Wednesday, November 02, 2005

More War On Women In Wisconsin

In a bid to replace the National Rifle Association as the lobbying group that nominally controls the Wisconsin Republican party, Wisconsin Right to Life continues its full-frontal assault on women's rights. Legislative director Susan Armacost put in another appearance this week on Wisconsin Public Radio, attempting to calmly and reasonably explain why women should have their civil rights abridged via two more Anti-Choice bills being debated in the Wisconsin legislature.

The first bill seeks to amend parental notification laws in the state of Wisconsin. As the laws currently stand, a minor wishing to have an abortion must have the consent of either a parent or an adult family member over the age of 25 (a judicial waiver can also be sought). For starters, I'm not terribly keen on the parental notification law as it stands now. The basic purpose of the law was to make sure that strictly Pro-Life parents would be able to take whatever extreme measure they liked to stop their daughter from enjoying her legal rights. However, in its present form, the parental notification law is at least tolerable. Sadly tolerance is not a virtue Pro-Life groups tend to venerate.

The new changes would first strike down the portion of the law that allows girls to go to other family members for consent. That way, victims of incest and parental abuse will have toplace their well-being in the hands of their abusers. Second, it requires that the parents have their consent forms notarized by a notary public, making said consent a matter of public record. Since it's not legal to stone women in the public square in Wisconsin (yet), Wisconsin Right to Life apparently felt that having a girl's private medical information exposed to public scrutiny would have to suffice as just punishment. After all, the girl is clearly a godless sinner of loose moral underpinnings, else she'd have never allowed herself to become pregnant in the first place.

The second and even more ignorant of the two bills is the "Fetal Pain" bill, which Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has, in their own inimitable way, renamed the "Junk Science" bill. After all, most of these social engineering legislative bills are named more for political effect than descriptive value anyway. The Junk Science bill would require physicians to inform a woman desiring an abortion, for any reason, that a fetus 20 weeks or more developed can feel pain. There's certainly nothing that the victim of a rape, incest or tragically failing pregnancy needs more than some additional guilt and pain. Such is the "compassion" of compassionate conservatives, that they would afflict this sort of emotional trauma on a woman needlessly.

What makes this bill even more sickening, is that it's basic premise is not backed up by medical science! From the Wisconsin Medical Society:

On the fetal pain issue, the evidence is not yet conclusive - especially in the medical field, which requires a myriad of study, compilation and analysis before widespread acceptance. Therefore, the legislature setting a bright-line standard of 20 weeks into the statutes before medical science has reached a conclusion is premature at best, and inaccurate at worst.

Further, the Society goes on to state, it is not appropriate for legislators to be imposing guidelines on informed consent based on ideological assertions not based in scientific evidence. This directly and negatively impacts a doctor's ability to perform his/her job effectively and could pose a danger to the patient.

Wisconsin Right To Life, along with its partner in crime, Pro-Life Across Wisconsin, continues to scrape the bottom of the ideological barrel in its continued crusade to return women to a second-class status. They continue to try and chip away at women's rights in Wisconsin, and, thus far, only the level-headed leadership of Governor Jim Doyle has prevented them from instituting their medieval social programs. Fortunately, the people of Wisconsin are beginning to wake up to what a Republican party controlled by far right lobbying groups is doing to our once proud progressive tradition. There are many enlightened, educated women in Wisconsin that have a strong revulsion to their rights being dragged back into the 14th century.

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