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Oklahoma’s War On Women

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Irin Carmon has a fantastic piece about the effects of “moderate” regulations of abortion on the ground. It needs to be read in full, but a teaser:

Earlier that month, at home in Oklahoma City, the Davises were told that the boy she was carrying had a severe brain malformation known as holoprosencephaly. It is rare, though possible, for such a fetus to survive to birth, but doctors told them that he would not reach his first birthday. “He would never walk, lift his head,” Jessica, 23, recalled in an interview.

“I could let my son go on and suffer,” she said. Or she could accept a word she didn’t like – abortion – “and do the best thing for my baby.”

The Davises’ ordeal was always going to be painful. But the grim path that led them to a night in the car was determined, nearly every step of the way, by a state that has scrambled to be the most “pro-life” in the nation. There are no exceptions for families like the Davises.

But surely Matt Stoller is onto something when he says that abortion policy is completely disconnected from partisan politics?

For decades, under Democratic control, legislative committee chairs would block abortion restrictions from a hearing. But new term limits, alongside rising conservatism, helped rapidly drain the legislature’s long tradition of Democratic control. Republicans took over the House in 2004, the Senate in 2008, and the governor’s mansion in 2010.

The last hope for pro-choice advocates in Oklahoma is the state judiciary, where many of the laws have been successfully challenged, often on technical grounds.

“We are growing weary of admonishing the Legislature for so flagrantly violating the terms of the Oklahoma Constitution,” the state Supreme Court wrote in 2010, after striking down a law that required women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and hear a description of the images. “It is a waste of time for the Legislature and the Court, and a waste of the taxpayer’s money.”

Lauinger blamed the losses on the fact that “eight of the nine members were appointed by pro-abortion Democrat governors.”

In addition to the obvious point that elections matter, it should also be clear that there’s nothing “moderate” about “moderate” abortion regulations. They impose substantial trauma and expense on the women who can least afford without any actual benefits.

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  • Linnaeus

    “pro-abortion Democrat governors”

    There they go again.

  • Its heart breaking to read about what they had to go through to go out of state to get that abortion. Hard to read–especially the last bit about how she “never worried about politics” before. He is unemployed, they are living on her disability, have three children, are on medicaid and I’m betting that they don’t vote or, if they do, they voted for Mitt Romney. Its like a worst toxic event storm of all time.

    • Johnson

      Constitutional rights are not absolute…except for the ones we like.

      • GoDeep

        Hopefully Ken Cuccinelli’s pending electoral deluge will be a warning to the hard right. They are immune to good sense oftentimes so it prolly won’t be, but we can hope.

        • brad

          Insanity cannot fail, it can only be failed.

        • efgoldman

          Hopefully Ken Cuccinelli’s pending electoral deluge will be a warning to the hard right.

          They will ignore strobe lights, sirens, horns, the train coming at them, everything, if it conflicts with their [fantasy] world view.
          Remember, TeaHadism cannot fail… etc.

  • They impose substantial trauma and expense on the women who can least afford without any actual benefits deny people that most basic of rights – control over your body and are the direct product of deeply entrenched misogyny.

    The. End.

  • Todd

    “What are these future demographic realities of which you speak?” – Every Republican, apparently

    • “What is this ‘future’? What is this ‘reality’?”

      • “Who am I? Why am I here?”

  • While I certainly agree that anybody who cares about abortion rights has to vote Democrat, I’m not sure I believe that a pro-life Democrat could actually win office in Oklahoma at this point.

    • TribalistMeathead

      Nonsense, they’ll do like every Democratic candidate in the South and veer so far to the right they’re practically indistinguishable from a Republican.

      • Whoops, I said the opposite of what I meant above… i.e. that it seems likely the only Dems Oklahoma will realistically elect will be Pro-Life… so it’s not entirely clear to me that it’s wrong to suggest that “abortion policy is disconnected from partisan politics” in Oklahoma.

        • Scott Lemieux

          so it’s not entirely clear to me that it’s wrong to suggest that “abortion policy is disconnected from partisan politics” in Oklahoma.

          Except for the Democratic committee chairs who won’t let anti-choice legislation through and the Democratic-appointed judges who strike it down, sure.

          • I wonder why those Democratic committee chairs are no longer in office? Might it be because they didn’t let anti-choice legislation through?

            The article also mentions term limits as being a part of it, but if pro-choice Dems can no longer win elections in the state then you are left with judges.

          • And like the state rep said in the article, with Republican governors in place Oklahoma will have good judges like Anton Scalia and that black guy.

            • Hogan

              You know, the good one.

              • He’s someone’s best friend, I believe.

                • I find that unlikely.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            You do realize that this is all 100% theoretical, don’t you? Our state has become unbelievably Republican in a very short period of time. There is precisely zero chance that the Democrats will capture either house of the legislature or the governor’s mansion next year. In fact, the only announced candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination at this point is a leading member of the local Tea Party who last ran a couple cycles ago as an Independent congressional candidate challenging Tom Cole from the right.

      • Rigby Reardon

        Further. There’d be an awful lot of overcompensation happening as a natural part of the process.

  • DrDick

    Imposing substantial trauma and expense on the women who can least afford it is not merely a consequence, but a goal of these people. The poors must be punished for their fecklessness, which is the only reason they are not rich.

    • It helps wealthy men keep tabs on “their” women as well.

      Even if a woman doesn’t work and has more than enough money to make a trip to an out of state clinic she still has to make that trip, possibly arrange childcare, account for her absence and so on.

      • Origami Isopod

        Heck, there are wealthy men who insist that “their” women get abortions when it’s convenient to the men in question, such as Scott DesJarlais.

        • Later, she can be denigrated for having an abortion!

          (And no need to discuss the fact that it is very common for abusive men to assault their victims over matters related to birth control.)

    • MAJeff

      Well, they are Calvinists, after all. If God hates the poor, why can’t they?

  • wengler

    God’s will, etc.

  • So, everything’s going according to plan, is what you’re telling me.

  • JL

    Apparently Oklahoma has an abortion fund. If you don’t live in the area and want to help, and you have any disposable income, it might be worth sending them some money.

    • Thanks for the link. Very useful.

  • LeeEsq

    Elections matter but what do you when the voters select the reactionary candidates?

    • Bitter Scribe

      You depend on the courts to preserve the rights of the minority.

      Which, apparently, some of the Profiles in Cowardice Democrats in Oklahoma have been doing.

    • And what happens when the only choices you are given, by both parties, are reactionary candidates? See Georgia for example one. Is Michelle Nunn really the best Georgia Democrats can do? I doubt it.

      • JL

        Is Michelle Nunn really the best Georgia Democrats can do? I doubt it.

        Have you spent much time in Georgia? I spent a large part of my childhood in Contract-With-America-era Newt Gingrich’s district, and electing any Democrat at all there was very much an uphill battle. Atlanta proper is pretty liberal, but the rest of the state is not.

  • Brien Jackson

    There you go again, distracting us sheep from the pressing matter of DRONES! and our silver buller coming alliance with The Great Pumpkin Liberaltarians with petty “lifestyle issues.”

    • DocAmazing

      Ah, yes, the post that never happens…

  • GoDeep

    The reality of abortion–esp late term abortions–are poorly understood by most ppl. Its often mischaracterized as a replacement for birth control when in reality there are thousands of women who have abortions even though there’s nothing they want more than a healthy baby.

    I can understand & respsect why ppl think fetuses are a life, and as a life deserve to be protected, but much of the Pro Life movement is just plain simplistic, and many of them simply oppose the whole of the sexual revolution.

    • ironic irony

      Remember, also too, pro-lifers are only pro-life prior to birth. Once the baby is born, they don’t give a fuck about it, especially if the baby is on the darker side, or has a funny sounding last name.

      • NonyNony

        pro-lifers are only pro-life prior to birth

        Most “pro-lifers” are only anti-abortion and give fuck-all concern about life in general.

        If you want to test it, ask your resident “pro-lifer” what they think about universal pre-natal care for all pregnant women regardless of their ability to pay to ensure a higher probability of pregnancies coming to term and resulting in healthy babies. I know plenty of pro-choice people who support that. Not one of my pro-life family members will touch that “socialized medicine” with a 10 foot pole.

        The term “pro-life” is a lie backwards and forwards. They’re anti-abortion and that’s as far as their “pro” for “life” gets.

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