Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Worst state in the union to be a young woman

It’s a close race, but right now, the winner of the ‘Worst state in the union to be a young woman’ is…. Ohio!

I know, you thought it was going to be KansasNorth Dakota, or possibly Texas, thanks to Rick Perry’s recent shenanigans. Yes, those states put up good fights, but when you see what kind of anti-woman legislature Ohio has recently passed, I think you’ll agree that Ohio is the clear winner. Here’s what they now have:

Medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds. I know what you’re thinking. These days, lots of states force women to have ultrasound wands inserted into their vaginas for no medical reason. Nothing special about that insult to women’s autonomy or to medical personnel’s integrity. Fair enough. Let’s move on.

Doctors must lie to women. In Ohio, doctors must lie to women about whether abortions cause breast cancer (they don’t), whether fetuses feel pain (not at the developmental stages cited), whether abortions increase the risk of infertility (again, nope), and whether abortions are medically risky (if performed legally sans coat hanger, they’re much less so than giving birth). Women would have to wait 48 hours to mull over all that misinformation before getting an abortion.

People pretending to be doctors must lie to women. Cuts to Planned Parenthood mean that many women in Ohio will no longer have access to cancer screenings, contraceptives, and other health services. But good news, money will be available for religious zealots to dress up as doctors and give women anti-abortion propaganda. Besides giving women the kind of false medical information I mentioned above, these ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ also mislead women about how and where to get legal abortions in the hopes that by the time the women figure out the ruse it’s too late. 

Again, these sorts of deceptive practices are by no means unique to Ohio. But don’t worry, there’s more.

TRAP laws. Some states have used Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws to force their abortion clinics to close. An example of this is a law that requires clinics that provide abortions to have doorways that are least an inch wider than whatever size they were when the anti-abortion inspectors came to call. You can imagine that most of these clinics cannot afford to remodel their rooms and hallways to comply with these medically useless laws. Some states only have a single abortion clinic left in the entire state, and laws like this may force even that one to close, effectively outlawing abortion in those states.

Here’s where Ohio really wins this season’s War-On-Women trophy. Ohio passed legislation requiring clinics that perform abortions to have emergency transfer agreements with hospitals. They also banned public hospitals from having such transfer agreements. Yes, you read that right. To run a legal abortion clinic in Ohio, you must have a transfer agreement with a private hospital, which don’t even exist in many parts of the state. Not to mention the fact that private hospitals are often religious and are likely to refuse such an arrangement.

If you are having an abortion and something goes horribly wrong, you can’t be transferred to a public hospital. You’d better hope you’re near a private hospital that won’t choose to let you die on its doorstep. This new law is courtesy of a group of people who like to call themselves ‘pro-life’.

So congratulations, Ohio, on being the worst place in America to raise daughters. And for everyone who lives there, I hope you’ll keep all this in mind come election time.

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