If Caesar were alive today, he’d be stabbed to death with a speculum. Three days shy the Ides of March, there is something disproportionately apropos for the Republicans in the State Assembly to make use of its limited time left in the current legislative session to vote on three bills that further the national war on women.
The first is AB 154 (full text here), which proposes to prohibit the coverage of abortions through health plans sold through exchanges, i.e., the federal Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Rather than waste time about the merits or shortcomings of this, instead I would like to focus on a strange discrepancy in the Republican tactics against so-called socialist medicine. What’s notable about this is that, up to this point the GOP has stalled, stonewalled, and flat out refused to implement any aspect of the Affordable Care Act. Not only has Gov. Walker proudly boasted of his prevention of the state from implementing any of the exchanges, but Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has made something of a showcase of his tenure to hop on the GOP bandwagon of state attorneys general suing the Obama administration over the constitutionality of the healthcare reform. Indeed, when Circuit Court Judge Roger Vinson, of Florida, ruled that the federal healthcare act was unconstitutional, Van Hollen quickly leaped to say this: “Judge Vinson declared the health care law void and stated in his decision that a declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction. This means that, for Wisconsin, the federal health care law is dead – unless and until it is revived by an appellate court. Effectively, Wisconsin was relieved of any obligations or duties that were created under terms of the federal health care law.”
(Let’s call this a “Wiscontradiction,” for when it came to a different circuit court judge ruling on an injunction, this time here in the state, the attorney general had a different tune altogether. He cried, “The Legislature and the Governor, not a single Dane County Circuit Court Judge, are responsible for the enactment of laws.” He would go on to say in the same press release statement, “No matter whether individual citizens agree with the substance of the bill or the manner in which it was enacted” — he is referring to the controversial Act 10, the bill that killed collective bargaining and was passed in an extremely dubious manner — “I would hope all see the value in ensuring this matter be given the opportunity to work its way expeditiously through the judicial process.” But that rubric of that diktat somehow pertains not to affordable healthcare. Go figure…)
So on the one hand, Wisconsin will abide not one whit of Obamacare, and besides we’re on board to take this to the Supreme Court since we’re so certain of its egregious breach of states’ rights. HOWEVER, just in case we don’t have an elephantine majority in the near future, let’s make sure we at least pass a law that corresponds to something we don’t believe even legal in the first place — heck, ’cause ya just never know now…
The second is AB 337 (full text here), which is the ignominious “abstinence only” bill that the Senate passed already last year. All I will add to what has been scribbled about this already are the following thoughts. The bill gingerly goes out of its way to gut science in the way of removing “medically accurate” information when sex ed curriculum is concerned. Perhaps quack science and the stork theory of how babies are born are birds of a feather… AB 337, together with SB 237 (the Senate version of this), would dismantle the state’s comprehensive sex ed policy, under the guise of giving school districts more “local control.” This is a canard (no more fowl puns, I promise). The law currently on the books, passed only two years ago, already allows a district to opt out of teaching about contraception and STDs to age-appropriate pupils. It even allows a district to teach abstinence only; however, if abstinence only is taught, so must family planning and health, side by side. But clearly such control is inefficient. Just the same, can other studies be as loosely interpreted as human reproduction? Math, for example — which may be the only way to construe the numbers adding up in Walker’s budget? Or state history — which could eschew the inconvenient truth of the labor movement and collective bargaining?
Or the separation of church and state — because isn’t the implementation of abstinence only, no longer counterbalanced by contraception information, an imposition of religious belief on public school curriculum?
Another amusing nuance of AB 337/ SB 237 is that it would eliminate the requirement that a student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) be notified if and when a school board does not offer instruction regarding human development — let’s call it “Don’t Teach, Don’t Tell.” Moreover, if the school board deems it right to cease teaching about human sexuality, development, and contraception, no longer is it the right of the parent/guardian to know what is(n’t) going on at school. Why is the state motto “forward” when we’re sending our kids reeling into the yesteryear of unspeakable prudery while they are constantly saturated by a culture of sex and scant. Victorian mores, meet sexting reality.
Last, and sadly not least, is AB 371 (full text here), which proposes to add further restrictions on women’s access to abortion while criminalizing doctors performing abortions. The party of small government and freedom is champing at the bit to poke its nose in the privacy of doctor-patient relations by adding new legislative mandates to existing statutes, matters near and dear to any true conservative’s heart such as making sure that a doctor has made sure that a woman is sure that she sure has not been coerced into having an abortion, and this assurance can only be ensured by mandating that the woman return to visit her doctor in person 24 hours before the abortion is to be induced. It’s comforting to know that the party of family values is so concerned that women aren’t being coerced into terminating a pregnancy by the very people, presumably, who put them in a family way in the first place. Thanks guys! Such chivalrous valor!
What’s next, clitoridectomies?
(For more on all of these bills, here is an excellent, concise summary.)
There will be a rally today at the State Capitol, State Street entrance, at noon, called “Women Watch, Women Rally, Women Vote.” These bills are all but certain to pass, because it’s the hi-ho neophyte Republican majority in the State Assembly. As I alluded to above, it’s uncannily telling that such misogynistic nonsense, part and parcel of the countrywide war on women, is happening in March — March, which is named after the Roman god of war (think martial arts). And so I humbly make the following modest proposal: women of Wisconsin — nay, the world — stop having sex with Republicans! Let this be the beginning of the end of the Republican speculum! I propose a campaign, a pledge, a national movement! Who’s with me? Because, damn it, it’s time to put the you back in uterus!