Perry & Kasich: War on Women Heats Up in Texas & Ohio

Texas-obby Pamela Powers Hanley

Teapublican Legislatures in Texas and Ohio have been working diligently in recent weeks on sexist laws aimed at the suppression of women.

Last week Texas State Senator Wendy Davisbecame a nationwide feminist hero when she single-handedly filibustered and stopped anti-choice, anti-woman legislation that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks and effectively close all but 5 abortion clinics in the state of Texas.

In response to Davis and the thousands of pro-choice protesters who flooded Austin yesterday, Governor Rick Perry vowed to ban abortions in the state of Texas and called another special session. The sole purpose of this new 30-day session is to pass the same anti-choice bill that failed last week, thanks to Davis and cheering pro-choice protesters inside the Legislative chamber.

Meanwhile in Ohio, another Teapublican Governor, John Kasich– surrounded by other old white men– quietly signed  one of the most draconian, anti-choice, anti-woman bills in the country this week. The Ohio legislation requires women seeking abortions to have a vaginal ultrasound (even if the woman doesn’t want one), defunds Planned Parenthood, requires stricter controls on abortion clinics which will cause some of them to close, and redefines pregnancy to begin at fertilization. (If some of this anti-woman nonsense sounds familiar, it’s because Arizona and other Teapubican states passed similar legislation in recent years.)

Perry and other anti-abortion zealots paint this fight as a religious war to protect the unborn. This is hogwash. The War on Women’s reproductive rights is a war of suppression. More on this and proposed laws to regulate sperm donors after the jump.

It is well known that young single mothers– especially teenage mothers– are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to graduate from high school, let along go to college. It is also well known that educating women and mothers leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies and better health for the mothers and their children. Saddling women with unwanted pregnancies, reduced educational opportunities, and potentially life-long poverty is simply a way to control and suppress women. Period. This is a political power play to keep women in their places– not a religious war.

If the Teapublican anti-abortion ideologues really want to cut back on abortions, why are there NO discussions regarding fathers’ role in producing unwanted pregnancies? On the Diane Rehm Show this week, more than once, commentators said that there are two people involved in every pregnancy– the mother and the child. What about that sperm donors? 

Where are the laws restricting men’s access to reproductive health? Where are the laws dictating unwanted invasive procedures for men who have started new lives but want to abandon their children? Where are the laws punishing men who don’t financially or emotionally care for the children they father? Where are the laws limiting insurance coverage for Viagra, testosterone replacement, or performance-enhancing procedures? Where are the laws requiring sterilization or jail time for deadbeat dads who shirk their responsibilities to their children and the women they impregnated? Where are the anti-rape laws that require condom use? (Remember Julian Assange and his romps in Sweeden?)

In the Teapublican world, men are obviously blameless in the abortion debate and free to father children irresponsibly and at will.

Enter another brave, feminist legislator– this time from Ohio. State Senator Nina Turner has proposed a bill that outlines would-be sperm donors’ rights. (I especially like the notarized statement of impotence to receive Viagra. Heh, heh, heh.) From AddictingInfo…

State Senator Nina Turner introduced SB 307, which requires men to visit a sex therapist, undergo a cardiac stress test, and get their sexual partner to sign a notarized affidavit confirming impotency in order to get a prescription for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs. The bill also requires men who take the drugs to be continually “tested for heart problems, receive counseling about possible side effects and receive information about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.””

One of the Texas protesters had a sign that read: “Life begins with a new governor.” I agree! Let’s hope that the renewed wave of anti-woman legislation– not to mention the mess that the GOP is making of immigration reform– will cause an even bigger backlash against them in 2014 and onward.

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