Yesterday House Republicans proved they’ve had more than enough of that rebranding nonsense, thankyouverymuch.
Yes, it was pure political theater, because President Obama already announced he would veto House Resolution 1797, the so-called “fetal pain” bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks. The president won’t have to veto it, as the companion bill offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) stands no chance of passing. But similar bills have been offered in state legislatures across the country, as Guttmacher Institute policy analyst Elizabeth Nash told the New York Times:
These laws are flying through. The attention has really been at the state level around abortion issues. Now what you also see at the federal level is very disturbing, and it shows that abortion opponents are very emboldened.
These bills openly defy the Supreme Court’s holding in Roe v. Wade that states cannot unduly restrict a woman’s health care choices before the point of fetal viability, for which data show the 50% survival rate is 24 weeks. Most women don’t know they’re pregnant until they’re several weeks along, and the hormones that home pregnancy tests detect peak at 7-10 weeks after implantation.
That’s a narrow window, and Republicans want to narrow it still more by invoking the junk science of ‘fetal pain’ in the second trimester. While most researchers agree that the parts of the brain that register physical pain are not mature until 24-26 weeks, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) says he’s seen sonograms with male fetuses with their hands Down There at just 15 weeks.
And if a male fetus has its hands Down There, then said fetus must be Walking Willy Up The Hill … so mom is now an incubator.
Alternatively, fetuses – male and female – reach and kick randomly until their brains develop enough to control movement. But why let neurological development get in the way of male privilege?
And that’s what this is about. These are the same Republicans who refuse to appoint members to the Independent Payment Advisory Board – a panel of medical experts created by Obamacare to report on health care costs and most effective treatments, but explicitly barred from denying or rationing care – because they say the IPAB would be “standing between you and your doctor.”
So government standing between a patient and a doctor is bad … unless the patient is a woman and her doctor performs abortions. Then government standing between a patient and a doctor, and even requiring the doctor to perform a trans-vaginal ultrasound that the woman neither needs nor wants, is just fine.
We can’t have medical experts reviewing treatment histories and reporting that Profytyx, while lucrative for the drug company that created it, does nothing to improve patient outcomes. That would be Big Government Run Amok. But politicians forcing women to have probes shoved up their Down Theres – based on junk science – is Government Ensuring Informed Consent.
House Republicans want government small enough to fit in your womb. And we need to make sure women remember that in 2014.