Friday, March 30, 2012

March Madness!

Its March Madness time!  Opposing teams are pushing it the limit and using everything in their straegy book to win the game. However, I am not speaking of basketball. I am talking about the time of year when the Mississippi Legislature goes into session and tries to meet the deadlines to push bills though. This year for the first time in a long time our state has one party, the Republican party, controling the house, senate, and the govenor's mansion. So they have a power they have not had in long time and they are rushing to use it. This year I was able to watch this process closer than most citizens do because I am somewhat of a self proclaimed activist. We will get to my observations in a moment. As many people know there is a war on women going on and it is going on strong in Mississippi.  Yet Mississippi hasn't stopped there they are on a mad cap war against "illegal", or maybe they will learn to say undocumented immigrants too. HB 488 "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act" includes such brilliance in bill writing will ensure racial profiling by requiring police check the immigration status of people who are arrested. It also would prohibit any "business transactions" including renewing a driver's license and getting a business license.  All that makes sense because hey we don't want people to have a business license so they can pay TAXES and we certainly don't want people to be able to turn on their lights, gas, or water. Let's not forget that this is a state that already sets up "random" road blocks to check for peoples insurance and driver's license these already target poor and minority communities.  Hmmm, I wonder were they will be if this passes.....  This stupid bill also opens the state up to lawsuits that of course cost money. Many in law enforcement don't even support it. I believe no person can be illegal, only their actions can and immigration issues ARE feminist issues. Women and partiality women of color are being greatly effected by these laws and they are being victimized in detention camps. We have to have solidarity on this issue.
      On to the war on women when the legislative session started we had 31 bills that were either anti women or restricting women's reproductive freedom. 31bills!!!!!  At the same time that House Public Health and Human Service Committee Chairman Sam Mims was working so hard to push though many of these bills to regulate mine and my daughters bodies he refused to even present a bill to license midwives. A bill which would make the practice safer and help to allow insurance to pay for midwife births. Pretty important you would think in a state with some of the worst infant mortality rates in the country. I digress and need to move on.Thankfully most of these bills died in committee, yet four are still with us. Yes if you have been keep up with your bracket these are our final fourHB 790, HB 899, HB 1390, and  HB 1196.  (See summary below) These bills are all threats to not only women's ownership of our own bodies but also the safety of the doctors who serve us. We have to fight back because these bills need to die in the senate where they are now because we are now in the final four its on now and March Madness is not over.

In this summary of the bills you'll see HB 16 which we thought had went away but its back- So lets call it the fatal five- credit for these summaries goes to Jennifer James and Cristen Hemmins I believe- HB 16 Child Rape Act --Its mandatory reporter requirements and fetal tissue storage mandate negatively impacts and affects every delivery room and Ob/Gyn in the state, and all health care providers indirectly. It will put doctors in legal jeopardy for the criminal behavior of others and denies reproductive health rights to women that currently exist. It is legally a step on the road to personhood. It will also negatively impact medical research and testing. This bill also contains a provision to make any person who helps a minor obtain an abortion, even if legal in the state they received it, open to legal action. HB 790 on House Calendar Outlaws the use of RU 486.--This is reverse tort reform for healthcare providers and creates a new lawsuit against doctors authorizing punitive damages and attorneys fees against healthcare providers affected by the act. Once again good doctors will be driven from the state and researchers will avoid the state. HB 899 -- Line 258 outlaws any abortion "not medically indicated." This leaves the door open to outlawing all abortions within the state except those deemed "medically indicated." The other provisions would create additional cost to every healthcare practitioner in the state, including but limited to signage, printed materials, print and broadcast advertising, websites, publications, letterhead, etc. It also endangers the safety of fertility doctors and other reproductive health care providers by requiring public signage identifying their areas of practice. For an abortion provider, this is dangerous, and could result in an attempt on the life of the doctor. HB 1196 --This is the fetal heartbeat bill that outlaws the termination of pregnancies after the the detection of a heartbeat (which is as early as 5 weeks), and/or after twenty weeks and, requires that ultrasounds be performed on all pregnant women (they have publicly stated would require trans-vaginal ultrasounds for many women) who for any reason seek to terminate a pregnancy. The costs and impacts on the medical community as well a public health are unacceptable. It also contains "personhood " language, asserting that life begins at fertilization. This is what voters rejected in November 2012, and it paves the way for future attacks on all abortions, hormonal birth control, and IVF. HB 1390--Requires all physicians performing in abortion clinics must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. It places an undue burden on healthcare providers and hospitals while negatively impacting women’s access to healthcare. Since there are already admittance agreements with the clinic and a local hospital for emergencies. Most doctors fly in from other states to perform procedures due to the risk of living where you work