There’s a lot one can fault with the USA’s political and governmental processes, the most glaring being the so called ‘fillibuster’. It grants far far too much power and influence to small groups of legislatures in Federal and State Congresses in their ability to effectively ‘talk down’ proposed legislation. On the other hand, who doesn’t love being an opportunistic hypocrite from time to time with recent events in Texas in mind?
Seems everyone’s ‘favourite’ sitting Republican Governor (Texas), Rick Perry (above), has been attempting to once again curtail reproductive and women’s rights. A bill proposed in the Texas state congress sought to do such a feat:
1. Ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy
– This is simply an attempt to gradually curtail the abortion timescale as far as possible for the sake of curtailing it. 9 in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in the USA. Most of those late-term abortions are due to complications and mothers becoming aware of disabilities of the child.
2. Require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospital.
– You may think this is reasonable enough, but not many hospitals in the state of Texas would allow admitting privileges for doctors on these grounds given how often the religious-right would set out to disrupt and harass hospital officials.
3. Limit abortions to surgical centers.
– This would effectively reduce abortion centres in Texas from around 67 (in 2008) to a mere handful. In the second most populous and second largest geographical state in the union this would be an unmitigated disaster.
A brilliant video addressing abortion in the USA (above)
Thankfully though, help was at hand. Wendy Davis, Democratic Texas state Senator from the 10th district embarked upon a heroic 11 hour filibuster. See I can be an opportunistic hypocrite at times. Ms Davis, you’re a hero to the ‘folks’ in Things Can Only Get Better!
Sadly, ‘pro-life’ Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, a man who recently oversaw Texas’ 500th (and I think his own 250th) execution, has called for a special sitting of the Senate just so the bill can be passed. My feelings to this particular instance can be eloquently explained here.
Not one of Perry’s finest moments (above).
But this constant attack on reproductive and women’s rights goes beyond mere Texas. The fight between pro-choice and ‘pro-life’/anti-choice is seen by those on the latter side of the argument to be a fight between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and an affront to their god. The thing is, abortion rates are at their lowest rate since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 (from a high of 29.1 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 in 1981 to 19.4 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 in 2007). And this is primarily because medicine and contraception have progressed and have greater availability. It’s non-profit organisations such as Planned Parenthood have led this charge for sexual health and awareness. This is an organisation which receives much ridicule and criticism from supposedly ‘pro-life’ advocates, despite the actions and campaigns to reduce unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
Here’s the thing ‘pro-life’ supporters. If you oppose abortion and at the same time oppose contraceptives and comprehense sex education then you’re supporting a world where women die at the hands of unprepared and ill-equipped back alley abortion clinics.