Will Virginia Make an Abortion So “Safe” that It Is Impossible To Obtain?

BlogHer Original Post

The Washington Post reports that Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, an avowed opponent of women’s rights to decide for themselves if abortion is an acceptable option, “concluded that the state can impose stricter oversight over clinics that perform abortions.” He believes that they should be held to the same standards as outpatient surgical clinics,” to ensure a certain level of protection for patients." The two page article cites no statistics on how these tougher restrictions would improve outcomes for “patients.”

NUREMBERG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 02:  A coat hanger is pictured at the Quelle warehouse during the clearance sale on November 2, 2009 in Nuremberg, Germany. The liquidation of stock of insolvent German mail-order company Quelle started all over Germany.  (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

However, it would effectively protect women from ourselves and our abilities to make decisions that other people don’t agree with when it comes to pregnancy. Delegate Robert G. Marshall told the Post,“We should do everything possible to ensure that every woman's life and health and their future pregnancies are protected by the Commonwealth of Virginia” (emphasis mine). Victoria Cobb, the president of the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia and another opponent of women’s rights to make their own decisions regarding reproductive health, said "The vast majority of Virginians want to see abortions performed in a safe way." Again, how is the procedure currently unsafe for women? No clue. That would require some sort of evidence rather than propaganda, so there is no information offered.

The goal is to make abortions so “safe” that they never happen.

To protect all us little ladies and our fetuses, the measure would effectively shut down 17 of the 21 clinics in Virginia that perform abortions. The closures are not because they are unsafe or have been shown to harm “patients,” but because they cannot afford to comply with the unnecessary standards.

Now that we understand the real intent of the law, let’s step aside for one second and review the stellar records of the people who are pretending to worry so much about our health:

the flag of Virginia

In another attempt to protect Virginians from their basest impulses, AG Cuccinelli raised “a serious concern: a bare breast on the Virginia state seal and flag. The allegorical figure of Virtue, having just slain Tyranny, is letting her toga dip a little low.” He proposed an alternative design, which consisted of something that resembled a chastity belt for the chest and a shirt. Naked breasts are seriously the worst public policy crisis we face today, people! Of course, this makes me suspect that he is not in favor of breastfeeding in public, but I have no evidence of this, just an opinion. Like the people who want to put clinics out of business by making them safer, but at least I admit upfront that is what I’m doing. Anyway...

On to our next paragon of virtue. Back in February, Delegate Marshall told an audience at an anti-choice conference that that disabled children are punishments from God for having abortions. Right. Certainly, then, he would want to protect patients from selecting abortions and being punished by God. Really, he’s just looking out for the taxpayers. Disabled kids are really expensive, you know.

Finally, Victoria Cobb. In April, she applauded a decision reversing a 2008 policy banning Virginia State Police troopers from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers, claiming that nondenominational prayer violates “the religious liberty rights of state police chaplains.” If you can’t force your religion on everyone, then dammit, where is religious freedom in this country?!?! This woman really worries a lot about rights and what other Virginians think about how I would be safer if I didn’t have rights that disagree with theirs. Good thing she’s such an expert in medical safety that she can weigh in on this abortion debate.

For those of us who seek facts (you know, evidence and stuff like that) on the safety of abortion, Jodi Jacobson has a great column at RH Reality Check. They indicate that abortion is a) already regulated by the state; b) performed by licensed doctors; and c) pretty damn safe. “Surgical abortion is one of the safest of all types of medical procedures. Repeat: Of all medical procedures of all kinds.” Although the people who want to cover the state seal’s boob, who think God is punishing women with disabled kids, and who insist that I pray to Jesus in public (although Jesus doesn’t punish women who have abortions, so that’s nice) will use their beliefs to try and force law through, those of us who truly believe in individual rights can stand up and say no. We can also make fun of them by wearing chastity bras.

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants and is the author of Off the Beaten (Subway) Track.

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