Even though there have been several posts recently about potential legislation against women’s rights, I’d like to take a minute to point out that not all of these proposals have been made in D.C., Mississippi, or even Wisconsin. In the last few days I’ve read about two different anti-abortion proposals right here in Minnesota, just next door in St. Paul.
According to the Minnesota Daily article that I stumbled upon on my way to the “Overheard” section, the first bill was proposed by the republican senator Dave Thompson, and seeks to eliminate state funding for abortion services provided to women who couldn’t otherwise afford the procedure. Federal law already requires that abortions be publically funded if they were the result of medical necessity, rape, or incest, but Thompson and his supporters say that Minnesota’s current practice goes beyond these requirements. Because, you know, we’d hate to give low-income women more help than we absolutely HAVE to. Luckily, this bill is likely to be struck down for violating the state constitution, since the MN Supreme Court has ruled that such restrictions go against medical privacy rights.
Another bill, proposed by republican senator Gretchen Hoffman, would make non-emergency/rape/incest abortions after 20 weeks gestation felonies. Especially concerning is the part of the bill that would give money to state attorneys to prosecute those who have these abortions (which already make up less than 1% of all abortions performed in the U.S. ), which Hoffman says would come from “private donors” although the bill’s language is criticized as being too vague in this respect. The proposal is based on the controversial study that claimed that fetuses are capable of responding to painful stimuli after 20 weeks gestation, even though other studies have given ages ranging from 24 to 28 weeks . The science is simply not conclusive, and sponsoring a bill based on such shaky evidence is extremely unwise. If Hoffman and her supporters were to look at the reasons behind the decision to abort after twenty weeks, perhaps they would see another flaw in their plan: for example, a full 71% of women having late-term (after 16 weeks) abortions only had them because they didn’t realize they were pregnant or misjudged how far along the pregnancy was, 48% had already had a hard time making arrangements for the abortion, 33% had been afraid of telling their loved ones, and 6% had experienced a life change since becoming pregnant. Of that 71%, half of the women didn’t feel any physical change and 20% had the gestational age misjudged be a doctor.
Those are just statistics about what the woman has gone through, though. Gretchen Hoffman seems to care more about what one questionable study says about the fetal capacity for pain than about what simple mathematics says about the condition of the adult, conscious woman.
Strange… it’s almost like she doesn’t care about facts, and is only using this study to prop up her vendetta against reproductive rights. How odd! Luckily (again), this bill could face the same Supreme Court opposition that Senator Thompson’s would for infringing privacy rights.
Still concerned? I encourage you to call, write, or email you state representatives soon, so you can tell them how important women’s rights are to you. If you aren’t sure who represents you, you can find out here. If you aren’t a Minnesota voter, no worries – your state needs support, too! Although it is sad and even frustrating that such legislation is being proposed in our states, at least here we can have a little more influence on the people making the decisions. If enough people make their voiced heard, this sort of bill can be stopped before the Supreme Court even needs to look at it.