Conservative politicians and religious zealots are mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families. And this is just the beginning. State by state, a well-funded legislative war on women is being unleashed. Many of these new proposed bills, or recently passed state laws, attack in novel ways women's rights to ownership of their bodies and their basic life choices, which second-wave feminists thought long won.
Planned Parenthood is target No 1: Maine, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas have all either had bills to defund Planned Parenthood successfully passed or else bills introduced to begin the process of defunding.
Target No 2 is abortion rights. Since 2011, 92 new laws against abortion took effect, in 11 states: some states, such as Tennessee, are passing creative new restrictions on abortion rights. Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona recently signed a new law banning abortions later than 18 weeks after fertilization, and imposing new regulations making abortion more difficult to obtain.
Other bills impose waiting periods for women after they have sought medical help – so that they are forced to "think it over" in a manner, and for a period, mandated by the state. A law in Utah requires women to wait 72 hours after receiving medical counseling, for instance, before having an abortion. A similar law is passed in South Dakota.
Finally, some bills – in a way that defies the US constitution – limit or criminalize certain kinds of speech to pregnant women: a law in Kansas would allow medical professionals to refuse giving abortion-seeking women information about clinics and doctors.
These are treacherous times for women’s reproductive rights and access to essential health care. If you care about these issues and want to learn more about them and perhaps take action, please join us for a film viewing and round table discussion at the Serra Mesa/Kearny Mesa branch library on Saturday, June 16th.
This is the first of a series of programs on political issues aimed to educate people about the most relevant issues of the day prior to the presidential election this fall. Stay tuned for more!
Please join us for lunch immediately after this Meet-up at Thai Pepper Cuisine, 3361 Sandrock Rd. (between Murray Ridge Rd & Hammond Dr) in Serra Mesa.