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Blog for Choice Day 2011 – Concerns about Congress

January 22, 2011

blog for choice day 2011 Yesterday was the sixth annual Blog for Choice day – officially, I missed it, but I think the issues raised in yesterday’s post on the Kermit Gosnell abortion clinic atrocities are important ones to discuss. Today (the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade), I’m getting with the official program to attempt to answer this year’s theme question: Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?

Of course. Of course.

Of course I’m concerned at the national level. Efforts to change provisions of health care reform or penalize people and companies when their health insurance covers abortion may have serious effects, and represent further anti-choice efforts to mislead people about “federal funding for abortion.” I hope that most of these attempts will not only pass the House, though, having little chance for real implementation – although we’d have to count on our Democratic Senators voting pretty uniformly for the pro-choice position, and I don’t think we can count on that.

I’m more concerned at the state level. Here in Tennessee, some of the most egregiously anti-choice and anti-woman legislation used to get stuck in committee. This, I’m afraid, will no longer be the case.

Hell, on November 5, 2008, I wrote that pro-choice advocates needed to start paying attention to what was happening in Tennessee, that we were going to need your attention and help. That is only more true now, as Republicans now control the state House, Senate, and Governor’s office. The new Republican House speaker has reworked the committees, assigning Republicans to head all of them, with Glen Casada selected for the Health and Human Services committee – typically one first stop for any abortion-related bills. Casada is currently working to block a non-discrimination ordinance, opposed gay marriage, and pledges to “work to change Tennessee’s laws so that the most innocent have the same constitutional right that you and I have, the ‘right to life.'”

Tennessee anti-choice politicians have been trying to pass a constitutional amendment to state that nothing in our state Constitution protects the right to an abortion for years – of course I’m worried that this will be the period in which they are actually able to do so.

Forced ultrasounds, death certificates for abortion, more restrictive waiting periods and other regulations – I’m guessing it’s all on the table, that our state Republicans would rather work on these anti-choice political “wins” than addressing jobs, education, infrastructure, or other pressing issues. We already get a “D” grade from NARAL Pro-Choice America, which estimates that 94% of our counties already have no abortion provider.

Welcome to Tennessee. Please check your reproductive rights at the state line.

Other participating blogs are listed at http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/get-involved/online-day-of-action/bfcd11-main.html with links to their sites. I will soon be overfeeding my RSS reader with lots of sites I hadn’t seen until now. A couple of posts I liked (after randomly clicking on blogs with intriuing titles and a few familiar ones):

  • Ethiopian Feminist: “I feel that the growing influence of the extreme right and related anti-choice gains at the domestic level will soon thereafter have a spill over on international policy.”
  • Shark-fu is concerned *and* encouraged
  • The Feminist Librarian – how did I not see this blog before now?? “It’s the responsibility of those of us who are pro-choice on abortion and reproductive health to articulate what people do need to follow through on their choices. Because if we don’t, we might have a ‘choice’ … but not much of a chance to act on it.”
  • Also, here are my 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 Blog for Choice Day posts.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2011 11:59 am

    Thanks for the shout-out! I just stopped by to say you do actually know my blog as the Future Feminist Librarian-Activist. I just recently did a re-design and changed the name to reflect the fact I’ve graduated library school and am now a practicing feminist librarian rather than a librarian-in-training :)~

    • January 22, 2011 12:04 pm

      Ah, okay – I missed the transition. Thanks for clearing that up! And congrats on your graduation! :)

  2. January 22, 2011 5:02 pm

    I had a similar take as yours: the state level is where we may see the most radical attempts to restrict abortion access. Not to ignore the echoes of Stupak that will shape federal legislation – but it’s states like Tennessee and my adopted state of Ohio that have NO way to stop the reactionary juggernaut. We now have Republican control in both houses of the legislature, plus an incredible wingnut as governor.

    As I wrote in my Blog for Choice post, the Repubs are pushing a really draconian law that would cast a chill on doctor’s willingness to perform all but first-trimester abortions – and we’ve got no public officials who can push back against it effectively.

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