The legislative sessions are in full swing now and so are the extreme ideologues who are back at it with unacceptable and embarrassing anti-abortion bills gaining national attention.
Arkansas state Representative Andy Mayberry embarrassed himself in the national media this past week when his bad bill, HB1032, was devoured by The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and The Independent for banning the most common form of 2nd trimester abortion, which included a clause that would allow family members to sue the provider. Even Chelsea Clinton tweeted about it.
Well, the anti-choice lobby in Arkansas didn't learn their lesson. The House Public Health Committee just passed HB1434, a deceptive ban against so-called sex-selective abortion, and HB1428, which specifically targets abortion providers with medically unnecessary regulations.
The buck doesn't stop in Arkansas. Kansas threw its hat into the ring to compete for most pointless bill with SB98, which left us all asking #whatthefont?
SB98, among other things, would regulate the font size and type (Times New Roman in size 12) Planned Parenthood Great Plains uses on its patient forms. That's right. Kansas legislators apparently have a better eye for graphic design than the marketing department (editor's note: offense taken) . Meanwhile, the S&P just downgraded the state's credit rating outlook to negative. Priorities anyone?
There's more coming our way in the Missouri legislature. Tuesday, three anti-sexual and reproductive health bills will be heard in the House Children and Families Committee. HB174 gives so-called "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" more protections. HB182 creates an undue burden on minors who travel across the state line to access safe, legal abortion. And HB326 further complicates consent requirements for minors seeking safe, legal abortion. Stay tuned for updates next week...
Oklahoma also received national attention for trying to pass a bill that would make a woman have to get permission from her partner in order to have an abortion. You read that right. These anti-choice extremists want to make it so a woman needs a literal signed permission slip from her partner in order to get a safe, legal abortion. And that wasn't the only bad bill that they tried to pass in the first week of being back in session. There was also an attempt to pass a bill that would prevent an abortion in the case of genetic abnormalities (HB1549). These Oklahoma politicians are attempting to practice medicine without a medical degree. Well, we diagnose these anti-choice extremists as having a severe case of 'gynotician' disorder.
Thankfully, after several hundred Oklahomans sent messages to lawmakers, the House Public Health Committee did not pass HB1549, sending the anti-choice committee chairman literally running into the hallway to try and find more people to vote yes on his nasty bill.
So we can breathe a sigh of relief in Oklahoma...for now. There is still a chance the committee could reintroduce the bill as early as next week.
So now what?
Between these bills and the activity happening on the national level, it can feel like we're descending into a real life version of The Handmaiden's Tale.
But the difference between Margaret Atwood's almost-fiction novel and reality is that if you live in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, or Oklahoma, the people passing these bills work for you.
Your tax dollars pay their salaries and their job duties are to be your voice in the government. So if you're tired of your representatives embarrassing you, then tell them!