Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sen. Blumenthal introducing bill to combat Republican state-based attacks on abortion access

From Daily Kos:

"The bill would prohibit states from passing so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose strict and cost-prohibitive building standards on abortion clinics, require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds, and create other barriers to abortion access. [...] 

Blumenthal's bill wouldn't automatically overturn states' existing anti-abortion laws, but because federal law trumps state law, it would provide a means to challenge them in court."

More here.

Flash back to the early 1990s.  Anti-abortion activists were doing essentially the same thing they're doing now, shutting down abortion clinics in a Roe v Wade end run, but using very different tactics: in those days, the pro-life movement employed massive demonstrations, at multiple sites, again and again, ostensibly as an exercise of free speech rights, but by design intended to cut off women's access to clinics.  And it was working incredibly well.  I mean, how can you get into an abortion clinic when thousands of angry anti-abortion protesters are in your way?  You can't, so this was a crisis.  And nobody seemed to know what to do about it.

That's when Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and the entire thing was shut down virtually overnight.  Anti-abortion activists continued to have a right to demonstrate, of course, but they could no longer misuse their free speech rights to keep women out of abortion clinics.  Really, this was the end of Operation Rescue and several other "free speech" front organizations. 

And I feasted on the crocodile tears of the anti-abortion movement.

Flash forward to today.  The tactic of choice is passing legislation, ostensibly for the protection of women's health, or other such nonsense, which by design serves to make getting an abortion impossible, even while the right to an abortion continues to exist in theory, yet another end run around Roe.  And, just as it was in the early 90s, nobody appears to know what to do about it.  Well, okay, I don't know what to do about it.

Until now.

I didn't even realize this was an option, but apparently it is.  I mean, of course it's an option, especially in light of the freedom of access law, but it just didn't occur to me.  And, I must say, it's a brilliant idea.  It would stop these oppressors in their tracks, and I would again be able to feast on the crocodile tears of these sex-obsessed, concern trolling, vagina maniacs.  Well, okay, what's more important is that such legislation would ensure that women are able to actually exercise their constitutional rights, instead of simply appreciating that they exist in theory.  But these state laws are just so mean-spirited and awful that I would LOVE to see the forces behind them being forced to eat their own shit.  At the moment, I can't imagine anything more satisfying.

There is something standing in the way of Congress passing such legislation, though: we need the Democrats to take back the House next year.  And that's a big task.  But after their recent government shutdown antics, the GOP is about as popular as herpes, and there's definitely a chance.

If the Democrats were smart, they'd focus every single House race on the issue, and force the Republicans to show their misogynistic hand for one and all to see.  This needs to be an abortion rights election, and it needs to be balls-to-the-walls.  The real question, of course, is whether the national party has any balls left.

I guess we'll see.