Friday, January 18, 2013

After 40 Years of Roe, War on Women Persists

Next week will be quite a momentous one for several reasons. However, we haven't heard too much about one of them. So let's change that.

Next Tuesday will be the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark US Supreme Court decision that required safe and legal access to abortion nationwide. It's amazing to think of how far women's rights have advanced in the past four decades. However, it's also irritating to think of how many setbacks women have also endured since then.

Think about it. Especially in recent years, women's reproductive rights have been under attack. And it's gone deeper than just some abortion procedures. Even contraception has been under attack! Remember this?

Remember this?

You should. And make sure to remember this.

And no, Nevada, we're not immune from this. In fact, none other than our own "Trust me, I'm a doctor!" Joe Heck uttered these words when asked about insurance coverage of contraception: "The fact is this has nothing to do with women’s health issues.”

Really? Seriously? How could Joe Heck say that? [...]

We have a whole lot of women here in Nevada who regularly use contraception. Why should they face so many obstacles in accessing it? And why doesn't Heck ever propose putting up the same kinds of obstacles on men accessing Viagra and Cialis?

Last year, Nevada's own Dean Heller and Joe Heck caught quite a lot of flak for fighting in the G-O-TEA War on Women. Yet even though the election ended, the assault on women's health has not.

In fact, one familiar warrior has returned for more.

Ryan co-sponsored a new fetal personhood bill, the “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” this time without his buddy Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, which includes a provision to allow rapists to sue their victims to prevent them from terminating any resulting pregnancy. [...]

And just to make sure the gender gap in favor of Democrats becomes permanent, the bill again includes the infuriating provision allowing rapists to sue their victims seeking to terminate any resulting pregnancy. As if having your bodily autonomy taken away as the result of an attack isn’t enough, Paul Ryan wants to make sure, victims still don’t have control over their own bodies after the rape.

So Paul Ryan is again declaring that his ideology is more important than women's lives. And really, he wants to give all this deference to rapists? Aren't women people, too?

And then, there's the daily struggle just to access any reproductive health services. Rachel Maddow noted this last night.

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Next Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of Roe. Yet even though women officially have a Constitutional right to access the reproductive health care that they need, reality is far more complicated. There are so many barriers, and they've mostly been put in place by the radical "tea party" right. Even as Congressional Republican leaders are telling their members not to obsessed over the definition of rape, they continue to attack women's health care with new threats to defund Planned Parenthood clinics, push extreme "zygote personhood" legislation, and ultimately declare that women should not have any control over their own health care decisions.

If Joe Heck, Dean Heller, and other Republicans are serious about "women's outreach" this year, they can begin by dropping their War on Women nonsense. Roe v. Wade has been settled law for 40 years. And women have the legal right to make their own health care decisions. Get over it.

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