In Florida, “uterus” is a dirty word. A member of the state house of representatives drew a reprimand when he complained that while Republicans want to repeal rules and regulations on corporations, they are all hot to impose rules and regulations on individuals. Women, for example. The rightwingers who control both the house and the senate in Florida have introduced 18 bills to restrict abortion.
Representative Scott Randolph, a Democrat from Orlando, said that his wife had decided the only way to protect her rights was to, as he put it, “incorporate her uterus”. Maybe then the business sycophants of the Republican party would stop trying to micromanage it with laws circumscribing reproductive freedom. Speaker Dean Cannon said he was shocked – shocked! – at such language on the house floor, deeming it a breach of “decorum”. Stephanie Kunkel, Planned Parenthood’s Florida director, rolled her eyes: “If the speaker can’t bear to hear or say the word ‘uterus’, he shouldn’t be legislating it.” Newspaper columnists amused themselves concocting acceptable euphemisms: Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post suggests “baby garage”.
And that’s pretty much how Republicans see women – as a place to park a kid till he’s ready to pop out and go to Sunday School and learn that sex is filthy. Republican-controlled legislatures across the US are hell-bent on stopping women from exercising control over their own bodies. Florida is one of 13 states that would require women to have an ultrasound – which they would have to pay for – before terminating a pregnancy. In Indiana, Texas, Kentucky and four other states, a woman would be forced to look at the foetus. Doctors would have to describe to her, in great detail, the foetus and its physical functions. After all this, she would still have to cool her heels for several days before being permitted to actually have the abortion…
In Texas, where they’re trying to restrict RU-486, the “morning after pill”, the legislature also threatened to cut funding for low-income contraception programmes on the logic that birth control among the poor leads to increased abortion rates. That’s bad and stupid, but not as bad and stupid as what’s going on in Louisiana where Representative John LaBruzzo has introduced a bill to outlaw all abortions – no exceptions, even where the life of the mother is at risk – and charge doctors who perform abortions with “foeticide”. On 26 April, Mother Jones reported that LaBruzzo would also like to make criminals of women who have abortions, but that he may remove that provision in his bill, making it easier to pass.
As Gloria Steinem said, so many years ago: “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
I’ve been following the serious attack on freedom of choice by Republikans – about right for self-titled Libertarians. Plus the absurd assault on language by Florida Republicans. You should RTFA in the Guardian for the best precis of what’s going on. Both the criminal and laughable elements of the tale.
As is customary, most of the news-as-media-and-entertainment crowd who own American journalism have paid little attention to the political struggle and fear possible retaliation by Republicans and their Kool Aid Party brown shirts. So, there has been little coverage of the uterati event. Though it would fit nicely in with their dedication to column inches about stupidity like birthers and other racist camouflage.