"There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood". Yes, there is, and the Republicans passed the measure in the US House to not only defund Planned Parenthood, but to defund Title X as well, which provides preventative health services including breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV prevention education, pregnancy diagnosis and counseling to low-income families. Joan McCarter at Kos sums it up nicely:
Yep, culture of life. Cut off the means for millions of to have access to affordable birth control, thereby creating more unplanned pregnancies. Deny them affordable breast and cervical cancer screenings. Make sure they don't know how to use contraceptives, and even if they do, they don't have access to them.
Make sure that women can't get abortions safely and affordably by making sure insurance won't pay for it and hospitals can refuse to perform it, even if it means the death of the patient. These combined efforts will send more and more women into the hell created by monsters like Kermit Gosnell--the hell created by denying women access to affordable care.
That's what is happening at the federal level. It won't make it through the Senate, but it certainly gives notice of what the GOP has in mind should they take control of the chamber in 2012. Down here in the states, the war on women continues in various other ways that chip, chip, chip away at the right of choice. Even though the most egregious example of South Dakota's attempt at making the murder of doctors "justifiable homicide" has been shelved for now, you can find other stories where less government crowd is more than happy to introduce more government into the lives of pregnant women. Take a look around if you are so inclined.
Here in Michigan, the issue is basically flying under the radar for now, but there have been some odious bills introduced down in Lansing. All descriptions come from Michigan Votes. This features the Senate bills, keep in mind most legislation has companion bills introduced in the House as well:
Senate Bill 13 (Define fetus as an “individual” in statute)
Introduced by Sen. Mark Jansen (R) on January 19, 2011, to revise the definition of “individual” where it occurs in Michigan statutes, so that it includes an unborn fetus, unless this would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the legislature which created a statute.
Senate Bill 25 (Establish disposition of fetus regulations)
Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R) on January 19, 2011, to require a health facility to take into account the expressed wishes of the parents of a dead fetus, or just the mother if she is unmarried, and seek authorization before arranging the final disposition of the fetus.
Senate Bill 54 (Establish disposition of fetus regulations)
Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R) on January 20, 2011, to require a health facility to take into account the expressed wishes of the parents of a dead fetus, or just the mother if she is unmarried, and seek authorization before arranging the final disposition of the fetus. The bill would prohibit the cremation of an aborted fetus with medical waste, and authorize up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine for violations.
Senate Bill 55 (Penalites)
Introduced by Sen. Rick Jones (R) on January 20, 2011, Increase improper fetal remains disposal penalties to establish sentencing guidelines for the increased penalties proposed by House Bill 4119 for improper disposal of fetal remains.
Senate Bill 135 (Revise abortion parental authority waiver)
Introduced by Sen. David Robertson (R) on February 10, 2011, to revise the requirements for a court considering a petition from a minor for authority to get an abortion over the objection of her parents. The bill would require a court to consider the rebuttable presumption that a minor is not capable of providing informed consent for medical treatment. A waiver of parental denial could only be granted if the girl demonstrates a level of maturity based on various factors specified in the bill, or if her parents are neglectful or abusive. A girl whose petition was denied could not seek a waiver in another court division, but could appeal to a higher court.
Senate Bill 150 (Revise abortion ultrasound viewing detail)
Introduced by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on February 16, 2011, to revise a detail of the that requires that, if prior to or during the performance of an abortion a patient undergoes an ultrasound examination, the physician must provide the patient with the opportunity to view a the image before performing the abortion. The bill would require the ultrasound equipment used to be the most technologically advanced equipment in the facility.
Senate Bill 160 (Ban “partial birth abortion”)
Introduced by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on February 17, 2011, to prohibit “partial birth abortions” as defined in the bill, unless in a physician's reasonable medical judgment a partial-birth abortion is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury. The bill does not specify a "health of the mother" exception. Violation would be subject the abortion provider (but not the mother) to up to two years in prison and a $50,000 fine; the father could sue the physician for damages (but could not sue the mother). The bill contains a detailed list of “legislative findings” regarding this practice.
Senate Bill 161 (Ban partial birth abortion)
Introduced by Sen. Goeff Hansen (R) on February 17, 2011, to authorize sentencing guidelines for the “partial birth abortion” ban proposed by Senate Bill 160.
House Bill 4143 (Ban abortion coverage in state "Obamacare“ exchange)
Introduced by Rep. Jud Gilbert (R) on January 26, 2011, to prohibit any state “insurance exchange” created under the federalized health care law from including coverage for abortion except through the purchase of optional rider.
House Bill 4147 (Ban abortion coverage in state "Obamacare“ exchange)
Introduced by Rep. Jud Gilbert (R) on January 26, 2011, to prohibit any state “insurance exchange” created under the federalized health care law from including coverage for abortion except through the purchase of optional rider. This bill applies to Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.
The culture war is back, and it's directed right at women once again. Look for it to surface in the Michigan media once these bills start passing - because with the Republicans in total control, there is no stopping them now.
The only question now is how far they are willing to push it. The latest poll from EPIC shows a 50-43% pro-choice tilt among Michigan voters, and that poll was a sample that had more Republican and independent identification than Democrats, so over-reach on the issue might just backfire. They probably know it too, and that is why this slow but steady approach will continue - until women will find they have very little say in the matter at all.