Friday, February 16, 2007

Another "abortion coercion" law

A republican representative in Idaho is proposing a law to "outlaw the use of coercion, threats or physical force to dissuade a pregnant woman from giving birth".

On its face that seems benign; it might protect a pregnant woman against job loss, for example. But it's one-sided; to be fair, it should also outlaw the use of threats or physical violence or coercion to dissuade a pregnant woman from terminating the pregnancy. But the proposed law doesn't cover that side of the equation. A similar law in Michigan, the "Coercive Abortion Prevention Act", was pushed through by anti-abortionists who also fought to defeat an amendment to the law that would have applied the same rules to those coercing women not have abortions.

There's a growing trend among anti-abortion activists to use a softer, stealthier approach to their manipulation of women in the form of "pregnancy counselling" services. These "counselling services" are little more than coercion strategies to persuade women to go through childbirth the don't want. Plastic fetuses ("here's what your baby looks like right now"), utrasounds ("look, there's your baby") and baby supplies (though nothing for the next 18 years of its life) are offered in an effort to dissuade women from the choice to abort through psychological intimidation.

So the people who push for these "abortion coercion" laws think it's wrong to coerce a woman to terminate a pregnancy (fine), but it's okay to force a woman to give birth. The whole anti-choice movement is by definition about coercing women to give birth against their will. The passage of "abortion coercion" laws without appropriate amendments to protect women who choose to abort is an ominous portent.

Why do so many people just not get it: reproductive issues are nobody's business but the woman's. We don't need all this legal shit they try to foist upon us in the guise of "protection" but which is, in fact, just part of the ongoing effort to exercise control over our reproductive lives. We just need to be left alone and trusted to make our own decisions.

(via F-words)