Why Anti-Choice Measures Threaten Gender Equality

Credit: The Guardian

Credit: The Guardian

 

This past week’s news cycle was chock full of anti-choice bills at the state and federal level. The House passed The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act authored by medical science expert/global warming denier Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks with limited exceptions that do not include protections for women whose pregnancy jeopardize their health. The bill extends exceptions to victims of rape or incest but ONY IF those women can prove they reported their assaults to the pertinent authorities.

In Texas, SB-5, an anti-choice bill authored by Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-TX) reflects Franks’ bill by capping abortion access at 20 weeks. In addition to the time-sensitive ban, SB-5 would also:

• Require that clinicians who provide abortions be given admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion takes place, as delineated by TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers), a bill passed by the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee whose name seems to bare little semblance to the work they are actually producing.

• Ban telemedical abortions, a non-surgical process in which women terminate their pregnancies via the drug RU-486. While doctors provide counsel on how to administer the drug, the woman is able to use the drug herself, thus affording a greater sense of privacy. SB-5 would require doctors to administer RU-486 in separate doses, thus increasing the risk of complications by reorganizing the procedure to be performed in a manner harmful to the women’s health.

• Force abortion providers to obtain licenses as ambulatory surgical centers. In order to do so, providers would need to implement structural plans to accommodate this measure.

Despite efforts by hundreds of pro-choice Texans as they performed a “People’s Filibuster”, SB-5 passed this morning. The Huffington Post reports that during the vote, conservative lawmakers retained flyers on their desks that referenced Psalm 139:13-14: “You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully wonderfully made.”

Controlling fertility through anti-choice agendas under the false premise that these bills actually benefit women’s health remains one of the greatest threats to gender equality. When women are unable to safely access abortions or family planning services and are forced to carry unwanted, unintended or medically unsafe pregnancies to term, they are at a disadvantage in terms of pursuing their education and entering the workforce with such circumstances contributing to cycles of poverty, as reported by Crane and Smith.

What these bills are really saying is that women are purposeful solely in a primal manner: to bear children.

Thank you to the Texans who stood united against SB-5.

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