Nowhere is the war on women more visible than in the actions of anti-choice politicians and activists who are wasting millions of dollars in their quest to overturn Roe v. Wade. The latest attack on women’s rights comes from Ohio, where 20 House Republicans signed on to a measure that seeks to ban all abortions even in cases of rape or incest. The bill, HB 565, also seeks to criminally charge those who have or perform abortions with homicide with a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.
Please re-read that. It is being suggested to kill a human being for having an abortion -- even in cases of rape or incest. The rapist wouldn’t even be charged as severely (take for example the case of Ohio college student Nicolas Cristescu who received five years in prison for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman). How does any of this make sense?
For their extreme measures to restrict reproductive rights, Ohio has been sued four times by the American Civil Liberties Union. Because of their stance, Ohio will spend several million dollars in attempt to uphold their suppressive bills. Millions of dollars. Those millions of dollars should go to proven measures to prevent abortion -- sexual education, free and easy access to birth control, including emergency contraception, and insurance coverage for family planning to name a few.
There appears to be some sanity amongst those who uphold the law as a federal judge blocked Mississippi from their attempt to create what was the most restrictive measure in the United States -- just days before Ohio’s HB 565 came along. On Monday, Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed a measure to ban abortion after 15 weeks -- it became law immediately. It was on Tuesday that a judge temporarily blocked the oppressive ruling.
Women’s rights are hanging in the balance and our battle has many fronts. One of the more contentious parts of the Health Care Bill has to do with abortion, which in turn is stalling efforts for Democrats and Republicans to agree and therefore becomes a detriment to our well beings, our care, our health. The Guttmacher Institute reports that 26 states restrict abortion coverage in any medical plan offered through insurance. This is just one statistic of many in the attempt to make abortion less accessible for all, but particularly for lower income women.
It’s shameful that now, 45 years after Roe v. Wade, this is still an issue. America’s abortion laws vary from state to state, but with the great divide that is only deepening due to the emergence of Trumpism many states are attempting stricter laws at a great price -- both financially and at the expense of women. Mississippi and Ohio are just two examples that happened this week. There are millions of dollars being spent to restrict a woman’s right to choose daily -- there are people who want to criminalize women for unwanted pregnancies, lawmakers who suggest the death penalty for a woman who decides she cannot have a child for reasons that are no one’s business but her own. Republicans continue to prove that they will not rest until every sliver of rights a woman has is taken away from her. These anti-choice extremists are terrorizing women.
Abortion must be legal and safe for all, not just for the women who have a pregnancy scare with republicans. Recall Rep. Tim Murphy, the staunch anti-choice congressman from Pennsylvania, who last year urged the woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion. Women, however, will not allow their America to turn into a dystopia where our autonomy is taken away, where our rights are an afterthought. We need to make sure we elect those who seek to improve and increase women’s rights. It’s terrifyingly clear there are too many in power who want to take our rights away. We will not go quietly back to the 1950s.