Last month Whitney Bryan of Oklahoma Watch documented the horrific saga of an Oklahoma woman who had to travel about 600 miles to receive the medical care she needed because of Oklahoma’s anti-choice, anti-healthcare, anti-women abortion restrictions.

          The woman’s life was at risk. The fetus she was carrying – missing a skull and most of her brain — had absolutely no chance for survival. But, Oklahoma laws are such that medical personnel were afraid of punishment if they tried to save the woman’s life.

          And, with one of the anti-choice laws creating a bounty system whereby outsiders can sue anyone who performs an abortion or helps a woman attain one, the best her healthcare providers could do was to refer the woman to the same Internet search engines for out-of-state abortion clinics that she had already found.

          In March, another Oklahoma woman was kicked out of an emergency room and told to wait in the parking lot until her blood loss and pain brought her to the brink of death before the medical professionals could help her.

          She has filed a complaint against the hospital with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of course, the true miscreants in the case are our Republican legislators and Gov. Kevin Stitt, who stole women’s healthcare from them.

          Oklahoma women have company as second-class citizens deemed incompetent to make basic medical decisions.

          Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe v. Wade last year, misogynists across the country rushed anti-choice bills into law.     

          Human Rights Watch reports, “Approximately 22 million women and girls of reproductive age in the US now live in states where abortion access is heavily restricted, and often totally inaccessible.”

          These states keep stepping up their attacks.

          In August, ABC News reported, “Alabama’s attorney general argued in a court filing that the state has the authority to bring conspiracy charges against groups who help women travel to another state for an abortion.

          Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall “argued, while it’s legal for a woman to travel out of state for an abortion, he suggested groups that help her do so could face prosecution.”

          Idaho and Missouri have enacted similar laws, and, south of Red River, Texas counties are passing obviously unconstitutional laws (in that they restrict interstate commerce) “that would outlaw travel on local roads to get abortion care,” according to Common Dreams.

          The purpose is to make it illegal to drive through these counties on one’s way to New Mexico, where women are recognized as sane adults who don’t need male supervision.

          I remember my first trip to California and having to stop at the quarantine station to make sure we weren’t carrying any contaminated produce.

          These zealots would impose a reverse situation – an anti-woman wall, which former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis told the Texas Tribune would create “a reproductive prison in the state of Texas.”

          Yep, a wall to keep people in. Sounds communist to me. Tyrants share tactics.

          And, once the women are corralled, they can be managed more effectively.

          In July,  Alanna Vagianos of Huffington Post reported, “Alabama’s attorney general (him again) confirmed what many abortion rights advocates have warned for years: Women can be prosecuted for using medication abortion, despite the state’s abortion ban explicitly stating it does not criminalize the pregnant person.”

          Over the summer, a woman and her daughter ran afoul of Nebraska’s anti-choice laws. The mother bought abortion pills and gave them to her daughter.

          In July, the 18-year-old woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years probation. Last month, the mother was sent to prison for two years.

          Jezebel reported the reaction of Rafa Kidvai, director of If/When/How’s Repro Legal defense Fund: “In this particular case, here’s the audacity: Self-managed abortion is not even a crime in…Nebraska….It doesn’t have to be [illegal]. The prosecutors are like, ‘This is illegal in my heart.’”

          The hearts of anti-choice politicians make diamonds seem soft.

          In mid-September, a TV ad for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear featured a young woman calling out GOP gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron for his opposition to all abortions, including those involving rape and incest.

          “I was raped by my stepfather after years of sexual abuse. I was 12,” she says. “Anyone who believes there should be no exceptions for rape and incest could never understand what it’s like to stand in my shoes.”

          Cameron’s response in early October confirmed her accusation: “I cannot comprehend just how traumatic that experience was for her. And my heart goes out to her, and I want her to know that. But when it comes to the issue of life, look, this is a delicate issue.”

          He cited his own personal religious view on the subject while ignoring other religions’ differing opinions. This is why American governments deliberately separated church and state.

          And it’s not just men with hardened hearts. In April Ohio State Rep. Jean Schmidt – yes, a Republican – declared, “It is a shame that (rape) happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman no matter how young or old.”

          The Tennessee victim initially remarked:  “To tell a 12 year-old-girl she must have the baby of her stepfather who raped her is unthinkable.” The victim elaborated after Cameron’s statement, according to Spectrum:

          “Daniel Cameron said himself that he cannot comprehend how traumatic the experience was for me. And he’s right. So I just want to know why he feels so entitled to force victims who have stories like mine to carry a baby of their rapist? It should be their choice.”

          Choice? Choice? Women in many states have been deemed incapable of making healthcare choices.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

Women denied basic healthcare

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