For most of the last two years, I've approached every action of our state government with trepidation and dread.
What's new? At this month's newspeak-soaked "Wisconsin Right to Life Legislative Conference," Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos talked up a forced-ultrasound bill just like the one that made a stinky splash in Virginia (another state I nearly moved to) a year ago. In order to be legally permitted to remove an unconscious, parasitic clump of cells from their bodies, women must endure an ultrasound procedure for no reason or purpose other than to frighten, traumatize, or shame them. In order to receive an accurate ultrasound during the first trimester (which usually is the case), the woman must strip down and have a probe forced into her vagina. And in the words of Fitz yet again: "This bill is a priority. It is long overdue."
Don't forget that the people who partake in abortion are already in high-stress situations often induced by rape, accidents, or lack of access to contraception as it is. Don't forget that there are already a litany of roadblocks to access on the Wisconsin books as it is, including counterproductive waiting periods and shame-inducing parental consents. Don't forget that these folks tried to push an absolutist "personhood" amendment as well. Don't forget that the legislature has already gone crazy, defunding Planned Parenthood (oblivious to the breadth of secular health services they provide), forcing insurers to not cover abortion as a procedure even if it's their normal policy, repealing equal pay (exacerbating the financial situations that unwanted pregnancies wreak), repealing sex education directives (directly setting kids up for unwanted pregnancies through lack of information), and then some.
Don't forget that none of this agenda is brought upon by facts or empirical evidence. It's brought about by the notion evidenced in Christianity and common to nearly every religion in the world that women are inferior to men and should suffer consequences for sex. This is evidenced in Catholic doctrines of "natural law" and authority, where hospitals let patients die rather than upset their god by performing an abortion on them...and although the evangelical protestant outlook used to be more flexible, it started taking the position of Catholicism in the late 1970s for political expediency. It's evidenced by the fact that opposition to abortion is tied to opposition to contraception access and comprehensive sex-ed in the political theater, even though the latter two directly help to reduce unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and other woes and reduce the necessity for abortion to happen in the first place. If women are forced to undergo physical trauma and duress for months on end that could be safely avoided, if they're forced to give birth against their will to children that they don't have the financial ability to care for and would resent or mistreat, if they're driven to drinking bleach or turpentine in desperation, if they bleed to death of a punctured bowel in their bathroom with a coathanger in hand because safe and legal abortion services were unavailable...it's fine. They're sluts and they deserve it. Along with gay rights issues, there's no more blatant example of people enforcing religious bullshit at the expense of real human lives than this.
And it's going on nationwide. More anti-woman legislation was passed in 2011 than in any other year in history, 2012 and 2013 haven't been much of a let-up, and the dialogue has completely usurped one of the two major political parties. Not to be outdone in the Lake Michigan watershed, Michigan toyed around with an transvaginal ultrasound bill of their own. And in Indiana, SB 371 is slated to force women to endure two ultrasounds under threat of fines and punishment...one before an abortion, and one after.
(Also on Flickr.)