Welcome — I’ll be your host for this walkthrough of gynoticians’ most notable shenanigans around reproductive and sexual health in statehouses. As you’ll find out in a moment, however, lawmakers of one state see you as a host as well...
Oklahoma: “You’re a ‘Host’”
I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions. I understand that [women] feel like that is their body … I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’
Those are the words Oklahoma lawmaker Justin Humphrey told a reporter with The Intercept earlier this month as he explained his proposal to force women seeking safe, legal abortion to first get the consent of the “father.”
Expanding on his view, Humphrey said said of women that
after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.
Members of Oklahoma’s House Public Health Committee nonetheless approved the bill on Feb. 14: a lovely Valentine’s Day token of appreciation for hosts women living in the Sooner state. According to Mark Joseph Stern of Slate and other legal observers, the bill almost certainly goes against the Supreme Court’s holding in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth that spousal consent laws are unconstitutional — so even if Humphrey’s proposal were to become state law, it might face serious legal challenges.
Photo source: Facebook
Rep. Justin Humphrey, everybody.
Pennsylvania: 20-Week Abortion Ban Advances
Lawmakers in the state Senate voted on Feb. 8 to enact a 20-week ban on the provision of safe, legal abortion in the Keystone State. Thirty-two senators voted in favor of the ban, while 18 opposed it — meaning the bill failed to clear the two-thirds threshold needed for it to withstand a gubernatorial veto.
Pennsylvania Governor and women’s health champion Tom Wolf has made clear to lawmakers that he will veto the bill if it arrives at his desk. At a press conference he cohosted with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny, Wolf listened as two Pennsylvanians spoke about their decisions to end pregnancies after the in utero discovery of severe birth defects. Noting that state senators had rushed to vote on the bill without a hearing at which Pennsylvania residents could have spoken, Governor Wolf said: “I just wish the Senate had allowed these women to testify.”
Governor Wolf has it right on 20-week abortion bans: Nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but the situations that lead to abortion later in pregnancy are often complex — circumstances in which a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.
Photo source: the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, left, and state resident Karen Agatone, during a press conference opposing the 20-week ban.
Virginia: Governor Blocks ‘Defunding’ Bill
Reproductive-rights champion and state governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed an effort to “defund” Planned Parenthood” health services in Virginia. At a Feb. 21 event at the governor’s mansion, where he rejected the legislation, McAuliffe told women’s health advocates and others that “[i]t’s time that our General Assembly understands that we have a responsibility to protect the rights and dignity of women.”
The legislation, if it took effect, would have blocked patients from using federal funds to access essential, affordable sexual and reproductive health services from organizations that also perform safe, legal abortion. The Virginia Senate had approved the legislation along party lines with a 20 -19 vote on Feb. 14, making it improbable that supporters of the bill could achieve the two-thirds majority needed to override the governor’s veto.
Visit our Defunding Defined page to learn more.
Virginia politician and hardline abortion opponent Corey Stewart ran into choppy waters when he attempted to enter the debate around sexual and reproductive-health services. Weighing in on Twitter after a user posted a photo of state officials wearing pink scarves, Stewart said — referring to the state’s lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam: “Aaaaaand he is for Planned Parenthood.”
Supporters of Planned Parenthood quickly weighed in to let Stewart know their thoughts:
While not among the health services typically provided by Planned Parenthood, an ice pack might be needed to help Stewart with those burns. 🔥
Ready to act? Check out the five best ways you can help Planned Parenthood this February.