Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Not Just Require A State License For Sexual Activity?

As the state of Tennessee ponders passage of a whole slew of laws removing/altering women's rights and their ability to decide on whether to be a mother or not, it seems that what they are really seeking is a Sexually Activity License.

Liberadio(!) has been tracking the list of legislation (her full post follows and I hope like me, you do contact by phone or email the list of representatives included):

Wednesday, March 11, at 3:00 pm, in room 16 of Legislative Plaza, the conversation will continue at a Public Hearing [pdf] in front of House Health and Human Resources Committee. Please consider attending the hearing so you can both stand against the most cynical of legislators and their divisive bills and support women’s reproductive health advocates.

The bills to be discussed are as follows:

HJR 0061 JUDICIARY: Constitution - right to abortion. Adds new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion except in cases involving rape, incest, or health of the mother. (H: Fincher)

HJR 0066 JUDICIARY: Constitution - right to abortion. Adds new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. (H: Maggart)

HJR 0088 JUDICIARY: Constitutional amendment - right to or funding of abortion. Adds new provision to Article I to provide that nothing in Constitution of Tennessee secures or protects the right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. Gives the legislature the authority to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother. (H: Curtiss)

HJR 0132 HEALTH CARE: Constitutional amendment - vasectomy rights of married men. Adds new provision to Article I of the state constitution to provide that nothing in the constitution secures or protects right to a vasectomy. (H: Camper)

HB0025 - FAMILY LAW: Paternity testing for birth certificates. Requires paternity testing before a father can be listed on a birth certificate. Requires department of human services to pay the costs of the paternity tests for parties who are financially unable to pay. Broadly captioned. (S: Jackson; H: Hardaway)

HB0436 - HEALTH CARE: Standards for ambulatory surgical treatment centers. Requires that any physician’s office that performs abortions be classified as an as ambulatory surgical treatment centers. Requires the department of health, through the board for licensing health care facilities, to promulgate rules and regulations that contain certain minimum standards for the maintenance and operation of ambulatory surgical treatment centers. (S: Beavers; H: Shipley)

HB0445 - CRIMINAL LAW: Informed consent for abortions. Requires that the informed written consent of the woman be obtained prior to an abortion, providing for 24-hour period of reflection after the woman receives the information needed for an informed consent. Establishes requirements for a physician or other health care professional to follow in order to obtain informed consent from the woman. Establishes an exception to informed consent and waiting period requirements when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman. (S: Herron; H: Maddox)

HB0638 - FAMILY LAW: Viable human fetus as victim of child abuse. Revised definition of “child” to include a viable fetus of a human being for purposes of child abuse and aggravated child abuse offenses. (S: Burchett; H: Maggart)

HB0807 - HEALTH CARE: Stillborn deaths to be placed in vital records. Requires each fetal death, 500 or more grams or 22 or more completed weeks of gestation, to be placed in vital records. Gives parents the option of naming the stillborn child on such records. (S: Bunch; H: Campfield)

HB0819 - HEALTH CARE: Death certificate to be issued for abortions. Requires a death certificate to be filed with the office of vital records for each abortion performed in the state. Requires death certificate to state that the fetal death was due to an abortion. (S: Bunch; H: Campfield)

HB0862 - FAMILY LAW: Inception of human life. Defines “inception of human life” to mean the moment of human conception. (S: Gresham; H: Mumpower)

HB2106 - FAMILY LAW: Tennessee Pregnant Women Support Act. Authorizes the department of health to apply for federal grants to fund the collection of data regarding the number of abortions performed in this state, the characteristics of those seeking abortions, the reasons why women choose abortion, or any other information applicable to supporting pregnant women in this state who may be seeking an abortion. Requires the department of health to create a hotline as well as pamphlets for doctors’ offices to provide interested women with information about public and private health care services available to women during and after the birth of a child. (S: Herron; H: Fincher)

HB1756 - FAMILY LAW: Disposition of Family Planning Funds. As introduced, establishes a new methodology for disposition of family planning funds that disburses funds to public women’s health services programs before other providers are funded. - Amends TCA Section 68-34-105. (S: Johnson; H: Hensley)

Any legislation, including SJR127, HJR61 and HJR66, which attempts to begin the process of amending the State Constitution would be doing so in historical violation of the document’s purpose to expand rights, not take them away.

In addition, there are already a number of Tennessee laws which already regulate abortion, including parental consent, a ban on late-term abortions and patient informed consent. You can read about the effects of these laws in an open letter to Rep. Debra Maggart that was written by one broken-hearted Tennessee woman.

And, as I stated earlier, with the number of abortions in Tennessee is declining the focus of our legislature should be on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies by providing education and resources.

Before 3:00 PM tomorrow, please contact by phone or email each committee member. This is especially important if your representative is on the committee. You can find out who your Rep is at the Capitol website. Don’t forget to put your zip code in the subject line of your email.

Chair and Vice Chair of the House Health and Human Resources Committee:
Rep. Joe Armstrong
Rep. Joey Hensley

Members of the House Health and Human Resources Committee:
Rep. Curt Cobb,
Rep. Jim Cobb,
Rep. Charles Curtiss,
Rep. Vince Dean,
Rep. John DeBerry,
Rep. Lois DeBerry,
Rep. Vance Dennis,
Rep. Joshua Evans,
Rep.Dennis Ferguson,
Rep. Dale Ford,
Rep. Curtis.Halford,
Rep. Sherry.Jones,
Rep. Debra.Maggart,
Rep. Jason.Mumpower,
Rep. Gary Odom,
Rep. Mary Pruitt,
Rep. Bob Ramsey,
Rep.Barrett Rich,
Rep. Jeanne Richardson,
Rep. David Shepard,

And at Tiny Cat Pants, Aunt B, minces no words in pointing out that some proponents of legislation seeking to outlaw abortions has no idea what medical procedures even take place between a physician and a patient.

I write to you out of such deep despair I don’t even know where to start. I read Jeff Woods’s post an hour ago and I’m still so angry I’m shaking.

I’ll just quote:

Q: What else?

Fowler: There are other things we could do as well if this resolution passes that we probably could not do under Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist. For example, many states now are requiring doctors to inform women that they’ve performed an ultrasound and that they have the right to see that ultrasound. Many women think it’s just a blog [sic]of cells or tissues. But literally within eight days, I think you can notice the heartbeat on the sonogram and when they begin to understand the truth about what is inside their body, they recognize it as a human being and a child. That kind of law probably would not be constitutional under Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist.

Women of Tennessee, I don’t care where you stand on the abortion issue. I just want you to read that and see it for what it is. Fowler CANNOT EVEN BOTHER TO LEARN ABOUT WHAT GOES ON BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER DOCTOR BUT HE THINKS HE SHOULD GET TO SET THE LAWS TO GOVERN IT. Just let that evil sink in. He cannot even bother to get his facts straight, he can’t be bothered to learn about what you might go through if you have an abortion, he can just make shit THAT IS PLAINLY NOT TRUE. Just demonstrably false. LIES, lies, lies.

He can just lie, plain and bald-faced and make shit up and not even be bothered to learn about what you might go through when you go to the gynecologist and he and his buddies are going to win.

He doesn’t even give enough of a shit about you to bother to learn what you go through and he’s going to get laws that affect you passed. He can’t even be bothered to learn basic science, and he gets to govern your body.

Let’s start with the “requiring doctors to inform women that they’ve performed an ultrasound.” Most women have abortions in the first trimester. In order to perform the abortion, her doctor does an ultrasound, at the least, to determine the age of the fetus. In the first trimester, the fetus is so tiny that it cannot be seen using an abdominal ultrasound. As you know, the doctor will therefore almost always perform a vaginal ultrasound on you. There is no way you won’t know that they’re performing the ultrasound. But Fowler doesn’t know that. He’s apparently gotten his information on how doctors work from television, so you’re going to be ruled by laws set by a guy who doesn’t know basic gynecological procedures.

He can’t bother to learn that there’s not a heartbeat until 21 days after conception. So, he just makes up 8 days, because he’s too lazy to learn the truth and anyway, he’s too busy protecting us stupid, stupid cows from ourselves.

And that’s what burns me. He thinks that, if we only had more knowledge–the very knowledge HE CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO EVEN FUCKING ACQUIRE–we wouldn’t have abortions.

But it’s beneath him to worry about the details or the truth of what he wants to force us to know.

And yet, he’s going to get his way. He’s a lazy, condescending liar who can’t even be bothered to learn about the stuff he wants to force on women and he’s going to win.

God damn, that burns me. It insults me so deeply that some man–who will never be faced with this decision and who can’t even bother to learn enough about it to get his facts straight–is going to make the laws we have to live by. Damn it’s insulting to the core.

But then, let’s look at the second half of the problem. There’s not a woman in this state who hasn’t been through one kind of gynecological problem or another, even if she’s never had nor would ever have an abortion, who would hear what Fowler says and not say to herself–”But wouldn’t they have to do a vaginal ultrasound? Um, of course they would. And wouldn’t a doctor already tell her what she’s doing and why? And wouldn’t a woman notice that?”

It’s not Jeff Woods’s fault that he’s not a woman. And it’s not his fault that he didn’t know, so it didn’t sound funny to him. But he’s who Fowler’s sitting down with to spew this bullshit. And he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know to be able to press Fowler about it.

And what do you do in the face of that?

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