Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Day in Southern Jesustan

Not content with the level of havoc they created last week by tossing 38,000 low-income kids off the CHIP rolls, the Arizona Senate yesterday continued to menace minors in the state. This time they decided to bar kids from getting healthcare without parental permission (apparently even if it's on their own dime, which it will now have to be). SB 1309, innocuously named "Parents' Rights," contains among its several provisions a ban on writing any prescription for a minor without written permission from the parent. Reasonable enough on its face, right? Until you remember every condition that might require a prescription, and then you listen to the bill's sponsors, and then you realize what this one's all about.
State senators voted Monday to bar minors from getting birth-control prescriptions or treatment for sexually transmitted diseases without parental permission.
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the legislation, which now goes to the House, is in the best interests of children. She said her own experience proves that to be the case.
"I had their moral, spiritual, emotional well-being at hand and worked as hard as I could to be a good parent," Allen said. "Government has no business interfering in that bond between a parent and a child."

Requiring a 17-year-old to get Dad's permission for pills to clear up a noxious itch and rash? What could possibly go wrong? But wait; this is Arizona. There's more.

SB 130[9], approved 16-13, also imposes similar restrictions on mental health screening or treatment, and mandates parental consent for sex-education courses.

Of course it does. The mental health subsection is worded like this:

Except as otherwise provided by law or a court order, no person, corporation, association, organization or state-supported institution, or any individual employed by any of these entities, may procure, solicit to perform, arrange for the performance of or perform mental health screening or mental health treatment on a minor without first obtaining the written consent of a parent or a legal custodian of the minor child.

...so it's unclear what the law would do to, say, interactions between a child and a school counselor--you know, that trusted adult kids are told they can go to if they have nowhere else to turn, say because the people who would have to sign the permission slip for a therapy session are the exact people creating the situation the kid needs therapy for.

Ha! What was I thinking? This is Arizona! All our school counselors have been laid off! Problem solved, bitchez!

Interestingly, the newspaper erroneously reported the bill as being SB 1305 rather than 1309, so when I was trying to find the original language of the Parents' Rights bill, I found out what 1305 is. It is an amendment to Section 35-196.02 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, regarding public funds. Take one guess as to where this is headed. Here's the original wording of that statute:

Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, no public funds nor tax monies of this state or any political subdivision of this state nor any federal funds passing through the state treasury or the treasury of any political subdivision of this state may be expended for payment to any person or entity for the performance of any abortion unless an abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman having the abortion.

And here's the amended language (in this case, an added paragraph):

Notwithstanding any other law, public monies or tax monies of this state or any political subdivision of this state shall not be expended directly or indirectly to pay the costs, premiums or charges associated with a health insurance policy, contract or plan that provides coverage, benefits or services related to the performance of any abortion unless an abortion is necessary to either:
1. save the life of the woman having the abortion.
2. avert substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.

Directly or indirectly. No word on how "indirectly" is being defined here, which means the most important question is exactly how fungible the legislature--and, inevitably, the courts--think public or tax monies are. If Frank "People on Welfare Can't Buy a Beer" Antenori's in charge, expect the thinking and enforcement to lean toward the draconian end of the scale. Oh, and poor women who end up pregnant because they're raped or in abusive relationships, and poor minor girls who are the same? You're fucked. Twice. No life-threatening (or bodily function-impairing, and here I have no choice but to assume they're thinking of the ever-important future-childbearing bodily function above all else) condition? Hope you've saved up for Pampers, you slut!

Wait, we're not finished here. Because it's Arizona, and a day without the legislature bringing the stupid would be a day without fucking sunshine.

The Arizona Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a bill to strengthen reporting requirements on abortions.

Democratic Sen. Rebecca Rios of Apache Junction tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to toughen confidentiality protections. Those included not identifying specific counties and hospitals where abortions are performed.

The Senate's bill sponsor, Republican Linda Gray of Glendale, says there's no need to do that because the reports are intended only for statistical purposes.

Sigh. Haven't we been through this before, in Oklahoma? Oh, there are no specific identifiers recorded, the sponsors insist. It says so right in the bill!

A report required by this article shall not contain the name of the woman, common identifiers such as the woman's social security number, driver license number or insurance carrier identification numbers or any other information or identifiers that would make it possible to identify in any manner or under any circumstances an individual who has obtained or seeks to obtain an abortion.

Oh, okay. Whew! So what information that totes won't make it possible to identify a woman in any manner or under any circumstances will be recorded?

1. The name and address of the facility where the abortion was performed.
2. The type of facility where the abortion was performed.
3. The county where the abortion was performed.
4. The woman's age.
5. The woman's educational background by highest grade completed and, if applicable, level of college completed.
6. The county and state in which the woman resides.
7. The woman's race and ethnicity.
8. The woman's marital status.
9. The number of prior pregnancies and prior abortions of the woman.
10. The number of previous spontaneous terminations of pregnancy of the woman.
11. The gestational age of the unborn child at the time of the abortion.
12. The reason for the abortion, including whether the abortion is elective or due to maternal or fetal health considerations.
13. The type of procedure performed or prescribed and the date of the abortion.
14. Any preexisting medical conditions of the woman that would complicate pregnancy and any known medical complication that resulted from the abortion.
15. The basis for any medical judgment that a medical emergency existed that excused the physician from compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
16. The physician's statement if required pursuant to section 36‑2301.01.
17. If applicable, the weight of the aborted fetus for any abortion performed pursuant to section 36‑2301.01.

Man, my grandmother and her friends would fucking be all over this Name That Tune style and have just about any woman in town pegged by number 4, maybe holding out to number 7 if it was turkey-and-gravy day at the senior center and the woman in question had only lived in the town for a couple of months. Jesus. Should I be gratified that the woman's height, weight, and eye color are being excluded for now?

It's sprinkling rain today and the wildflowers are shivering with delight. This godforsaken state should grow nothing but nettles.


Anonymous said...

1. I would be a father today if my girlfriend's parents had to OK the birth control.

2. Sex educations was where I learned about sex. They stopped teaching a year later and I had a heck of a time convincing my little brother of the facts.

3. I'd probably be sterile if I hadn't been able to get treated for that drip at the county health department. No, it was an infection not VD, but I still would not have gone for treatment if I had to tell my parents (my older brother took me).

I gotta stop reading your blog. What's happening in Arizona scares me. It might be coming to my state soon.

Frank said...

Our friends in Tucson suggested we move there. I might be able to take the desert, the critters and the heat, but the idiots in your state legislature would keep my blood pressure at dangerous levels. How DO you do it?