The repudiation of openly misogynistic candidates by voters in the 2012 election doesn’t mean we can relax. Religious zealots and conservative misogynists in our country are still trying to roll back reproductive rights at the cost of women’s lives, health, and freedom:
- In 2011, Ohio Republicans supported a measure to make abortions illegal after the fetus has a heartbeat. The measure did not make exceptions for rape, incest, or the life or health of the mother. The Ohio Senate is actually planning on reconsidering the bill during its lameduck session.
- Conservatives have been fighting at the state level to defund Planned Parenthood. An Ohio House Committee just cleared a bill that would strip $1.7 million from Planned Parenthood clinics in the state. This, despite the fact that “exit polls from Election Day showed that 56 percent of Ohioans support legal abortion all or most of the time, while just 39 percent thought it should be illegal”. Anti-abortion legislative attempts do not reflect the will of the people, but the will of a fanatical minority trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.
- In 2011, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.R. 358, which would override legal protections for the life and health of pregnant women. H.R. 358 would give health providers the right to “exercise their conscience” during medical emergencies, by, for example, refusing to perform abortions.
- The Ninth Circuit Court will review a case that tests the constitutionality of an Arizona law that was signed by Governor Jan Brewer in April. The law bans all abortion procedures beyond 20 weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period.
- According to the NYT, in October 2012, “a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a 2004 Ohio law that limits a woman’s right to choose to have a first-trimester abortion with the drug mifepristone, rather than undergoing surgery…By mandating a protocol that is no longer medically supportable, Ohio’s law leaves women who might safely opt for a medication abortion between 49 and 63 days of pregnancy with only a surgical option. Women who choose a medication abortion earlier in the first trimester are forced to consume three times more medication than needed, increasing the risk of side effects. “
- Religious groups are legally challenging portions of health care reform which requires employers to cover contraception. In July and October, respectively, judges in Colorado and Michigan ruled in favor of Catholic employers who refused to cover contraception for employees. These two cases are just the tip of the iceberg: “Individuals, businesses, hospitals, schools and universities have filed more than three dozen lawsuits challenging the requirement for employers and health plans to cover contraceptives.”
- And let’s not forget that the Republican Party platform opposes abortion without rape or incest exceptions