Ohio is just the latest in an increasingly long list of states intent on restricting reproductive freedom for half of its population. Gov. John Kasich signed a budget into law last week that cuts funding to Planned Parenthood, requires doctors to perform transvaginal ultrasounds and prohibits public hospitals from transferring patients to clinics that perform abortions. Meanwhile, he did nothing to expand Medicaid, which would have helped more low-income women with health care needs.
Take a look at this photo of the budget signing. Notice anything?
Last week, it was Texas. It took State Senator Wendy Davis 13 hours of filibustering before an even more prohibitive bill was tabled. But that’s only temporary, since Gov Rick Perry vows to push it through. Another “good ol’ boy” whose contemptuous comments mocked Davis — a single mother who worked her way through Harvard Law School and earned her seat by working extremely hard to get elected — as someone who “hadn’t learned from her own mistakes.”
Before that, North Dakota. Kansas. Virginia. Each state seemingly trying to outdo each other by seeing who can enact the most restrictive bans on reproductive rights. The National Women’s Law Center’s mid-term report describes the current climate as “an extreme overreach into women’s reproductive freedom” in their attempts to legislate Roe v Wade out of existence piece by piece.
At the same time, funding cuts to women’s health services have other, serious ramifications. Many low-income women in this country receive care through neighborhood clinics. These clinics offer valuable, and often the only available health care for rural, poor or uninsured women. Care like preventive screenings. Well woman exams. Prenatal checkups. Funding cuts mean clinics will close, or be unable to offer care for everyone who needs it.
Why are we allowing male politicians to continue to make laws about women’s health care?
It’s not just about abortions. It’s about breast cancer. And cervical cancer. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Healthy babies. Healthy women. About allowing women to make their own decisions.
Whether you’re pro-choice or not is not the real issue here. It’s whether you can choose at all.