In case you missed it, some major shit went down in Oklahoma on Tuesday. The Legislature voted to override previous vetoes on two abortion bills.
The first states that women must have an ultrasound to have an abortion. Not so bad, right? That happens pretty much 100% of the time anyway. Additionally, the doctor or person performing the ultrasound must show the sonogram to the woman and describe the fetus in detail. I don’t support this requirement for ANY woman, but this is particularly offensive considering that no exception is made for rape or incest survivors.
Let’s say you were raped. Meaning you were just profoundly violated and will likely never be the same. And since most rape survivors know their assailant, let’s say it was your uncle. Since you were raped, you were not using the methods of birth control you might normally use. Then, you find out you are pregnant. You decide you must have an abortion because you cannot possibly carry the pregnancy to term. A pregnancy created in such hateful and terrible circumstances. You go to the clinic. While walking inside, some dude yells at you that you are “killing your baby” and mostly likely going to spend an eternity in hell gnashing your teeth. Once you are finally about to get the procedure done, you then have to listen to a description of the heart, limbs, and organs of the fetus. Have a nice day!
Linda Meek, director of Tulsa Reproductive Services, said that the new law has already been making patients emotional and upset. It is worth noting however, that no one has canceled her procedure. So, basically you are just getting women super upset. Good job guys.
THIS ISN’T EVEN THE WORST OF IT.
The second measure overturned by the Oklahoma Legislature on Tuesday is, for lack of a better term, totally fucked up.
From the NYT:
A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb. Opponents argue that the law will protect doctors who purposely mislead a woman to keep her from choosing an abortion. But the bill’s sponsors maintain that it merely prevents lawsuits by people who wish, in hindsight, that the doctor had counseled them to abort a disabled child.
WHAT!? How is it okay for a medical professional to purposely withhold information that is extremely important to know about the fetus?!?! HOW IS THAT LEGAL? HOW IS THAT CONSTITUTIONAL?
You are pregnant. You are not sure if you want to stay pregnant or have an abortion. Your doctor says the fetus is perfectly healthy and everything is fine. You decide to keep it. Spend 9 months carrying the pregnancy around in your body. You give birth. The baby is severely malformed and has multiple birth defects. Turns out Dr. Awesome knew all along, but didn’t want you to have an abortion, so he just decided to omit those pieces of information. Have fun with your baby that will probably not live past the age of one and will rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills that you will go bankrupt trying to pay. Have a nice day!
Can you imagine? If I were a pregnant woman in Oklahoma, I don't know what I would do. If I go in for fetal testing and the doctor says, "Everything is fine!" I can't breathe a sigh of relief. What if he lying? What if this isn't true? How do I know my baby is healthy? If my baby isn't healthy I need to know that. Women need to know that. They need to make arrangments for caring for a special needs child and how the medical bills will be paid, etc. How can you trust your doctor in Oklahoma if you are pregnant? The answer is, you can't anymore.
Now, I am hoping that these will both be deemed unconstitutional, since they are. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit for the first measure. The Governor of Oklahoma, Brad Henry, said “both laws will be challenged and, in all likelihood, overturned by the courts as unconstitutional... I fear this entire exercise will ultimately be a waste of taxpayers' time and money.” Probably right. I’m glad all these anti-choice tea-baggers who are complaining about the government spending too much money are so gangbusters to waste it.
The real gem of this whole thing comes from State Senator Todd Lamb.
“The goal of this legislation is just to make a statement for the sanctity of human life. Maybe someday these babies will grow up to be police officers and arrest bad people, or will find a cure for cancer.”
Really? You earnestly believe that? You are willing to go against the Constitution, i.e., everything this country stands for, to “make a statement?” You are okay with women being PURPOSELY MISINFORMED so you can let everyone know you value human life? You couldn’t just put a banner in front of your office that says, “HEY I VALUE HUMAN LIFE”? Valuing human life means treating human life with respect and dignity. Lying to pregnant women and trying to make them feel guilty doesn’t strike me as particularly nice or respectful.
I’m not sure if the “babies will grow up to be police officers and arrest bad people” statement even merits a response… BUT anyway, it is a terrible argument because, obviously, there is also a chance the baby could grow up to be a serial killer...or (GASP) an abortion provider.
Additionally, what if my baby is born without a brain? Or a head? Or vital organs it needs to survive? Is that child really going to grow up and cure cancer or create a new theory of relativity? Or even know what a "bad person" is? I mean, yes, it's possible, of course. But, let's be real: the babies that will be born to women who were intentionally lied to about birth defects and get a surprise in the delivery room are NOT going to be saving the world. As a matter of fact, they are probably going to require endless and extremely expensive surgeries and other medical procedures that the vast majority of women and families could never afford. Who will front the bill to keep these babies alive? I am guessing that the anti-choice, anti-tax Right will want nothing to do with THAT.
Of course, if a woman is informed of her pregnancy having birth defects, a fetal anomaly, etc, and she decides she wants to carry the pregnancy to term, has the emotional and financial ability to care for the child, etc., then that's fine. It takes a strong woman and family to be able to do that. And, of course, people who are born with special needs are people too -- I'm not suggesting they're less of a person or not worthwhile or unimportant. I am talking about women who are unwittingly carrying pregnancies to term that they would otherwise abort, because of financial reasons, emotional reasons, whatever -- they are the ones that we are talking about.
Moral of the story: don’t get pregnant in Oklahoma.
Have a nice day!