Yes, it could happen here.

27 Aug 2013 12:00 am
Posted by: Donna

Huffington Post’s Laura Bassett quoted the lovely and talented Arizona NARAL Executive Director Kat Sabine on the slew of anti-choice legislation sweeping across states since the 2010 Republican takeover of a bunch of state legislatures.

“This has turned into a nightmare,” said Kat Sabine, executive director of NARAL’s Arizona affiliate. “The kind of efforts the women have to take to get family planning or abortion services are just incredible, and you can only get care if you can get out of the community to do it. If you’re on a reservation or rural part of the state, unless you have reliable transportation, you’re not going to get care.”

In Lake Havusu, Ariz., there are several anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers and a Catholic charity hospital that does not offer abortion care, but women have to travel over 150 miles to either Phoenix or Las Vegas to find the nearest abortion or family planning clinic, Sabine said. The situation mirrors problems rural women face in other states. Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have only one abortion clinic each, and the first two are hanging onto their only clinics pending court decisions…

There’s a good reason to quote an Arizonan on this topic as you can see from this graph in the HuffPo piece:

Huffpo Infographic

Yean, Arizona kinda got forgotten in national coverage this year with all the crap going on in Texas, Ohio, Virginia, and other states. We’ve managed to keep anti-choice bills at bay this session so far but they got so much done the prior 3 years that other states are merely playing catch up with us.

It’s rather unbelievable at this point that I still hear people (more often than not male) proclaim that the Republicans will never ban abortion because they need it to rally the troops. I suppose if the issue doesn’t affect you personally you wouldn’t notice that while abortion is nominally legal under federal law, it is practically unavailable for women in much of Arizona who lack the time and resources to surmount the barriers necessary to obtain one. For all intents and purposes it may as well be 1972 (pre Roe) for them. As far as contraception access goes, anti-choicers are trying like hell to push it back to 1965 (pre Griswold), when the Pill was illegal or unavailable for a lot of women, but they seem to have been stymied somewhat by Arizona joining the Medicaid expansion, recent federal court decisions upholding Medicaid patients’ rights to choose providers, and the courts upholding the Obamacare contraception coverage mandate in private plans (even if your creepy boss disapproves). For now.

I feel I need to bring your attention to the following situation in the Maldives:

A 15-year-old girl who faced 100 lashes in the Maldives after she was raped by her step-father has had the sentence overturned following an international campaign.

The child, who cannot be named, was handed the draconian flogging sentence for “fornication” in February, triggering a petition by the global campaign network Avaaz and anger from opposition and women’s rights groups in the country. Two million people worldwide signed the petition calling for the sentence to be commuted.

You might be tempted to come to a couple of comforting conclusions here:

1. Yay for the global pressure! Whew!

2. The Maldives is a backwards Third World country stuck in the 12th century so why are you bringing them up?

On the first part, okay. On the second, you might want to slow your roll:

A survey by Avaaz found that 92 per cent of Maldivians want a reform of national laws to protect women from sexual assault, while 73 per cent are opposed to punishments for women for “sexual crimes”. One in three women between the ages of 15 and 49 has suffered either physical or sexual abuse over the past five years. Nine out of 10 sentences for flogging in the Maldives in 2011 were given to women, while no one has been convicted of rape in the past three years.

So it appears that the majority of people in the Maldives aren’t all that different in their attitudes from us Americans after all. Thing is, it has never taken broad popular support to implement the most horrific anti-women policies imaginable. All it takes is for a small band of ugly authoritarians to get themselves into (guess what?) positions of authority (they tend to get themselves into them). The belief that “it can’t happen here” does a major disservice to the people where it is happening and blinds one to very real possibility that it can happen here. Women’s rights in the US, to the extent we have them, are etched in jello and under a blowtorch. We’re not “exceptional”. We’re next.


  1. Comment by Suzanne on August 27, 2013 1:55 pm

    However, Donna, your column is a bit depressing.
    I came across this video today, it is a little dated (not much). It made me smile.

  2. Comment by Timmys Cat on August 28, 2013 4:15 pm

    I’m beginning to think this is one of the last large social agendas that the right wing feels it is acceptable to express outright hostility, rage and suppression of rights in public and not be attacked by the public at large.
    With racism being severly criticized and homophobia losing it’s flash point, all that anger and self righteousness has to go somewhere.
    I believe the right will always have a faction that no matter what, they will believe that there is a conspiracy somehow somewhere to take what they’ve got.They just need an authority figure to point out which way to focus their paranoid anger and they will take care of the rest.. All this hostility has most of the less fanatical members of the party cowed into submission.
    With anti-abortionists framed as pro-life (never mind about capitol punishment) and pro-choice framed as “baby killers”, it keeps the waters muddied enough so the true issue of a womans civil rights is lost to the larger public.

    I am hoping all this suppression finally comes to a head and the focus becomes on what the term conservative really means. Hopefully a more pragmatic wing of the GOP will realize just how authoritatrian their parties response to this issue is and split to start a new party along the lines of Britains Conservative party. They disapprove of gay marriage but stuck to their principle of government out of private lives and voted it in anyway.

    The hypocrisy and self serving of the Republican party will eat them alive.
    Divisivness, bitterness and falsities are not a political philosophy that will keep you in power in the long run.

    (yea i know but hopin’)

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