A major abortion bill has cleared its first hurdle at the Arizona Legislature.
The House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday endorsed the Republican-sponsored bill on a 5-0 vote, with Democratic opponents boycotting the hearing and not voting on the measure.The legislation would require a pre-abortion waiting period and mandatory disclosures to women seeking abortions. It also allows pharmacists and health care providers to refuse to participate in abortion or emergency contraception on moral grounds. Other provisions toughen the existing law on parental rights.
Let's look at that scorecard. Gutting public education, gutting health and human services, instituting a conscience clause, mandating anti-abortion scare tactics? Check, check, check, and checkaroony. I normally deplore slippery slope speculating, but I really have to wonder what's next on the all-conservative-policies-all-the-time experimental agenda. The Sonoran Desert Protection Plan has to be on shaky ground these days, along with any other environmental conservation measure that's been flung up in the path of the belly scrapers. Perhaps some even nastier anti-immigration policy is in the works. Maybe we'll one-up North Dakota and give full personhood rights to sperm and unfertilized eggs (as long as they reside in the bodies of legally-here heterosexual Americans, of course). I'm sure all we need to do is wait until tomorrow to get even more good news.
Conscience clauses. Fuck me. Waiting periods. "Mandatory disclosures." I certainly can't wait to get some clarification about what that entails. Wait, wait, let me guess. Did you know your baby has fingernails? Fuck. Me. Oh, wait, here we go.
[The] proposal also would require that a patient be informed of alternatives to abortion, medical benefits and government assistance available pre- and postnatal, the medical risks associated with both having an abortion and carrying the fetus to term and the probable gestational age and physiological characteristics of the fetus.
Ur behbeh haz fingernalz! Check.
Now how about that conscience clause? Here's the full text of the bill. At the very top of the document it's made clear that "abortion does not include birth control devices [or] oral contraceptives used to inhibit or prevent ovulation or conception." Okay, great--it's a nutter bill, but at least it's grounded in a rational definition of abortion, right? What could go wrong? Oh. Apparently the definition can be ignored when it comes to constructing the conscience clause.
A pharmacy, hospital or health professional, or any employee of a pharmacy, hospital or health professional, who states in writing an objection to abortion, abortion medication or emergency contraception on moral or religious grounds is not required to facilitate or participate in the provision of an abortion, abortion medication or emergency contraception.
So given the fact that the bill goes out of its way to clarify that oral contraceptives intended to inhibit ovulation--in other words, exactly what emergency contraceptives are--are not abortion equivalents, it's pretty clear that the inclusion of Plan B within the conscience clause is purely a sop to pharmacists who either failed the progestin section of the final exam or are too interested in making sure whores suffer the consequences of their wanton fucking to care. Or it's a sop to the legislators who will vote for this anyway and like to think Plan B is abortion. And, by the way, the reporter who wrote the story for the Citizen should be just a little bit ashamed for wording the article in a way that conflates EC with pharmaceutical abortion. In either event, Rep. Barto can't be bothered by the problems this might cause to women in rural areas of the state--and remember, no less a luminary than Cindy McCain herself said the only way to get around Arizona is by small private plane since there are no roads here:
The prime sponsor of the legislation, state Rep. Nancy Barto, downplayed any hurdles the provision would represent.
"Certainly, people in rural areas are accustomed to traveling long distances for services," said Barto, R-Phoenix. "This isn't going to keep women from receiving these prescriptions."
See, if you're already used to having to drive 50 miles to the pharmacy, it won't be at all inconvenient to drive another 50 when the first pharmacist invites you to fuck off, and then another 50, and another 50 until you manage to hit a Walgreen's with a pharmacist who will actually do his job! Why are you complaining? Harpy!
I hope Sec. Napolitano totally rocks Homeland Security and turns it into an effective, functional agency so that it will have been worth it for her to give the Maricopa County Republicans a two-year head start on turning Arizona into a conservative politician's paradise. But this sets the bar impossibly damn high.