Women’s health care rights under siege; attempts to silence the rights and needs of women
In the past two years, state and federal legislators have introduced many bills intended to limit women’s reproductive rights and health care choices. Republican Clay Scofield, Alabama State Senator, recently introduced Senate Bill 12, which would require a woman to have an ultra sound (the first draft stating that this would be a vaginal ultrasound), and to hear a verbal explanation of what the ultrasound showed, before being allowed to have a legal abortion. The Republican controlled state legislature in Virginia recently tabled similar legislation in response to citizen outrage. The Virginia Bill would have required women seeking an abortion, to undergo a medically unnecessary vaginal probe (without her consent, mind you). In seven states, laws to this effect have already been passed. The “Personhood Law” (a law which would effectively outlaw most forms of contraception) was just passed in Oklahoma’s Senate and is being brought before many other Republican controlled state legislatures
Federal GOP Legislators are up in arms over a provision in the Affordable Health Care Act specifying that insurance companies must cover contraceptive health care for woman. In response, Republican Representative Blunt introduced legislation in the form of an Amendment to the Transportation Bill. The “Blunt Amendment” would allow employers, to deny any health care coverage which the employer finds objectionable on religious or moral grounds. The “Blunt Amendment” passed in the house and was narrowly defeated in the Senate. Health care insurance coverage, as we know it, is under siege. In fact, reproductive rights of U.S. women are endangered.
Apparently, in the opinion of many of our legislators, women do not have the mental or moral capacity to make decisions determining their own reproductive futures. These legislators wish to overturn Roe vs. Wade, to make affordable contraception unavailable and to outlaw most forms of birth control. While condemning “Big Government,” many GOP legislators plan to pass laws limiting reproductive medical decisions of each and every U.S. female and to hand much of this power over to the state. Well, there is small government for you.
Last year, the FBI recognized that vaginal penetration without the woman’s consent is rape. This is important in light of the fact that Virginia’s law demands a vaginal ultrasound with or without the consent of the woman. Virginia’s proposed law can only be viewed as punitive. This procedure is costly, time consuming and invasive. According to FBI definition, it is state sanctioned rape. This law is designed to humiliate and shame. Women seeking abortions, for whatever reason, are already facing their own moral and physical challenges and should not be subjected to governmental punishment. To add to this absurdity, last week Representative Darrell Issa convened a five man panel on women’s health issues including birth control. A five MAN panel, not a woman to be seen.
Efforts to outlaw abortion have not yet been successful, though continuous efforts have been underway for years. In their religious zeal to punish woman who choose to be sexually active (confusingly, either within or outside marriage), state and federal legislators are introducing bills making it increasingly difficult for women to obtain this legal procedure.
Representative Blunt’s amendment, allowing insurance companies and employers to deny insurance coverage based on religious or moral conviction, is an extremely dangerous piece of legislative trash. HIV? Deny coverage! Only those who engage in immoral acts and illegal intravenous drug users get infected with HIV. Well, there has been the odd blood transfusion infection but, obviously, if God allowed that to happen he must have reason. How about the infected woman of a straying husband or intravenous drug user? Bad choice, lady. If you are going to be so immoral as to choose poorly, you should accept the consequences. The child of an infected mother? Well, there again, God did allow this to happen for a reason. Even vaccinations to protect children from deadly disease could be denied from employee insurance policy on moral grounds.
Obesity is a health problem in this country. Many very large and prosperous companies are making huge profits selling soft drinks and sugary cereals. But, say a companies’ CEO has a moral problem with obesity related illness. Heart attack? Well, you are pretty fat. Don’t exercise, do you? Gluttony is a sin. No coverage. Mmmmmm…..seems moral objection could be economically expedient.
To muddy the argument, conservative legislators have characterized their objection to contraceptive coverage as a religious rights issue. Baloney! This is tyranny by the few over the many. Those with religious grounds for not using birth control need not. Those who want to use birth control will have affordable coverage. The objective of those seeking to impose these stifling new laws is to outlaw, or at least make very difficult, birth control and abortion. Oh, and maybe save a buck or two for large employers.
Every woman has the right, and the responsibility, to make her own reproductive decisions and to seek the best preventative health care available to her. Women die each year from complications due to unwanted pregnancies. Some families cannot afford another pregnancy or another child. These families and individuals deserve the right to make the best choices for their health and for their families. A society which denies those rights is irresponsible and immoral.
While there is declining legislative support for contraceptive availability and increasingly onerous laws restricting accessibility to abortion, insurance plans do cover drugs to combat erectile dysfunction. Men are apparently capable of making this decision without government intervention. And, there seems to be no moral or religious objections. I am sure the use of these drugs is solely to facilitate pregnancy and propagation of the species. Certainly no man would take this drug for pleasure! Thank God, there is no opposition to insurance coverage for men with erectile dysfunction! Now, there would be a real health care crisis.
Laws which subject women to a vaginal probe before allowing legal abortion, or allow employers to deny affordable health care coverage based upon individual religious or moral convictions may well be challenged before the Supreme Court. This body will have the last word on the legality of such laws. Given the increasingly conservative make up of the Supreme Court, one might fear the court will interpret United States law to favor government takeover of individual rights. There is also the chance the Court would decide that under the guise of religious freedom, an employer could deny health care coverage. Maybe, the importance of the 2012 Presidential election lies primarily in the fact that the person elected in 2012, will likely be appointing one or two Supreme Court Judges.
Wait a minute!!! If legislators wish to end abortion and use of contraceptives why not provide coverage for drugs that cause erectile dysfunction? This solves the whole problem. No erections, no need for that immoral birth control! No erections, no abortions. Each and every legislator, every insurer with religious or moral objection to birth control and abortion, should, nay must, support medical insurance coverage for drugs which cause erectile dysfunction. Let’s make those drugs readily and economically available. How much easier this will be than trying to control the actions of a bunch of immoral, mentally deficient women. Many male legeslators agree there is a problem. Here is how they can fix it. What is Darrell Issa’s phone number? How about Representative Blunt’s email? They will be delighted!!!