With state legislatures and Congress going after abortion full force, “personhood” laws cropping up around the country, and even victims of rape and incest facing an increasingly callous, mostly male army of anti-abortion zealots in elected office, American women’s right to decide whether to give birth has never been in greater jeopardy.
From the Daily Beast:http://reidreport.com/blog/wp-admin/post-new.php
Underground abortions have returned to the United States, just as pro-choice activists have warned for years. And women have started going to jail for the crime of ending their own pregnancies, or trying to.
This week Jennie L. McCormack, a 32-year-old mother of three from eastern Idaho, was arrested for self-inducing an abortion. According to the Associated Press, McCormack couldn’t afford a legal procedure, and so took pills that her sister had ordered online. For some reason, she kept the fetus, which police found after they were called by a disapproving acquaintance. She now faces up to five years in prison, as well as a $5,000 fine.
Idaho recently banned abortions after 20 weeks, and McCormack’s fetus was reportedly between five and six months old. But according to Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, under Idaho law, McCormack could have been arrested even if she’d been in her first trimester because self-induced abortion is illegal in all circumstances. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an 8- or 10- or 12-week abortion,” says Kolbi-Molinas. “If you do what you could get lawfully in a doctor’s office—what you have a constitutional right to access in a doctor’s office—they can throw you in jail and make you a convicted felon.”
While horrific, McCormack’s case is not unique. In recent years, several women have been arrested on suspicion of causing their own abortions, or attempting to. Most have come from conservative rural states with few clinics and numerous restrictions on abortion. In America’s urban centers and liberal enclaves, the idea of women being prosecuted for taking desperate measures to end their pregnancies might seem inconceivable, a never-again remnant of the era before Roe v. Wade. In fact, it’s a slowly encroaching reality.
Read the rest here.
Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled House crammed its docket with abortion bills this year — though they took up not a single jobs bill. And literally hundreds of anti-abortion bills were taken up in state legislatures across the U.S.
The supposedly liberty-loving tea party movement has been completely consumed by “forced birth” zealotry.
But perhaps the most radical new tactic of the Christian right, which makes no attempt to hide its goal of controlling American life in every conceivable aspect, including the most intimate personal decisions, despite their being a distinct (and declining) minority within the population, are the so-called “personhood amendments“, which are sweeping across the country at an alarming pace. Here’s how a moderate Republican group describes them:
Radical members of the personhood movement are progressively moving forward in initiating personhood legislation within state legislators. If personhood legislation is passed and enacted into law, reproductive health and individual liberties face severe threats.
Personhood amendments serve as modifications to a state’s constitution establishing a legal definition of what constitutes a person – granting those rights and protections. If enacted, these initiatives will not only ban abortion in every instance but potentially prohibit women access to emergency contraception, birth control and in-vitro fertilization.
That site also lists the pending “personhood” amendments by state, and how close they are to passage. These amendments are so radical, they would make it a felony for a doctor to remove an ectopic pregnancy (such pregnancies are not viable, and could kill the woman carrying one), and would outlaw contraception entirely.
Clearly, the Christian right’s new tactic is to hurl a barrage of forced birth laws at the states and at the federal level, egging on legal challenges they hope will wind up in the right wing Roberts Supreme Court, where the ideological gang of four can be counted on to take the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. The only question in that case would be Justice Kennedy, who has proven quite amenable to many of his right wing colleague’s arguments.
If one of these laws were to wind up in front of the Court, women’s right to determine what happens inside their own bodies, or even to resist a government order to bear the child of a rapist, would be in the hands of one man.