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October 25, 2014

They’re Coming for Your Uterus

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Make no mistake, Constitutionalists, they’re coming for your uterus.

Alaska Republicans, who seem to believe that their beloved Constitution stops with the Second Amendment, are doing all they can to chip away at the ninth, the fourteenth, and the fourth – you know, the ones that tell you that you have a right to be left alone, to your privacy, to enjoy personal liberty without the interference of the state, and to be secure in your person. I guess by “person,” they mean “man.”

New Senate Majority Leader John Coghill addressed a crowd of about 100 people on the Capitol steps in Juneau today on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It was not, however, to celebrate a woman’s right to choose, nor the fact that Alaska legalized abortion years before that based on strong privacy rights in our state Constitution.

No, the father of last year’s ill-fated mandatory vaginal probe bill is gnawing away like a termite at a woman’s and doctor’s right to privacy. He announced he will put forth a bill to more strictly define what “medically necessary” is. Apparently a doctor’s opinion is no longer good enough for lawmakers.

And the crowd on the steps who fears the “shredding of the Constitution by liberals” applauded.

After years sitting in the corner, in a self-imposed minority of four, Coghill now finds himself with power, and the agenda of the conservative members of the State Senate no longer has the firewall of a bipartisan majority. Welcome to the Brave New World of social conservatism on the formerly Libertarian Last Frontier. Last year, Coghill, Dyson, Giessel and Huggins were outliers. Now, they are steering the ship.

Keeping the government out of our lives, and small enough to drown in a bathtub clearly only applies to important things like taxes and assault rifles, and not actual human women. Perhaps they think the government has to be super teeny small to get past our cervixes.

But Coghill’s bill won’t affect women who can afford medically necessary abortions – just the poor ones.

The Alaska Supreme Court has held that the state must fund medically necessary abortions if it funds medically necessary services for others with financial needs. A legislative legal opinion last year said it’s not clear what constitutes medically necessary, and that it’s likely only further litigation will provide greater clarity.

Don’t believe for a second that this has anything to do with “state funding” or that Coghill is anything but radical in his beliefs on the subject.

Alaska Family Action says of Coghill, “When it comes to helping advance conservative, pro-family values in the Legislature, Senator Coghill is a workhorse who just never quits.” Here’s how the workhorse answered the following question on the Value Voters survey..

1) LEGAL STATUS OF ABORTION

Please indicate which of the following statements most closely reflects your belief as to when the law should permit and/or prohibit abortion:

  1. Abortion should be legal for any reason, at any time during a pregnancy.
  2. Abortion should be legal for any reason, but not after the first six months of pregnancy.
  3. Abortion should be legal for any reason, but not after the first three months of pregnancy.
  4. Abortion should be illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother, or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
  5. Abortion should be illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother.
  6. Abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
  7. Other (please explain):

A: (R) John Coghill: 

John Coghill not only believes that the state shouldn’t fund medically necessary abortions, he believes all abortions should be illegal, even if the mother is going to die. If you or your wife, or daughter, or sister, or friend is happily married with 5 kids, and finds out that her sixth is an ectopic pregnancy? Too bad, so sad. Guess she’s going to have to die. God works in mysterious ways. And hooray for Family Values!

And he’s got no patience for all those moderates who talk about rape and incest exceptions. They’re soft on crime.

No abortions, no exceptions, says the lawmaker with no uterus.

Of course, the number of women having abortions in places where it is illegal is pretty much the same as the number of women having abortions where it is legal. The big difference is that the illegal ones are less safe, and result in more deaths. Nevertheless, the new and radical Alaska State Senate is marching down the trail.

I wonder what they’d think of a bill that tackles this thing at the source and charges a man with the crime of reckless endangerment unless he signs a statement  that he’ll be completely responsible for any child that might be the result of a sexual encounter.  No exceptions.

Comments

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Comments
25 Responses to “They’re Coming for Your Uterus”
  1. Kathryn says:

    - Exorphins: Anti-nutrient found in dairy products and wheat.
    Anti Nutrients:. – Lecithin.

  2. Julia says:

    After having two wonderful children, I chose tubal ligation as a permanent means of birth control. I remember my doctor (male) trying to talk me out of it by telling me that it was irreversible what if I was to enter another marriage I would not being able to offer my (imaginary) new husband children… really? and a friend (female) asked what if my children died… this was 30 years ago, my children are healthy adults, I am married to the same man and never regretted my decision, but I have never forgotten either of the perhaps well meaning but nevertheless hurtful questions.

  3. Zyxomma says:

    Mama Coghill should have had that abortion, and spared Alaska opinions like these.

  4. Polarbear says:

    Odd how Republicans are the first to propose unconstitutional law while simultaneously declaring themselves to be the defenders of the constitution. As our national politics change, the louder right-wing nutcases like Coghill yell, the deeper the hole they dig themselves into electoral oblivion. Here in Alaska at the fringe of everything we are witnessing the last gasp of Republican extremism. There is nothing they can do to get around Roe v Wade now.

  5. mike from iowa says:

    They can have my uterus when they pry it from my cold,dead fingers.

  6. akbright says:

    Forced birthing was regularly practiced during the days of slavery. Female slaves were considered “prime stock”, as they could produce valuable new slaves for labor or for sale. A woman’s ability to reproduce figured into her price on the market and was as valuable as labor in the fields. Even Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man on the farm.”

  7. Mo says:

    Yeah, well we’re stuck with a Republican legislature now – how do we fix that? Somebody voted these creeps into office.

    • Mo says:

      A crowd of 100 so-called people on the Capitol steps – where was the counter-offensive crowd protesting the presence of the Uterus Police?

    • Julia says:

      How do we fix it? By getting off our butts and going to the polls. The number of democrats who showed up to vote during the general election was embarrassing low. We have no right to whine about this. Women have more power than credited for, we just don’t exercise it. We could see the writing on the wall that this redistricting racket was going to have disastrous results unless we mobilized, energized, campaigned and voted. Some of us did just that but not enough of us. So no whining, please, just learn and do not let it be repeated. ,

  8. John says:

    I’ll believe Coghill isn’t an opportunistic hypocrite the moment he starts to support family planning clinics. Fewer unplanned pregnancies = fewer abortions. That is something he should be 100% in favor of.

  9. mike from iowa says:

    Fully armed guards in medical clinics to ensure no woman gets birth control,advice, or an abortion. Think Gestapo-Gestation Police for short.

  10. Ripley in CT says:

    I am so incredibly tired of the abortion debate. I have known women who had abortions. One confided in me in college that she had one as a freshman. Her life now would have been irreversibly changed had she borne the child of the man who eventually ended up arrested for Domestic assault on her later in college. She was tied to him in a pathological way. If a baby would have been introduced, it would have been just horrible.

    The other was a young woman I knew very well. She used abortion as birth control. She had 3 that I know of, two with the same man, and another with another. She didn’t like “birth control”. I told her she was stupid.

    Still, I respect a woman’s right to choose, no matter the reason. These men have no idea the decision making process involved. I suspect this might be why some women wait (too long in my humble opinion) to move forward with it. To make it illegal is only adding gasoline to a fire that many women are already walking through. Imagine getting jailed while pregnant, only to be forced to give birth in jail. Horrific. Women are not receptacles for procreation at all costs. The right wing has never had respect for women and never will. To give them a voice in something that is just not debatable is potentially tragic.

    Counsel women. Help them make the best CHOICE. That’s what it’s all about now, isn’t it? Nobody is PRO-abortion. Anti-choice should be the words used for “them”. That’s what it’s about, really. Taking away the RIGHT to choose. Pro-choice and anti-choice. Keep the apples with the apples. I refuse to use the term “Pro-life” in their definition. Everyone’s pro-life. They are entitled to their opinions, but that’s as far as it should go, for womens’ sakes.

    *rant over*

    • Beaglemom says:

      Women have to realize that many, if not most, men secretly (or not so secretly) view pregnancy as a punishment for women’s having enticed them into sex. It’s all a blame game. Men are always whining about how this woman or that woman got her man by becoming pregnant – as if the man had nothing to do with it. And, of course, despite scientific proof, most men believe that the sex of the child has nothing to do with them.

      So this sense of inadequacy and this utter stupidity explains how GOP men view women. When the same legislators in the US House, who want to redefine “rape,” go after contraceptives and abortions and the Girl Scouts, you know that they blame women for sex and for having been “saddled” with their children. They cannot be loving fathers or grandfathers if they have such disdain for the women who bear the children and raise them.

    • castlebeck says:

      Ripley,

      I really agree 100% with you. I like the term anti-choice. Better than the one I used, which was Pro-birth. I used that because once the baby was born, they left it and the mother with no support while they went off to force another woman to have her baby, They only want to force the woman to give birth. They don’t give a shit what happens after that.

      One of the most contradictory things being done is to remove clinics where women could get counseling, birth control, and education. All these things would drastically bring down the number of women wanting abortions because it would cut down on unwanted pregnancies..

      Also, I really feel that the Anti-abortion people would better spend their money and energy in working to get the million children in the country that have no roof over their head or food in their bellies into better situations. That would also help reduce abortions. I just don’t understand why the conservatives can’t figure all of these out.

  11. Jag24 says:

    The far right could strengthen their case against abortion if they were supporting longer pa- & maternity leave, and made easier access to public assistance, and living affordable by supporting higher wages. As it is, they appear to be only growing a cheap, uneducated supply of workers.

    I do not understand how any parents with daughters can support anyone who would push such legislation. Most women (please forgive me if you choose not to or can’t) will have children in this lifetime– with less access to prenatal care, what are the chances of them seeing a certain percentage of their daughters or their daughter’s friends dying in pregnancy or of pregnancy related problems? When will voluntary sterilization become legislated for some and not allowed for others?

    I believe in doctors for pregnancies, midwives as an option with all the help we have with ultrasounds and other ways to “peek” and I used to be questioned by women on my stance, “What did women do before doctors?” Well, a lot of them DIED due to past nutrition issues (malformed pelvises) and other problems. And modern women still die from undetected problems or problems to which they choose to not react.

    • Beaglemom says:

      I also think that the “pro-life” crowd should support universal health care, lots of money for education including pre-school and after-school programs, adequate pay for jobs and jobs programs to bolster employment and help for those who cannot find jobs. All sorts of programs that most “pro-life” people have horrors of. The other day I got to ask a phone caller from a “pro-child” (to keep people from simply hanging up) whether she was in favor of universal health care. She said she was not and I replied that she obviously did not really care about children, unborn or born.

    • fishingmamma says:

      Jag24 – before doctors, women relied on midwives for health care. Maternal deaths were due largely to the overall lack of what we now call technology and drugs for sanitation and infection control. Midwives were very effective health care providers for women, and provided rudimentary birth control and also abortions. Male doctors only took over women’s reproductive health when it became profitable. That is when abortions became illegal. History of women’s health care has been a fascination of mine.

  12. WhichTruth says:

    I don’t think his legal knowledge is much better than his medical knowledge.

  13. karen marie says:

    Is it possible to dig up the legislative record of debate in Alaska when abortion was legalized back in the day?

    It would be good to remind people that their elected representatives weren’t always, and don’t have to be, this insane.

  14. AKPetMom says:

    I think menopause is going to beat them to my uterus….

    • Beaglemom says:

      I can’t wait until they realize that hysterectomies keep women from bearing children. Just wait they’ll want to prevent women under the age of 60 from having a hysterectomy, no matter what the medical reasons.

      • fishingmamma says:

        Bite your tongue. Don’t give them any new ideas.

      • All I Saw says:

        My big fat hysterectomy was the best thing that ever happened to me. After the two kids I carried during complicated and painful pregnancies – of course.

        I always wonder if these dirty old men would come between a married man and woman’s right to choose abortion?

        If marriage between a man and woman is sacred…

        I don’t like abortion, I would beg anyone considering one to reconsider (including offering adoption etc.) but anti-abortion activists prove time and time again that what they are really after is keeping women and children in poverty.

        Poverty is much more brutal than abortion, in my opinion.

    • All I Saw says:

      A hysterectomy beat them to mine. Next, that’ll be up for grabs too. Permanent birth control has to be worse than monthly, no?

  15. Alaska Pi says:

    It doesn’t show up in bills -sponsored-by… yet.
    Will be watching here and elsewhere for it to show up so can see wording.
    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/spon_sum.asp?session=28
    I really don’t care what Mr Coghill thinks about when and if an abortion may be performed on the State’s dime for women who cannot afford to pay their medical care.
    I care about those women .
    And I will be paying attention and staying involved in trying to keep Mr Coghill out of medical decisions which should be made by trained medical professionals and not holier-than-thou doofs who would let women die ( along with the fetus, ya know, Mr Coghill- the “human ” you hold most holy) to make a point. A frickin point. A useless point.

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