Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Rep. Todd Akin's outrageous and ignorant assertion about pregnancies caused by rape: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
While Aikin's comment garnered a great deal of attention and condemnation, there's a lot more to worry about when it comes to the war against reproductive rights and justice. The National Women's Law Center reports that in the first six months of 2013, states introduced 273 anti-abortion provisions and enacted 38 of them. Pro-lifers like Texas Governor Rick Perry will tell you that these restrictive measures are "historic effort[s] to protect life," and that these provisions "ensure women are provided with accurate medical information" about abortion. They will tell you that the legislation is about the safety of women and their unborn children. In short, they will lie.
This spring, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched investigations into all 50 states' oversight of abortion, writing letters to state attorney generals and public health departments, and using abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell's trial as leverage to examine abortion providers nationwide.
These efforts by congressional Republicans are purposefully deceiving. They equate abortion with murder, and cynically use Gosnell's case as an excuse to scrutinize abortion at he state level. The investigations set forth by the two House committees were a farce from the beginning. Both committiees turned a blind eye to the fact that Gosnell was an outlier, and that, as SLC Feminist reported, he wasn't running an abortion clinic at all.
RH Reality Check, a sexual and reproductive health and justice organization, released a fascinating report today that documents the false premises on which the recent anti-abortion bills have been created, introduced, and enacted. The investigation, led by journalist Sharona Coutts, analyzed thousands of documents obtained through public records, and concluded that, "these documents — from the very state entities charged with overseeing and regulating abortion — show ... that abortion in the United States is highly regulated and overwhelmingly safe."
The overall picture is clear. Abortion regulations may vary from state to state, but whether abortions are performed in private doctors' offices or in dedicated clinics, abortion clinics and providers are regularly monitored and inspected, and abortion remains a safe choice.
Legislators' attempts to overturn our constitutional right to choose are an assault on intelligence, on science, and on our fundamental right as human beings to make the decisions that are best for ourselves. Restricting abortion access will not make abortion safer. It will produce more back alley clinics, and make an overwhelmingly safe procedure (Reuters reports that abortion is even safer than childbirth) unsafe. According to ThinkProgress, the restrictive measures enacted in Texas have already caused women to travel to Mexico in order to terminate their pregnancies.
And so, to every anti-abortion politician who wishes to ignore science in favor of self-righteousness, I say: keep your rosaries off my ovaries.
And now, an amazing pro-choice public-service announcement by Lady Parts Justice.