Enough about everybody’s hurt feelings; here’s an actual, ongoing crisis affecting millions of American women who don’t give a shit about feminism’s boring Twitter feuds: the medieval State of Texas has unequivocally seized ownership of all Texan uteruses.
I allude to the redoubtable HB2 of 2013, the telegenic filibustering of which bill catapulted state senator Wendy Davis to cosmic prominence last summer (this week she officially became the Democrat candidate for governor). Because you are no doubt obsessed with Texas politics, you don’t need me to remind you that while Davis’s efforts managed to block HB2, it was later passed anyway, in special session by spiteful misogynists.
The bill is very crappy. What it does, among other woman-hating things, is require either clinics to spend millions to build ambulatory surgical centers, or clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. This, the spiteful misogynists asserted, lying through their teeth, was to improve the “safety” of the already perfectly safe legal abortion.*
Well, cash-strapped reproductive health care clinics in poor communities are obviously not going to be able to build surgical centers, and local hospitals operated by conservative godbags are not going to invite abortion providers to join their misogynist rosters, so HB2 was really about obstructing women’s access to legal abortions. Which is itself really about punishing women.
You know all this already, of course. I bring it up because this week more clinics, this time in McAllen and Beaumont, were forced to close down as a result of this crappy misogynist legislation. In all, all but 6 of Texas’ 43 remaining clinics will bite the dust by September. The closings were nasty to contemplate last summer, but now that it’s actually happening, it just makes you want to pull your own head off. The anguish of the clinic directors is heart-breaking.
“We’ve been well aware that Texas has been against us and on us for many, many years,” said Marva Sadler, a regional director at Whole Woman’s. “But I did not think I would see a day where they would have put up such barriers that now that we’re actually closing clinics, and they’re essentially taking away the right to fair and safe comprehensive health care that all women, not only in the state of Texas, deserve to have. […] I’m grieving for the women. I know the day after we close our clinic, they’ll call and that line is not going to have anyone on the other end to answer their questions. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do?”
Indeed. Women from those impoverished Texas communities now face evenmore absurd, burdensome, and potentially life-threatening hassles before they can exercise their legal right to an abortion. They have reproductive health experts like GOP state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg to thank. Laubenberg, one of the sponsors of HB2, really, truly believed, until just last year, that rape kits are what emergency room doctors use for abortions, “where a woman can get cleaned out.”
Laubenberg is a woman, incidentally.
Mang, sometimes you just want take your Mega-Clue1000 ray gun, set it to 11, and zap these oblivious right-wing blisters right in the lobe.
*Hey, asshole Texas teabag legislators: the risk of death from abortion is only one-tenth the risk of death from childbirth. [Guttmacher Institute]