Monday, May 24, 2010

I Protest!

Oklahoma House Bills 2656, 2780, 3284, and 3290 deal with the "abortion issue" here in Okie land.
  • 2656 allows a medical professional to withhold information or even lie about the condition of the fetus without fear of legal consequences.
  • 2780 requires a transvaginal ultrasound prior to procedures. This is done through insertion of the instrument into the vagina. The woman and doctor have no say in this.
  • 3284 is the one where doctors must gather very private information from patients and provide this to the state, which will then be posted to a website.
  • 3290 regulates access to RU-486 AND prohibits abortion coverage through private insurance.
Yeah, I went to the protest. These four bills have already been challenged and turned down as one bill. I was at that protest too. Governor Henry has already vetoed these bills and now the Oklahoma Senate is trying to vote to overturn the veto. Seriously? It's OK to lie to women about their own medical conditions, even if they have cancer, you can lie and say they don't in order to prevent an abortion decision? Really? Then the doctor is required to jam yet another probe into the woman's vagina and make her view an ultrasound? And when all is said and done, everything but her name (yes, this includes what her ethnicity, income, location and vocation, etc) to the internet for "research purposes"? What the fuck?! What sort of morons are writing this legislation? Do our legislators really think that women just use abortion as a form of birth control? Do they think themselves unbiased? Why are the statistics and invasive procedures not put upon men?

I promise that not everyone in my adopted state hates women. Senators John Sparks and Andrew Rice both vehemently oppose the bills and always have. They even waved and smiled at us in the stands. The 55 of us at the gathering today in the Senate Gallery made quite an impressive and silent visage as we filled almost half of the gallery. Some of my professors were there with their respective families. Everyone was wearing pink. It was quietly decided that the bills wouldn't be brought up today. That's ok. I can come back another time. In the meantime, I will be writing to undecided ombudsmen.

Why do I care about this issue? I think everyone there today has been or will be questioned about their involvement. This isn't something that affects me personally, so why bother to take a morning to get involved in a touchy, emotional, religiously-fraught issue? Because as Dr. King said in his "Letter From Birmingham Jail", "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." These bills are unjust. I have a strong voice and it then becomes my responsibility to stand up for those who may not have a voice for themselves, who have to hide in fear of retribution, who cower in corners and face shame and violent consequences for choices that are not always within their control. That's why. Because I'm a human with a conscience.

This legislation was already found unconstitutional. Approving it will only cause more lawsuits and more money wasted that could go towards better social programs such as sex education in schools. I really think it's just a way for the incumbents to impress their constituents.

But I am not impressed.

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