Reproductive Rights Updates: AZ, KS, MS, VA

[Content Note: Reproductive rights.]

Misty is otherwise disposed today, so I'm bringing you the latest in anti-autonomy fuckery. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY! Here is how Republicans are celebrating women and other people with uteri!

In Arizona, the state senate has passed a bill that allows doctors to not inform pregnant patients of prenatal issues that might lead them to seek an abortion: "It's called a 'wrongful birth' bill and it's all about preventing women from having an abortion, even if it kills them. The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that gives doctors a free pass to not inform pregnant women of prenatal problems because such information could lead to an abortion. In other words, doctors can intentionally keep critical health information from pregnant women and can't be sued for it." Awesome. [H/T to KYBOOMU.]

In Kansas, "the chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee said the panel will move forward on an anti-abortion bill this week, despite concerns from University of Kansas Medical Center officials about what it might mean to the institution's accreditation." Got that? A bill designed to prevent "any state agency or state employee from participating in an abortion" may cause one of the state universities to lose its accreditation, as OB/GYN residents are required to learn the procedure, but OH WELL.

In Mississippi, the legislature "is considering nearly two dozen bills and constitutional amendments all aimed at limiting abortion in a state that already has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country and just one abortion clinic," including requiring notarized parental consent for abortions on minors. Parental consent is already required; now the state wants it notarized. I don't even know where to begin with this shit.

In Virginia, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell has signed the mandatory ultrasound bill, despite nationwide protest and outrage.
The bill sparked national debate this month over a provision that would have required many women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds, which opponents decried as medically unnecessary and physically invasive. McDonnell, a conservative who opposes abortion rights, ultimately requested that mandate be stripped. The Virginia House of Delegates passed a revised version last week that allows women to "reject" a transvaginal ultrasound and instead opt for an abdominal ultrasound, which generally yields less information in the early stages of a pregnancy.

In a statement Wednesday, McDonnell reiterated his support for the bill, which he argues will provide additional information that "can help the mother make a fully informed decision" about having an abortion.

"This bill does not legally alter a woman's ability to make a choice regarding her pregnancy," the statement said. "It does, however, put Virginia in line with 23 other states that have some type of requirement that a woman be offered a view of an ultrasound before an abortion can be performed."

The bill is slated to go into effect on July 1.
Literally, if you are arguing that an ultrasound is necessary to help a person "make a fully informed decision" about abortion, you are implying that women et. al. are TOO FUCKING STUPID TO KNOW THERE'S A FETUS IN THERE. It's not like an ultrasound provides any other information. This is just despicable nonsense predicated on the bullshit assumption that if only a pregnant person gets a look at the TINY BABY, zie will snap out of hir murderous fever-dream and change hir mind about terminating the pregnancy.

I don't know how many different ways I can say this, and I've already said it what feels like 3,000 times in the last six years, but forcing a pregnant person to stare at an ultrasound will not change the fact that that person does not want to have a child. Even if it changes hir mind about terminating the pregnancy, it doesn't change whatever circumstances brought hir to an abortion clinic in the first place.

A pregnant woman who walks into an abortion clinic and walks out after being coerced by the state into keeping the pregnancy walks out just as devoid of the will to parent, or just as lacking in options, or just as un- or underemployed, just as broke, just as in debt, just as uninsured, just as lacking daycare, just as unable to care for herself and/or her existing children, just as in need of medication that she can't take while pregnant, just as likely to pass on a fatal recessive genetic disorder, just as enmeshed in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, just the same as she was when she walked in.

She'll just have been guilted into making sacrifices she doesn't want to make, to honor someone else's mistaken perceptions about her morality.

All of these "LOOK IT'S A BABY!" barriers to termination are utter hogwash, rooted in the damnable fairy tale that women et. al. are incapable of making the best decisions for themselves and their own bodies (and, frequently, for the children they already have).

The reality is this: There is an inextricable link between the economy, the funding of social services, and abortion. If "pro-lifers" really wanted women et. al. to want to have babies, they would stop forcing them to look at ultrasounds and start arguing for universal healthcare, just for a fucking start.

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