I am a human being, too

Last night, I read this story about how Terry England (R-Georgia) is advocating HB 954, one of the many state bills attempting to make abortion illegal in actual practice, if not according to Federal law. Now, whether or not you are pro-choice or anti-choice, there is an inherent problem with these abortion bills that thus far absolutely none of the self-titled “pro-lifers” have even attempted to address: Sometimes medical reasons require the termination and/or removal of an nonviable fetus. Every one of us knows a woman who has had at least one miscarriage.

Terry England addresses this issue — in the most heartless, cruel way possible. Thist Republican representative of the citizens of Georgia is advocating that women who are carrying a stillborn fetus — or one that is likely to die of natural causes before birth — should have to carry the non-viable fetus until it is naturally expelled from their bodies. They will not be allowed to seek an abortion. His reasoning is that farmyard animals do this, so why not modern women?
For a Republican, I suppose this line of reasoning makes perfect sense. After all, Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) has de-funded healthcare for lower-income Texan women in his war against abortion. See, Texas already forbade taxpayer money from benefiting organizations that provide abortions, but decided that wasn’t enough, so they passed a law to cut off all taxpayer money from funding any clinics that have any affiliation whatsoever to an abortion provider, no matter how minor. A shared name can get your funding removed.
This will result in Planned Parenthood — which provides essential health services to women aside from abortions — shutting down across Texas. As bad as that is, it gets worse — this law to defund organizations affiliated in any way whatsoever with abortion providers actually runs afoul of Medicaid’s qualification rules — if any Republicans read this and are tempted to say it’s a Democrat/ Republican thing, here’s a pertinent quote for you:

Perry wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this month accusing his administration of “mandating which health providers the state of Texas must use” . . . But an HHS spokesperson told reporters on Thursday that this was not Obama’s decision and that the administrations hands are tied on the issue. “Medicaid law is very clear; a state may not restrict patients’ choice or providers . . . in 2005, Texas requested this same authority to restrict patients’ choices, and the Bush Administration did not grant it to them either.” — Huffington Post

That’s not all. Apparently it’s not enough for Republicans to attempt to remove our right to health care and family planning, they are also trying to remove resources for battered women. You read that right. The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was passed in 1994, and has enjoyed bipartisan support throughout it’s existence. It has been re-authorized by Congress twice without issue. The National Organization of Women hailed VAWA as, “the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades.”

This year, for the first time since it’s 1994 passage, Republicans are stonewalling the re-authorization of VAWA. Why? Because this years newly-introduced provisions include protections for gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence, extends the rights of Native American victims of domestic violence, and provides temporary asylum to Mexican victims of domestic violence. Republicans are crying foul, claiming these “unprecedented” (not; VAWA provisions have been introduced and passedbefore) provisions were put in to “make them look bad.” I’m sorry, but those provisions aren’t making you look bad, RNC.

Your inhumane inability to extend the hand of protection and care to those in need is what is making you look bad.

So, let’s count it off — so far, Republicans want to:
  • Force the government into your personal lives and businesses.
  • Rape you, your wives, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends with state-mandated intra-vaginal ultrasounds.
  • Withdraw the protection and funding of domestic violence programs.
  • Reduce access to women’s healthcare.
  • Force grieving pregnant women who need a medical abortion to carry a non-viable fetus to term or natural expulsion.
This is in addition, of course, to their attempts to legislate rampant homophobia into law and prevent lower-income and minority populations from voting. The whole thing is like a weird Twilight Zone episode — everyone seems to agree that the Republicans are screwing up in a massive way here, but they continue to double down on their dark comedy of errors.
Last night, I admit my spirits flagged. I have tried to remain optimistic, certain that the Republicans’ ongoing idiocy will be their undoing. I still believe that. In the meantime, however, their vicious, short-sighted cruelty is causing untold suffering for women across the country. I feel angry and helpless in the face of  all this, unable to help the women being betrayed and silenced by the very people who are supposed to be representing their interests. These should be non-issues! To quote the great Sojourner Truth:
That little man in black there say
a woman can’t have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn’t a woman
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!
I am a woman. I am a human being. I am a voter, I am a citizen of these United States of America, and I have just as much a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as any other citizen of this nation.   We already settled this question, well over a century ago.

See that? 100 years of progress.
My state has an election coming up. Our most recent governor has not always been the most popular or well liked, to put it mildly. I am worried that in the backlash against what many perceive to be Gov. Gregoire’s mishandling of our economy (hey, we weathered the recession much better than Texas did, or any red state, for that matter), a Republican governor might be elected.
Once, I wouldn’t have minded. There was a time I voted Republican. After I switched my party affiliation to Democrat, I still occasionally voted Republican — I voted for Rossi in his first run for Governor. But now? With the Republicans catering to a base of nutjob religious zealots? I wouldn’t vote Republican if you paid me. The saying is that actions speak louder than words, but in this case, the Republicans are pretty clear both in word and deed how little they value women.
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