This week, Republican Mississippi State Senator Angela Burks Hill said that Mississippi State Legislature’s passage of a 20-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest was “not about a woman’s body. This is about the life of an unborn 20-week-old baby.”
Earlier this year, Republican Virginia State Senator Steve Martin defended his anti-abortion views in a Facebook rant by stating that he does not “expect to be in the room or will do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.”
This is not about a woman’s body.
The child’s host. (As if a woman who is carrying this fetus was harboring a parasite)
This pretty much sums up the Republican/Conservative’s view on not only the whole issue of abortion but on women in general. It is not about our bodies and we are just incubators to grow babies in.
I cannot imagine anyone viewing the demeaning, dehumanizing and disgusting manner in which women are referred to and treated like as anything but hatred for women. Hatred and misogyny masked under the auspices of right-to-life.
Republicans don’t even try to hide their bigotry anymore,. On the contrary, they are carrying it like a badge of honor.
And as much as some of them insist that it is about preserving life and sanctity of life blah blah blah, it is painfully obvious that it is actually about control and subjugation of women by reducing them to nothing but incubators, vessels in which fetuses are to be grown while the body of the
woman host is state property.
The tragic irony here is that the same person that refers to women as mere hosts could not give an infinitesimal fuck what happens to that
parasite child the “host” harbors after it is born as evidenced by callous Republican policies that assume that most human beings are irrelevant and such things as not being entitled to food.
You cannot even make this shit up. If i had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed that a lawmaker in this country would actually, seriously refer to women as nothing but hosts to incubate a baby.
And then they call the Taliban fundamentalist and backwards.
This is the shit we are served in the 21st century and four decades after the Supreme Court upheld a woman’s right to choose, namely a man referring to a woman as nothing but a vessel to hold a fetus. That is why pregnant women once again find themselves crossing the border to Mexico and haunting back-alleys in search of medical care.
More abortion restrictions have been enacted from 2011-2013 than in the entire previous decade
Forty-five percent of the abortion restrictions enacted over the last three years fall into four categories: targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP), limitations on insurance coverage of abortion, bans on abortions at 20 weeks postfertilization (the equivalent of 22 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period) and limitations on medication abortion. States enacted 93 measures in these four categories from 2011 through 2013, compared with 22 during the previous decade.
Texass is a particularly big offender. In 2011, the state had 44 abortion clinics, but more than half of them have since shut down due to new anti-abortion laws. In September, when a state law requiring all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers goes into effect, reproductive rights advocates expect 14 more clinics will have to close, leaving only six facilities to serve the nearly 75,000 women who seek abortions in Texas each year.
The poorest area of Texas, the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border, has no remaining abortion clinics. Women who live there have to drive roughly 240 miles to San Antonio for the nearest clinic, but many of them are Mexican immigrants with restrictions on their work visas that prevent them from traveling that far.
In addition, the state has slashed funding for family planning, forcing 76 clinics that offer birth control and other reproductive health services, but do not perform abortions, to shut down.
“Every time I perform an abortion, I have to offer the woman the ability to see or hear the heartbeat of her ‘unborn human individual,’ which is what the law states it must be called,” Dr. Kate Davis, whose work in Ohio forces her to navigate several incredibly restrictive anti-abortion laws, told ThinkProgress. “I need to tell her the probability of this pregnancy going to term if she chooses to continue the pregnancy and doesn’t have the abortion. I need to do this both verbally and in writing. From my medical point of view, this is totally unnecessary. But I’m doing it so I don’t get fined, or charged with a misdemeanor or, heaven forbid, a felony.”
Dan Grossman, vice president of research for Ibis Reproductive Health, an international nonprofit, who is part of a research team that is currently studying the effects of the new abortion laws and family planning cuts in Texas, said he is already witnessing the consequences of the new restrictions.
“It seems like [women] are becoming more desperate to find an option,” he said. “We’ve heard reports of women taking herbs or other substances, or intentionally getting punched in the stomach or beaten up — the same kinds of things they did before abortion was legal.”
Anti Abortion Harassment
Over the past few years, abortion opponents have been working around the clock to make it too difficult for doctors to provide abortion care by enacting dozens of complicated state-level restrictions that dictate how these services may be performed. Once state legislatures pass tighter restrictions, anti-choice activists can start filing complaints alleging clinics are breaking the new law and endangering their patients. Sometimes they’ll conduct undercover “stings” — posing as a minor trying to get an abortion without telling her parents, or pretending to be a woman forced to have an abortion against her will — in an attempt to catch the clinic staff making a wrong move.
Ultimately, they’re hoping to trigger the state’s agencies to step in and conduct surprise inspections, which, in turn, are expensive and time-consuming for clinic staff who have to spend a substantial amount of their time and efforts refuting these false claims.
In Texass, new state law is forcing dozens of abortion providers out of work because they can’t comply with a regulation that requires them to obtain admitting privileges, which is essentially a superfluous partnership with a local hospital. It’s hard enough to get these admitting privileges as it is, and many doctors are unsuccessful. But becoming a target of local anti-choice groups can make it even worse. That can lead certain hospitals to refuse to work with you.
In Ohio, another state with some of the harshest abortion laws on the books, Dr. Kate Davis is similarly wary to elevate her profile. She decided not to publicly identify herself because Ohio Right To Life, the most prominent anti-abortion group in her state, already knows who she is. Her name is on their website; they send letters to her home. “They’re praying for me. I get Christmas cards. Stuff like that,” she said.
Dr. Davis is well aware of the vast ripple effects of being targeted by the country’s network of anti-choice groups. Protesters will often try to get abortion doctors evicted from their clinics, either by pressuring their landlords or by lobbying to rezone the local area. They’ll implore other medical professionals to refuse to work with the doctors who provide abortion care. And they’ll direct their attention to the hospitals where abortion doctors work, flooding the institutions with phone calls and letters. Davis doesn’t want to invite those type of “shenanigans,” as she calls them.
“They can do whatever they want to do to me. But I don’t want other people who didn’t choose to do this work to have to deal with this,” Davis said.
“Over the last 30 or 40 years since Roe, the different ways that abortion opponents attack safe abortion care have really changed over time,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO of Texas’ largest independent abortion provider, Whole Woman’s Health, told ThinkProgress. “In the 1980s and 1990s, there were a lot of clinic blockades and bombings. Then they started specifically targeting physicians — there were a lot of murders. Now, you’ve seen a change in the approach. We have this new front of anti-abortion harassment through the legislature and through the court system.”
Anti-abortion activism, which really is a war on agency, has become a truly systemic endeavor. It is no longer just a few outliers picketing abortion clinics. The new movement has been working hard to systematically eradicate access to safe abortions for women in this country.
Legislation enacting abortion bans, restrictions on abortion providers, limitations on the provisions of medication and restrictions on coverage for abortion in private health plans accounted for 56% of all restrictions enacted in 2013 alone.
Targeting state legislators to pass ever more stringent laws curbing access to safe abortions is just the beginning. To further complicate matters, there is also a growing lack of available doctors.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has warned that “the availability of abortion services is in jeopardy” because only about 14 percent of doctors actually know how to perform one.
Many doctors don’t learn enough about abortion care while they’re in medical school — a 2009 study found that athird of medical schools don’t talk about elective abortion at all during the first two pre-clinical years. And as an increasing number of abortion clinics are being forced to close, and as hospitals have eliminated abortion from the services they provide, students in residency are losing out on opportunities to train. For instance, the doctors training in one of the 600 Catholic-affiliated hospitals across the country are barred from doing abortions. Even if new doctors do enter the field with the knowledge and the desire to practice abortion care, it’s often difficult for them to find a jobthat allows them to do that work.
It is important to realize that abortion restrictions that gnaw away at a woman’s access to safe abortions will not result in less unwanted pregnancies. In fact, unwanted pregnancies will still be ended. However, now that legal venues have been, and continue to be slashed away, many women just have to, literally, go seek backdoor-alley abortions that are not safe and which will result in illness or death. In other words, all this so-called pro-life movement does is grossly endanger the lives of women and they do so because hey, after all, she is merely the host.
That the anti-abortion movement calls itself pro-life would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic and just right-out callously untrue.