" width="640" height="496" />By most accounts, the first six months of this year have been off to a glorious start. Osama Bin Laden has been shoved into Davy Jones' locker, Rupert Murdoch's empire has big chunks falling off of it, the Miami Heat did not win the NBA championship, and gays are getting married all over the place. In spite of these positive developments, there's a nagging feeling that something's amiss about this year, as though all of the great things that are happening to everyone else aren't really happening to women. If it seems a little bit like maybe this year's been an anti choice, anti-woman fuckery jamboree from sea to shining sea, that's because it has been.
The Guttmacher Institute has just released a report confirming our suspicions. From January to July of 2011, more laws governing women's reproductive health have been enacted at the state level than in any other full year since at least 1985. This has been a busy time for the old white conservatives who our nation's elderly have elected to cut taxes and make jobs. They've been very busy, all right, doing all sorts of tax cutting and job-making, just like they promised. (Apparently "cut taxes" and "create jobs" is code for "force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term." You learn something new every day!)
According to the report,
In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005-and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states.
Among the other lowlights of our race to sad trombone our way back to 1952:
15 states have enacted gestational limits on abortion based on the long disproven notion that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks. Exceptions to the rule?
abortions may be performed after 20 weeks only if the woman's life is endangered or if there is a risk of "substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function."
Know what is a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function? Being super pregnant when you don't want to be!
4 states have passed laws making it illegal for private insurance providers to cover abortions, because being against government intervention in private industry and being in favor of government intervention is private industry as it relates to women's bodies does not cause any cognitive dissonance in those without any cognitive capacity, apparently.
5 states have made it so women seeking abortions must spend some time in bad lady time out before having the procedure done.
Let's hope that this, like the donning of Native American headdresses by hipsters, is a trend that will die out and not a bleak harbinger of legislative initiatives to come.