The Right’s War on Women Continues…at the State Level

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

On the National Level

In late January, I wrote a post titled Rape Redefined and Brought to You by the US House of Representatives in which I talked about members of Congress—mostly Republicans—who were attempting to “redefine” what the only REAL kind of rape is—that would be “forcible rape.” (I wasn’t aware there was any other kind of rape.) These Congressmen were proposing legislation that would no longer consider the following types of sexual assault as rape: The rapes of women with limited mental capacity and rapes in which women were drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol.

Last week, Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw) wrote a post titled The Right’s War on Women in which he discussed legislation proposed by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) that would eliminate the entire budget for Title X. Lawrence wrote: “Rep. Pence and his fellow Republicans are trying to defund Planned Parenthood because it receives millions from Title X funds to assist women in their family planning and health matters. In order to try to end abortions without testing the strength of Roe v. Wade in the courts, the sponsors and backers of this bill don’t care if low-income women suffer by not getting the health care that they so desperately need. Many of these same legislators also backed the repeal of the Affordable Health Care act which would also assist low-income women get affordable health care.”

And Now from the State of Georgia

Just yesterday, I read about State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia who is introducing legislation in his state that would require proof that a miscarriage—aka a spontaneous abortion—was the result of natural causes. If this legislation passes, there would have to be proof that a woman’s miscarriage was the result of natural causes. If a woman can’t prove that—she might face felony charges!

From a piece in Daily Kos: “Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can’t tell how it happened, then those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it. Yup, we’ve been waiting for someone to suggest this–and Franklin has.”

Here’s the link to Franklin’s bill:
http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display.aspx?Legislation=31965

There are millions and millions of American women who suffer/have suffered miscarriages through no fault of their own. Suffering a miscarriage can be an emotionally wrenching experience for a woman. Imagine losing a much wanted pregnancy–and then having to prove the miscarriage was the result of natural causes. How does a woman do that, Rep. Franklin? Can you explain to the women of Georgia how they should go about gathering evidence to prove that they haven’t committed a felony when they have a miscarriage?

By the way, Rep. Franklin also introduced a bill to change Georgia’s criminal codes so that  victims of rape, stalking, and family violence could only be referred to as “accusers” until defendants have been convicted.

FYI 

Here are some statistics on miscarriage for you:

From WebMed

Frequency of Miscarriages in the United States

The overall miscarriage rate is reported as 15-20%, which means 15-20% of recognized pregnancies result in miscarriage. The frequency of spontaneous miscarriage increases further with maternal age. With the development of highly sensitive assays for hCG levels, pregnancies can be detected prior to the expected next period. When these highly sensitive hCG assays are used early, the magnitude of pregnancy loss significantly increases to about 60-70%. Late implantation by the conceptus beyond the usual 8-10 days after ovulation also has an increased risk of miscarriage.

About 80% of miscarriages occur within the first trimester. The frequency of miscarriage decreases with increasing gestational age. Recurrent miscarriage, defined as 2-3 pregnancy losses, affects about 1% of all couples.

From American Pregnancy Association

Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.

Sources

Daily Kos

Huffington Post

Washington Monthly (Political Animal)

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

262 thoughts on “The Right’s War on Women Continues…at the State Level”

  1. raff, One has to admire Rep. Clem’s forbearance, but I am afraid I would have been in the courthouse on this long ago. I am not particularly forgiving about stuff like this.

  2. Speaking of medicine and insurance, here is what happens when regulation of the industry is suspended. Representative Brian Clem’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Suzuki, testified before Rep. Chip Shield;s committee about her experience with her insurance company. Seem that Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon has decided that she is dead. She testified that she is not dead yet. Regence denied her major medical claim on the basis that she was dead. For seven years she gave the insurer evidence that she is not dead and they still wouldn’t pay.

    The meaty part of the testimony starts halfway throgh this fifteen minute video, at about 8:30.

    For all those who would rely on voluntary compliance with companies like this, be careful what you wish for. You might be dead and not know it.

  3. Maury, what the hell has that IRS thing got to do with socialized medicine? That has to with the anti-choice/anti-abortion crowd trying to make life miserable for women, whether they seek an abortion or not. This insane legislation will not pass, of course, but if it did, more and more doctors would say to hell with it and go to the house.

    FYI, all medicine is socialized to one degree or another. Many doctors would not be able to stay in practice if they did not take Medicare and Medicaid patients. If it were not for those socialist programs, one of two things would happen. When you got sick and went to the doctor, there would be an “Out of Business” sign on the door. Or, conversely, as you left the office visit fee would be about five or six times as much as you are used to paying. I know about these things. We are a family of doctors and health care professionals. This is a dinner table topic.

  4. whoops maybe socialized medicine isn’t such a good thing after all. You do know that is what will happen under socialized medicine if the moral majority ever have a majority.

    And I will be laughing my ass off. Yes there is a war on women being waged by both the Christian right and the left.

    The right and the left pushed for the Patriot Act and now look what we have. The left pushed for socialized medicine and look what we are going to get. The assault on individual rights from both the left and the right is never ending. And all because you yoyo’s don’t like free markets, unbelievable.

    So we have the right in our bedrooms and the left in our wallets. Maybe you will both kill each other off and the rest of us can live free and in peace. Nah, it’s too much to hope for. What will probably happen is you will join forces and create a totalitarian state. We are almost there now.

  5. rafflaw,

    Exactly. I don’t see any difference between the Christian fundies and the Islamic fundies … they are ALL bat-shit crazy.

    “The inmates have taken over the mental hospital.”

    As I was typing the intro to the article, I was thinking about padded rooms and white buckled jackets … thanks for voicing what I didn’t!

  6. Stamford,
    Georgia is fast becoming the Arizona of the SouthEast. The inmates have taken over the mental hospital. This latest sue the doctor bill is one more example of the American Taliban. They are real and they are here and they are pushing to bring us to a rule of law based on their bible.

  7. Jesus Christ – Franklin has severe mental issues with members of the opposite sex and it appears he has company:

    Georgia Bill Would Allow Wrongful Death Suits on Behalf of Sharon Lerner
    March 16, 2011

    Meet Stacey Abrams.

    As Georgia’s House minority leader, Abrams is one of the few things standing between the women of Georgia and some of the strangest and most awful antiabortion laws we’ve ever seen. Happily, she’s also “the smartest person in the Georgia legislature,” according Leola Reis, vice president for external affairs at Planned Parenthood Southeast in Atlanta. Since she’s been in office, she’s been quick and vocal in explaining how a string of proposed abortion restrictions would affect women.

    Members of Congress—including some who oppose abortion—are beginning to see recent attempts to defund contraception for what they are: attacks on the American family.

    Abrams has her hands full. Especially today, which is “crossover day,” the last day a bill can move from either the Georgia House or Senate into the other chamber. From the way Georgia political veterans tell it, anything can happen. I believe them.

    After all, the state has already brought us a bill that would allow women who miscarry to be prosecuted. Under that gem, sponsored by Rev. Bobby Franklin, women who have miscarriages and are unable to prove there was no “human involvement” could face felony charges and life in prison.

    The only comfort I have in thinking about this ridiculous provision is that, were it to ever become law, I’m pretty sure the woman I know who has experienced nine miscarriages—each more devastating than the one before it—would personally track down Franklin and shred him.

    The good news is that Franklin’s proposal, which is blatantly unconstitutional, would outlaw all abortions as well as IVF, and has been proposed to no effect in previous years, has virtually no chance of passing.

    The bad news is that while many of us have been spending precious time and energy pondering it, abortion opponents in Georgia have been cooking up other bizarre bills, some of which now have far better chances of succeeding than Franklin’s.

    Enter Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk, the author of what may be the strangest antiabortion bill to come out of Georgia yet, which is really saying something. I’ve been calling his most recent proposal the sue-if-you’re-displeased-with-her-choice bill. (It doesn’t have a better name yet, since, as far as I can tell, it’s the first of its kind to reach a legislative body.)

    Loudermilk’s bill, which is being considered today, would allow a woman—or the members of her own family, including an abusive husband—to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a doctor who has performed an abortion. The bill spells out that the damages for the wrongful death of the fetus would be equal to those for an adult person. And it would allow the suits even if the doctors involved followed all laws regarding abortion and if the women involved don’t consent to the suit. [Editor’s note: Loudermilk’s bill, SB 210, passed through Georgia’s senate in the evening of March 16, and now moves to the state’s House.]

    Loudermilk is the same legislator who recently did a bait-and-switch at a hearing at which legislators were supposed to be considering a fetal pain bill and suddenly found themselves considering a bill that would have shut all abortion clinics in the state by requiring that all abortions be performed in hospitals.

    That bill, thankfully, was tabled. But just in time for Crossover Day, he’s come up with the sue-if-you’re-displeased bill, something he managed to get passed out of the Senate’s rules committee only by getting some freshman representative who isn’t on the committee and had no idea what he was talking about to be present so he could have a quorum. The bill then went on to the next step of the legislative process with only a few minutes of discussion.

    Here’s hoping that Georgia legislators will soon give it a lengthier review and stop it from going further.

    These days, there seems to be an overabundance of guys like Franklin and Loudermilk, who push the legislative envelope to inflict their vision on women. (Here, just for fun, I’m making them so tiny you can barely see their ties.)

    But, over the past weeks, I’ve also been watching amazing legislators push back against this wave of extremists. So, since this is my last post on the subject for now, I want to end by recognizing just a few: Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who challenged Arizona Representative Trent Frank’s statement that pro-choice legislators support “killing children;” Wisconsin Democrat Gwen Moore, who testified about becoming a mother at 18; and California’s Jacky Speier, who spoke about the end of her own pregnancy.

    There are, thankfully, many more, including some who will surely fight back in this afternoon’s hearing on the Smith and Pitts bills in the House Ways and Means Committee. So, to them, Stacey Abrams and everyone else taking on the wackos for the rest of us, thanks. And happy crossover day!

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/159260/georgia-bill-would-allow-wrongful-death-suits-behalf-fetuses?rel=emailNation

  8. rafflaw,

    “Stamford,
    It is refreshing to see the right to life crowd on the defensive. I was unaware that some so-called clinics are just their to try to “convince” women to not have an abortion.”

    Not only is it refreshing, but it’s about time. Oh, yes! The clinics advertise as places women can seek help – medical help from medical staff – just to be bombarded with anti-choice propoganda. Abortion and birth control are not discussed as viable options; women are told birth control doesn’t work and push “scientific findings” regarding abortion that have no basis in scientific fact whatsoever. They guilt women into continuing the pregnancy with religious dogma and highly misleading information.

  9. Stamford,
    It is refreshing to see the right to life crowd on the defensive. I was unaware that some so-called clinics are just their to try to “convince” women to not have an abortion.

  10. I fail to see how this is a First Amendment issue. Additionally, I’m curious as to how this differs from state legislatures nationwide are subjecting forced ultrasounds on women, and forcing doctors to disclose scientifically unverified information to women? Bueller??

    Well, at any rate, good on Mikey:

    Mayor Signs Pregnancy Center Law, Setting Stage for Abortion Battle

    By Michael Howard Saul

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law a bill that will require crisis pregnancy centers to disclose whether or not they offer abortions, a move that abortion-rights opponents vowed to challenge in court.

    After listening to critics call the legislation a violation of First Amendment rights, the mayor said he has a clear conscience in signing it. He stopped short of saying whether he thought the law would survive a legal challenge.

    “In terms of the intent of the bill, I’m not in favor of abortion — I’m in favor of a woman’s right to choose. Period,” Bloomberg said. “I have the same moral questions that I think any rational person would have. But, in the end, you have to make a decision, and I’ve always been pro-choice.”

    The new law, which takes effect in 120 days, requires all pregnancy-services centers to disclose whether they provide abortions, emergency contraception and prenatal care. Those that do not offer such services will be required to make referrals to organizations that do. The information would have to be posted in English and Spanish, both at the centers and in any advertisements.

    Bloomberg emphasized that the new law is aimed at “providing information.”

    “Whether it goes far enough and whether it should cover other kinds of institutions is something that the City Council should consider, and if there’s appropriate need for further disclosure in other cases, we should provide it,” said the mayor as he prepared to sign the bill.

    As for the legality of the new law, Bloomberg did not attempt to defend it from charges that is unconstitutional. “You can challenge it in court,” he told opponents. “If it’s constitutional or not, I just don’t know.”

    Only two critics spoke at the bill signing: Chris Slattery, president of Expectant Mother Care Frontline Pregnancy Centers, which operates about a dozen centers in the city that would be affected by the law; and Tiffany Barrans, legal director for the American Center for Law & Justice, which is preparing a legal challenge.

    Slattery said he founded his company 26 years ago, and in that time more than 40,000 girls and women have chosen “life.” He added: “The process of putting together this bill, I thought, was one of the most intolerant, unscientific, biased campaigns that I have ever seen in my life.”

    Slattery said the majority of council members refused to meet with him, and no lawmakers or members of their staffs visited one of his centers.

    “I think this bill is an attack on the weak,” Slattery said as he stood at a microphone across the room from Bloomberg. “It does not comply with justice and it does not uphold the constitution of the United States.”

    A federal judge recently struck down a similar law in Baltimore on grounds that it violated the First Amendment. But Council Member Jessica Lappin, the chief sponsor of the New York City law, said she believes her legislation is sufficiently different.

    “This bill that the mayor’s signing today is about truth in advertising,” she said. “This bill only regulates centers that are deceiving women into thinking that they are in a medical facility when they are not. And there is a real harm and danger to a woman who thinks she’s being seen by a doctor or a midwife or a nurse when she is not.”

    Lappin said she is a strong proponent of First Amendment rights. “But you do not have the right to stand in scrubs and give medically inaccurate information to a woman who is seeking unbiased health care,” she said.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/03/16/mayor-signs-pregnancy-center-law-setting-stage-for-abortion-battle/

  11. From Huffington Post (3/9/2011)
    Indiana Bill Would Force Doctors To Tell Women That Having An Abortion May Lead To Breast Cancer
    By Amanda Terkel
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/09/indiana-women-abortions-breast-cancer_n_833388.html

    Excerpt:
    WASHINGTON — Hundreds of protesters rallied at the Indiana statehouse on Tuesday in opposition to restrictive abortion measures that would, among other things, require doctors to tell pregnant women about a controversial theory that says having an abortion could lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.

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