Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ohio. Again. The Heartbeat is on a comeback tour.

          Ohio. Again. I am so tired of typing those two words. This State was once moderate and sane. In the Seventies and Eighties we had two Democratic Senators. John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. A decorated fighter pilot. An extremely effective and respected Senator. Senator Metzenbaum vied with Ted Kennedy as the most Liberal voice in the Senate. Now we have Sherrod Brown, a strong progressive voice and Rob Portman, George W. Bush's former Budget Director. This man has forgotten his history and is now somehow a Deficit Hawk.
After Republican control of Ohio for nineteen out of the last twenty-three years Ohio Republicans have, like the party Nationally, lurched blindly to the extreme right. This in a State that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both carried twice. There are those who feel Ohio was stolen in 2004 by George Bush with the aid of the extremist Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
Following the 2010 Census GOP lawmakers met in secret to carve up Ohio into safe districts. They rented a hotel room in Columbus with taxpayer money and excluded Democrats from the process. Needless to say the public was also excluded. The result was basically election proofing the Ohio Legislature to maintain GOP control of both houses and the Congressional delegation till 2020.
These extremist Ohio House members passed the "Heartbeat Bill" in 2011. It would have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat was detected. Since that usually happens at approximately six weeks, before most women know they're pregnant, it would have effectively banned abortion in Ohio. The Ohio House had "Testimony" from a fetus via ultra sound. Ohio became a national laughingstock. Again. There was also testimony from so-called "Abortion Survivors".
This bill was extreme enough to split the anti-abortion movement in the State.
The bill's backers were open that this bill was designed to challenge Roe v.Wade. The phrase ending abortion in Ohio was thrown around a lot. Many leaders in Ohio's anti-abortion movement felt this was the right bill at the wrong time. They saw such a blatant rejection of established Constitutional law would be a loser in front of SCOTUS. The result would be overturning Ohio's existing restrictive laws. They were hoping for a GOP Presidential win and a more conservative court before having such a draconian law passed.
These concerns didn't deter the Ohio House. They passed the bill in 2011 and sent it to the Ohio Senate. There it languished in committee until it was quashed by the Senate Majority leader.
With the Gerrymandered map Ohio wound up with an even more extremist Legislature in 2012. Both Houses had enough Republicans to steamroller any Democratic opposition.
Following the GOP attack on Public Sector Unions in 2011, when they had their asses handed to them by Ohioans via a ballot measure The Ohio Legislature decided to go after women's reproductive healthcare and rights by using the budget process.
Planned Parenthood and responsible medical providers were moved to the back of the funding line simply for making abortion referrals as were Rape Crisis centers. After all a child of rape is a gift from God. The so-called Pregnancy Crisis Centers are front and center for State family planning funding. In other States these groups have been caught giving misleading information and lying outright about birth control. They only support abstinence for single women and the rhythm method for married women. So organizations that don't believe in birth control are the ones providing advice.
The Budget also redefined pregnancy. The AMA defines the beginning of pregnancy as the implantation of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall. The State of Ohio, in their superior wisdom, defines pregnancy as beginning at conception. This plays havoc with some forms of birth control.
This budget is an anti-woman repression template for the rest of the Reactionary State Legislatures. To see the lengths these people have gone to I recommend an excellent Ohio political site, Plunderbund.com .The budget coverage here has been supurb. The appalling regulations are laid out in detail as are the consequences.
This repressive attempt to relegate Ohio women to simply being a life support system for a fetus doesn't go far enough for these Legislators. They plan to reintroduce The Heartbeat Bill. After all Ohio can't be outdone by Texas for slut shaming and stripping women of their rights as American citizens.
The bill is designed to force a direct challenge to Roe v.Wade. None of the supporters deny this. However at this time it is simply a moot pander to the base. North Dakota already has a similar law. It has been blocked by a Federal Court as an unconstitutional attack on established law. The current SCOTUS is unlikely to over rule this court's opinion. This would also make the Ohio and Texas versions void as well.
Since Governor John Kasich of Ohio has Presidential ambitions and signed the extremist budget he would likely sign a Heartbeat Bill. It would solidify his position as an anti-choice crusader. Ohio doesn't seem to get sustained coverage of it's attack on women. The media prefers the idea this is simply a Southern aberration. Texas gets the press. Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas seem to get a pass. These States have passed awful laws on restricting women's access to safe abortion and family planning services. They are all Northern States. This shows this isn't a regional or Old Confederacy issue. I know this give scant comfort to women in the South but their Northern sisters are under a concerted attack also.
So sane women and men in Ohio and Nationally must be prepared to stand against this attempt to reestablish the time when women were trapped by biology in roles that kept them from fulfilling their potential as human beings.
Women are not walking incubators. They have an inalienable right to decide how their bodies will be used.
They are equal citizens with all the inherent rights that come with that.
The best way to remove women from the public and political arena is to keep them pregnant during most of their reproductive years, Keep them at home, too harried and busy to do anything else.
We can not allow this to happen.
Women across the country must stand with their sisters.
Men must stand with their wives,lovers, sisters, daughters, aunts and mothers.
Draw the line in the sand,. No farther.
Stop this war on women.
Through inaction comes defeat.
Through defeat comes slavery.
Act now. Raise your voice and an army of support.
Now. Time is running out.

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