Guest Editorial by Jill C. of Brilliant at Breakfast
In Florida, state Senate Democrats are just barely blocking (for now) an abortion restriction advocated by Republicans that would force women to have, pay for, and view, an ultrasound image before having an abortion.
In Oklahoma, it is already law that women are forced to undergo and view such an ultrasound, along with listening to a detailed description of the embryo or fetus. In a completely inconsistent addendum, a doctor is permitted to withhold information about any defects that are revealed in such an ultrasound.
In Virginia, new budgetary measures cut Medicaid funding for abortions, even if the woman's life is in danger.
In Nebraska, a medically unsupported "pain provision" bars all abortions after 20 weeks and requires women seeking abortions before then to undergo a mental health evaluation.
In Kansas, only a gubernatorial veto stands between women's right to self-determination and being reported to the state for having abortions.
Why now? Foes of women's sovereignty over their own bodies have been working on abortion restrictions for decades. But after standing pat during the Bush years, perhaps thinking that sooner or later George W. Bush would give them the magic prize they've coveted for so long, all of a sudden state after state is passing abortion restrictions that make very clear the misogynistic leanings of these states' legislatures. Forcing women to have invasive vaginal ultrasounds? Forcing them to view images? Mental health evaluations?
But is it just about misogyny? Or does it have something to do with the pee-in-the-pants terror of the teabag movement at the inevitable end of white majority that's coming in this country?
Let's look at the populations of the above-mentioned states and the percentages of abortion by race in them, shall we?
The following 2007-2008 figures are fromStatehealthfacts.org:
FLORIDA: 62% white, 15% black, 20% Hispanic, and 3% other.
OKLAHOMA: 66% white, 8% black, 8% Hispanic, and 16% other.
VIRGINIA: 67% white, 19% black, 7% Hispanic, and 7% other.
NEBRASKA: 84% white, 4% black, 8% Hispanic, and 3% other.
KANSAS: 80% white, 6% black, 9% Hispanic, and 5% other.
All states that are overwhelmingly white.
Now let's look at some states WITHOUT this kind of abortion restrictions, from the Godless Heathen Liberal Northeast, plus California:
NEW YORK: 60% white, 15% black, 17% Hispanic, and 8% other.
NEW JERSEY: 59% white, 13% black, 17% Hispanic, and 10% other.
MASSACHUSETTS: 80% white, 6% black, 7% Hispanic, and 6% other.
CALIFORNIA: 43% white, 6% black, 37% Hispanic, and 14% other.
With the exception of Massachusetts, these states all have larger minority populations --- and no move to restrict abortions.
Now let's look at the racial distribution of abortions in the states cited above that have recently instituted, or are about to institute, restrictions. These figures are from 2006 and are from CDC statistics:
FLORIDA: Not reported
OKLAHOMA: Not reported
VIRGINIA: 57.3% White, 36.5% Black, 5.3% Hispanic
NEBRASKA: Not reported
KANSAS: 77.3% White, 17.2% Black, 4.4% Hispanic
It's clear that the states with overwhelmingly white populations are the states instituting abortion restrictions. And while the percentages of abortions in the two states that reported to the CDC are not proportional to the racial groups' representation, it's clear that in these states, a larger percentage of White women are having abortions than their Black and Hispanic counterparts.
Just for fun, let's take a look at Arizona, where the population is 58% White, 4% Black, 31% Hispanic, and 8% Other. White women in Arizona have 76.8% of the abortions in that state. So where does Arizona law stand on abortion? You guessed it:
Arizona has not repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban, which is unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The ban provides that any person who supplies to a woman any substance or employs other means with the intent to induce an abortion, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life, will be imprisoned for two to five years. A woman who submits to the use of any means with the intent to cause an abortion, unless necessary to preserve her life, will be imprisoned for one to five years. Any person who advertises abortion services is guilty of a misdemeanor. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 13-3603 (Enacted 1901; Last Renumbered 1977), 13-3604 (Enacted 1901; Last Renumbered 1977), 13-3605 (Enacted 1901; Last Renumbered 1977).
Arizona outlaws a safe second-trimester abortion procedure with no exception to protect a woman's health. H.B. 2400, 49th Leg., 2009 1st Sess. (Ariz. 2009) (Enacted 2009) (to be codified at Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3603.01).
The Arizona law makes the provision of certain previability, second-trimester abortion procedures a felony and imposes a criminal penalty of imprisonment for up to two years and/or fines including statutory damages of three times the cost of the abortion unless the procedure is necessary to save the life of the woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. H.B. 2400, 49th Leg., 2009 1st Sess. (Ariz. 2009) (Enacted 2009) (to be codified at Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3603.01).
In 1997, a court held that an earlier version of Arizona's ban was unconstitutional because it was void for vagueness, was an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose, and had no exception to preserve the woman's health. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-3603.01 (Enacted 1997). The court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement. Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz., Inc. v. Woods, 982 F. Supp. 1369 (D. Ariz. 1997). In 2009, the Arizona legislature enacted an amended, enforceable version of the ban. H.B. 2400, 49th Leg., 2009 1st Sess. (Ariz. 2009) (Enacted 2009) (to be codified at Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3603.01).
Arizona has a partially unconstitutional and unenforceable law requiring that a woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 24 hours after the attending physician or the referring physician tells her, orally and in person: (1) the name of the physician who will provide the abortion; (2) the nature of the proposed procedure; (3) the immediate and long-term medical risks of the procedure; (4) the alternatives to the procedure; (5) the probable gestational age of the fetus; (6) the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus; and (7) the medical risks of carrying the pregnancy to term.
In addition, at least 24 hours prior to the abortion, the attending physician, a referring physician, another qualified physician, a physician's assistant, a nurse, a psychologist, or a licensed behavioral health professional must deliver to the woman, orally and in person, a state-mandated lecture that includes: (1) that medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (2) that the "father" is liable for child support even if he has offered to pay for the abortion; (3) that public and private agencies and services are available to assist the woman during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child if she chooses not to have an abortion; and (4) that she can withhold or withdraw her consent to the abortion at any time without affecting her right to future care or treatment and without the loss of any public benefits. H.B. 2564, 49th Leg., 2009 1st Sess. (Ariz. 2009) (Enacted 2009) (to be codified at Ariz. Rev. Stat. A 36-2153).
It's no accident that Arizona, a state with one of the largest proportions of Hispanic residents but one where White women have over three-quarters of the abortions, has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. It's no accident either that these restrictions on abortions are being implemented in majority-White states at the same time as the conservatives of those states are having apoplexy about immigration.
It's not about Teh Baybeeeeezzzzzz, and it's not about human life. It's about forced childbearing for White women, instituted by men who are terrified of losing their White male sovereignty into this country, by turning women into unthinking, unfeeling, nonhuman vessels for their fears and their loathing.