March Sure Has Been A Shit Month For Abortion Rights
As bad as everything has been over the last year, there is a far worse day coming. The day when we lose our reproductive rights. On Friday, Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller ramped up concerns when he predicted that Judge Anthony Kennedy would be retiring in the summer.
Were Kennedy, a centrist and the crucial swing vote on abortion and other matters, to retire, he would likely be replaced with a younger, more conservative and strongly anti-abortion judge who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and it would all be over. For decades.
Several red states are already getting set to pass laws meant to be challenged in the Supreme Court as soon as Kennedy or one of the remaining pro-Roe judges abandons ship.
Within days, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is expected to sign the strictest abortion ban in the country -- which would make it illegal to have an abortion after 15 weeks, with no exceptions made for rape or incest.
Louisiana is also considering a 15-week ban.
Utah is currently considering legislation that would ban abortion if the sole reason for the abortion was because the fetus had Down syndrome, and hold doctors that perform those abortions criminally liable. It would also require doctors to "give the woman information about Down syndrome parent support groups and to refer her to a physician who is a Down syndrome specialist."
Similar bills have also passed in North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana and Louisiana, although so far only North Dakota's law has taken effect. It has, however, been proven difficult to enforce given the fact that motivation in these cases is difficult to prove.
Those supporting the bill in Utah, like Republican State Senator Karianne Lisonbee, claim it's not about banning abortion so much as it is about discrimination against people with Down syndrome.
While opponents portray the bill as an effort to restrict a woman’s access to abortion and her right to choose, Lisonbee and others say it would protect a vulnerable group of people and combat a “terrible form of discrimination.”
“Looking at history, I have to ask, if we don’t take a stand against the selective purging of one portion of our society from the start, will we continue our silence when the next undesirable segment is purged, and the next? Until only the perfect race remains?” Lisonbee asked her colleagues at a Senate hearing.
“I know my conscience will not allow me to do that,” the conservative lawmaker said. “I will fight for the diversity of humanity in our society.”
I think we all know that is a crock of shit.
Although states have been trying to pass similar -- and even stricter -- bans for years, they have always been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts, and those rulings have been upheld by the Supreme Court. However, that's a lot less likely to happen if Trump gets another judge on the bench.
The only shot we have is getting a huge majority of Democrats into office this election year -- Democrats who will not let another anti-choice judge on the bench. That and hoping that none of the pro-choice judges drops dead or retires. That's all we've got, so get your asses out and vote.
And now that I've cheered you all up, this is your open thread!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse