The attack on reproductive rights in the United States is likely to heat up in 2012, and we have an early entrant in the race to the bottom in the form of a court decision that went through on Friday, ordering the immediate enforcement of a mandatory sonogram law in Texas. More specifically:
The law, enacted in 2011, requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on pregnant women, show and describe the image to them, and play sounds of the fetal heartbeat. Though women can decline to view images or hear the heartbeat, they must listen to a description of the exam…unless she qualifies for an exception due to rape, incest or fetal abnormality.
This is not the first state with such a law and I fear it’s going to become a growing trend in the US, right along with dismembered fetus anti-abortion ads on television. The right wing is bent on making abortions as difficult to access as possible through every possible means, and that includes coercive, invasive, and unwanted interference from their medical providers. As spelled out under the law, this is yet another hoop in the series people with unwanted or dangerous pregnancies must jump through to get access to medical care, and it’s a humiliating and shaming one.
Says Texas Governor Rick Perry:
The Fifth Circuit’s decision requires abortion providers to immediately comply with the sonogram law, appropriately allowing Texas to enforce the will of our state, which values and protects the sanctity of life.Texas "values and protects the sanctity of life," said, I am sure, without irony.
But... this is Texas, number one in the number of executions carried out in the last 35 years and the state where the legislature hoped, just last year, to gut education, health care, and social services.
I guess, however, with regards to a state in which lawmakers "slashed family planning funding by two-thirds," we should not be surprised at the continued erosion of reproductive rights.
Doesn't make it any less scary.