Last fall, a bunch of Republicans ran for Congress and state legislatures on a platform promising fiscal diligence and attention to the unemployment problem. As it turns out, that was just lip service. The real goal these folks have pursued since they took office is to use their newly elected power to attack women, their healthcare, and their right to make decisions about their bodies. Unemployment is still north of 8.5% but Republicans want to address the problem of abortion.
Yesterday, the state of Texas adopted a law which would require a woman seeking an abortion to have a sonogram 24 hours before the abortion procedure. The purpose of the sonogram is to ensure that the woman knows she's pregnant with potential human life. A baby, as it were, and not a guppy.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to on a plan to ensure that no insurance provider in America will provide coverage for abortion. Under this arrangement, women may obtain an abortion, but only if they can pay for it out of their own pocket. Currently, individuals and employers do not have to pay taxes on income used to pay for insurance premiums. Under the House Bill, insurance premiums which cover abortion services would be excluded from that tax deduction. An insurance company may still cover abortion services but the money used by employers to pay for that premium is no longer tax exempt. Practically speaking, insurance companies and employers are likely to simply remove abortion care from their policies so as to avoid dealing with the giant abortion coverage accounting morass the House saw fit to create. The good news is that the federal bill will go nowhere in the Senate; President Obama has vowed to veto it. The bad news is that women are being treated as if their right to control the fate of their own bodies is neither guaranteed or respected.
Though I normally make clear that my opinion is just that, on this issue I'm going to go a little further and speak for women. I feel comfortable asserting that the vast majority of women understand that pregnancy entails potential human life. We don't need Texas to explain that to us.
When you're pregnant and wish to be pregnant, that prospect is both exhilarating and terrifying. On balance, a women who wishes to be pregnant is thrilled by the prospect and all that it entails. But if you're pregnant and wish not be pregnant, there's no question that you know a baby is on the way. And if you're seeking an abortion, it's because you are not ready to bring a new life into this world. To suggest otherwise is to demean millions of women who daily struggle to raise the children that they have. I can think of no legislature in this nation willing to vote for policies which limit how men may use their bodies. Why? Because a man's body is his, and his right to control its destiny and fate is protected by the law and the Constitution.
What a shame that women cannot make the same claim.