The latest state to hop on the nutty abortion law train is North Carolina, where the Senate just passed an anti-sharia law with a twist that not even the wiliest M. Night Shyamalan buff could have seen coming: an out-of-left field amendment that would basically ban abortion in the state. In the state legislature, it's apparently not enough to be a plain-jane vanilla xenophobe; the real retrothinking achievers also believe women are untrustworthy harpies who'd turn their babies into delicious North Carolina-style barbecue if left to their own devices. Cool!
When I first read about brave Christians in the Tarheel legislature sneaking a de facto abortion ban into a law that was designed to make sure America never turns into a theocracy that forces an oppressive religious doctrine onto the masses (and by "an oppressive religious doctrine," I of course mean an oppressive religious doctrine that originates from one of the scary browner countries, not the oppressive religious doctrine that's centered around a sexy blonde Jesus), I thought it had to be a joke. It's not! Here's how the North Carolina Uterine Surprise went down, according to the News & Observer,
The proposed abortion restrictions were brought up in a Senate committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. The committee was scheduled to discuss a bill disallowing the use of Islamic law in family matters such as divorce, child custody and alimony. The abortion legislation was attached to that bill.
A few hours later, Senate Republicans voted to waive their rules to allow a floor vote. Lobbyists that supported the bill, including representatives from N.C. Values Coalition, the N.C. Family Policy Council and N.C. Right to Life, were at the committee meeting. Lobbyists opposed to the bill were not told it was being debated.
Tricksy zealots, adding a serious anti-abortion law to a silly anti-Islam law. If you're a woman, the North Carolina state legislature hates you. If you're a Muslim, the North Carolina state legislature is afraid of you. And if you're a Muslim woman — hoo boy. Watch the fuck out — your teeming-with-mystery faith and genitalia need to have the shit legislated out of them.
While the sneaky amendment doesn't directly limit abortion, it does impose restrictions on abortion providers that would close all but one clinic in the state and require women who receive medicinal abortions to take the drugs used in the process in front of a doctor. Alison Kiser, the Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central NC calls the TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers — woo! What a depressing acronym!) amendment an attempt "to sneak [state legislators'] abortion restriction wish-list into law." And as for the second provision of the amendment— here's the thing about medicinal abortions: it's a two-step process, and after the second drug is taken, some women begin bleeding fairly heavily within an hour or so. So requiring women to take both drugs in the presence of a doctor is sort of requiring them to bleed all over a giant maxi pad while experiencing moderate to severe cramps on the frantic car ride home. It's a seriously unnecessary requirement that basically legally enshrines even more humiliation and discomfort into the process of abortion.
The full frankenshit of a bill was passed by the Senate today by a 29-12 vote. Protestors have been dispatched, and the governor of the state has promised that he wouldn't sign any more abortion restrictions into law if they crossed his desk. According to the News & Observer, the legislation has enough votes that it doesn't need his signature. Oy.
I've got to hand it to the brigade of wacky magical thinkers currently in charge of several state legislatures: they're nothing if not dogged in their single-minded quest to make sure women don't worry their pretty little heads about making choices about their own bodies.