Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Republican War on Women -- The Ohio Front

This is the tenth in a series of articles on the subject of women, abortion rights and the Republican Party. 

Republicans continue to say they don’t have to change their core principles, they only have to change the language they use to get their message out.  One perception they want to alter is the idea that they are running a “war on women”.  Looking at the news over the past few years, I’d say the Republican Party has a long way to go on this subject.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky): “Talk about a manufactured issue.  There is no issue.” 
  •  RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:  “It’s a fiction.”

The Ohio Front

As an Ohio woman, I stand today ashamed, alienated and angry at what my state and its government have done to my rights as a citizen of this country.  I wear my second class citizenship uneasily, both resentful and fearful of my reduction in status in the country I love.

the facts:  On Sunday, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) signed his state's new budget into law.  Hidden in its depths are new abortion restrictions that were added as amendments at the last minute, without public notice, without hearings and without legislative debate.  No committee vetted these restrictions, no discussion between opposing parties were held, no doctors were queried, no women were asked to voice their opinion on their government's decision to restrict their rights as citizens of the United States of American or the State of Ohio.  The subterfuge used to get these restrictions into Ohio law seems to demonstrate just how aware these Republicans were that public opinion was against them in their endeavor.  

These new restrictions took effect yesterday, Monday, July 1, the first day of Ohio's fiscal year.
  • Planned Parenthood clinics are effectively defunded throughout Ohio.  
Because Republicans see nothing wrong with denying all of Ohio's poor women access to medical care in order to impose their anti-abortion stand.
  • Any woman seeking a perfectly legal abortion will now be forced to undergo a state mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasound--even if the woman objects and even if her doctor doesn't recommend one. 
Because Ohio small-government Republicans see nothing wrong with adding a layer of government intrusion between a woman, her family and her doctor in a situation that could not be more private and personal.
  • These state mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasounds will be paid for by the women seeking an abortion. 
Because Republicans cannot see the double standard in telling a woman who cannot afford to raise a child that she must pay extra for a service she doesn't want and her doctor doesn't recommend in order to prevent the state from paying for a procedure they insist be performed.
  • A state-imposed gag order is now in place for rape crisis centers.  Rape counselors will face state mandated restrictions about when they can tell pregnant rape victims about the availability of abortion services to terminate a pregnancy caused by their rape. Breaking this rule gives the state the right to withdraw all federal and state funds and close the center. 
Because Republicans care so much about life that they think further traumatizing a rape victim is worth the price.
  • Doctors are now forced to deliver a speech, written by the Republican legislature, to any woman seeking an abortion--even if the doctor does not believe in the words he is forced to speak.  
Because legislating what a doctor and patient say to each other is deemed to be the function of Ohio's Republican led government.
  • Any clinic that provides abortion services is now required to have transfer agreements in place with local hospitals.  At the same time, the new law bans public hospitals from establishing those agreements. 
Because Republicans thought we wouldn't notice that these contradictory restrictions would effectively ban all abortion services in the state of Ohio.  And does anyone really believe that transfer agreements are in anyway necessary? What hospital would turn away an emergency patient for lack of a signed agreement with a physician?  If that were standard practice, out-of-state traffic accident victims would be left to die on the road.
  • The new, Republican law redefines the words "pregnancy" and "fetus".  Under these new definitions, Republicans have decided that a woman is pregnant at the moment of fertilization--even before the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine wall.  This effectively makes the use of an IUD unlawful in the eyes of the state of Ohio. 
Because Republicans think that their jurisdiction extends to Ohio bedrooms, that Ohio families are incapable of making their own contraception choices and Ohio women have no right to decide when they will bear children.
Governor Kasich, who has line item veto power, chose to veto 22 other provisions in Ohio's budget bill, but left all the Republican written abortion restrictions intact.  He was surrounded by a row of older, white men as he signed the bill--not one minority, not one woman was asked to stand with him.

Immediately after signing, Mr. Kasich left the room, refusing to answer any questions.  
Governor John Kasich, I name you "Coward."

  The Republican War on Women is "fiction"?


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