a bill for the 2016 legislature session that proposes the same time of restrictions on gun ownership as abortions.

“Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates,” she said in a statement.

House Bill 1397 says that before Missourians could buy a gun, they’d have to:

  • Meet with a licensed physician to discuss the risks of gun ownership at least 72 hours before attempting to buy a gun and obtain a written notice approval.
  • Buy the gun from a licensed gun dealer located at least 120 miles from the purchaser’s legal residence.
  • Review the medical risks associated with firearms, including photographs of fatal firearm injuries, and the alternatives to purchasing a firearm, including “materials about peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution,” with the gun dealer orally and in writing.
  • Watch a 30-minute video about fatal firearm injuries. (This requirement mirrors House Bill 124 from last year, which would have required women to watch a video with information about abortion they’re already required to receive from doctors orally and in writing.)
  • Tour an emergency trauma center at the nearest qualified urban hospital on a weekend between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when gun violence victims are present, and get written verification from a doctor.
  • Meet with at least two families who have been victims of gun violence and two local faith leaders who have officiated, within the last year, a funeral for a victim of gun violence who was under the age of 18.

There’s no word from Rep. Newman whether she was inspired by this popular meme, but if her bill goes any further, this could make a huge impact:

abortion-and-guns

This isn’t the first time she has introduced such a bill. In 2012 she tried to introduce a piece of legislature that would seek to treat vasectomies in the same way as abortions, allowing them only in cases where a man’s safety or his life were at risk. hat bill was unsuccessful, but clearly her focus is more determined than ever.

“If we truly insist that Missouri cares about ‘all life’, then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence. Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abuser and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session. Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP’s legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence. Our city mayors and law enforcement drastically need help in saving lives,” she concluded in her statement.

And while we wait to see what happens in 2016, there is another legislator who is attempting to go equal for equal by introducing a bill to restrict a man’s access to erectile dysfunction media. Democratic Representative Mia Mcleod from South Carolina said she is sick of entering every legislature session and seeing some type of abortion bill being proposed.

“We’ve got much bigger fish to fry. I just decided that until they could stay out my uterus, I would refuse to stay out of their bedroom,” she said in a statement to the Free Times newspaper.

Her bill would “prevent prescribing erectile dysfunction drugs, unless the patient produces a notarized affidavit by at least one of his sexual partners affirming that the man has experienced symptoms of erectile dysfunction. The bill also would require the patient to meet with a sexual therapist to explore possible causes of the patient’s symptoms of erectile dysfunction and obtain a written report in which the therapist concludes that the patient’s symptoms are not attributable solely to one or more psychological conditions,” reports the Postandcourier.com.

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In addition to this, patients would have to undergo a cardiac stress test and counseling “to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice” in addition to receiving written warnings of the dangers of erectile dysfunction medication. There’s also a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before receiving the prescription, which is modeled after South Carolina’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortion, reports Mic.com.

“All the things that [anti-abortion legislators] come up with are invasive. They’re not necessary. I just think it’s time for a little pushback on that end,” added Mia.

Mic.com also lists a few other examples where pro-choice legislators have introduced bills of equal measure to that of the hostile abortion laws introduced which seek to hit men in areas where it hurts so they know what it feels like.

In 2012 Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy protested a bill requiring women to undergo ultrasounds before abortions by including an amendment that would force men who want erectile dysfunction medication to watch a graphic video about the drugs’ potential side effects. That same year Virginia Sen. Janet Howell sponsored an amendment requiring all men seeking Viagra to submit to a rectal exam!

In Ohio, Sen. Nina Turner introduced a bill which would force men to undergo psychological evaluations, and provide his doctor with a notarized affidavit — from at least one sex partner — that says he’s had symptoms in the previous 90 days. Although it may sound like some sort of a publicity stunt, Sen. Turner was adamant this was “no joke”.

pro-choice

“I’m dead serious. I want to continue this strong dialogue about what is fair and what is equal. It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs. The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues. The least we can do is return the favor,” she said.

We need to see more and more of these bills and legislative measures being introduced by women across the country in equal force as the the number of anti-abortion bills being proposed. If women’s reproductive and health rights are seemingly up for grabs each year, why shouldn’t men’s be treated in the same way?

We are constantly asking ourselves “what will it take?” to change the public conversation about abortion. For us there is no doubt it has to start with sex education, access to birth control and implementing paid family leave so that if a woman DOES choose to keep a baby, she isn’t forced into unemployment because of her decision.

None of the anti-abortion laws help women or stop abortion. Let’s change the conversation and start to implement measures that enable women and men to make choices that reflect their individual needs, regardless of religious or political beliefs.

Basically, what we’re trying to say is:

my-vagina-my-rules

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: How Some US States Are Fighting Back For Women's Access To Reproductive Healthcare - GirlTalkHQ

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  3. Pingback: Virginia Politicians "Ghosting" Women, Turning Abortion Access Into An Emotionally Unavailable Boyfriend - GirlTalkHQ

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