BY WANDA JO STAPLETON
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops [men!] and Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich [more men!], strongly oppose President Obama’s requirement that women have free health insurance coverage for contraceptives.
The Bishops were not even appeased by the president’s exemption of churches and faith-based institutions that object on religious grounds.
In my opinion, the Republican presidential candidates’ obsession to unseat Obama clouded their thinking.
“The small proportion of women and girls who aren’t using contraceptives account for half of all abortions in America,” according to the Guttmacher Institute.
One might suppose, then, that these men would work to prevent unintended pregnancy [hence some abortions] through use of contraceptives.
But there are other ways to put “uppity” women in their place, especially those wishing to end a pregnancy.
In Oklahoma, we have state-sanctioned rape for such women. Specifically, HB 2780, which passed the Legislature in 2010, has not gone into effect because of a court challenge. That challenge, brought by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and others, will be heard in State District Court in Oklahoma County on Mar. 30.
That law, if not struck down in court, requires a woman to endure an ultrasound probe inserted in her vagina if that method produces the best image – and it does during the first trimester. That will show uppity women who’s boss.
But there’s more! SB 1433, the Personhood Bill,” gives a fertilized human egg “all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.” That bill passed the Oklahoma Senate [on a 34-8 vote] and is en route to the House.
Dr. Eli, Reshef, an Oklahoma City-based Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist, says that this bill will “outlaw the use of certain contraceptives [Morning-After pill, intrauterine devise, or IUD, and perhaps even other hormonal contraceptives] … and severely limit the practice of in-vitro fertilization [IVF].”
Dr. Reshef concludes that Personhood measures “have been promoted by PersonhoodUSA, an anti-abortion group out of Colorado, in order to defeat Roe v. Wade.”
Speaking of Roe v. Wade [which became law in 1973], an image embedded in my mind is the photograph of a dead, naked woman, a victim of a criminal abortion, in a kneeling position, with her face on the floor and a bloody butt in the air. The inscription read Never Again: Death, Politics and Abortion .
Ms. Magazine published that photo [which I still have] in the Spring 2002 edition.
Looks as if the “Never Again” was a bit hasty. Today, the “barefoot and pregnant” crowd is – incredibly – going after contraception.
– Wanda Jo Stapleton is a former Democratic state representative who lives in Oklahoma City