Governor Bentley just announced massive cuts in the state's general fund because of a $188 million shortfall ... and what are Alabama Legislators working on? No fewer than 13 bills attacking women's rights. Why are they wasting time instead of doing the real work we sent them to Montgomery for?
"Alabama, STOP the War on Women's Rights" Rally
Sunday, March 18, 2:00 - 5:00 Big Spring Park, Huntsville, Alabama
Twenty speakers, including:
AL Democrats Chairman Judge Mark Kennedy
Dr. Pippa Abston
LaShon White-Menefee, Public Policy Manager for Planned Parenthood Southeast
Music will be provided by area volunteers.
For more information contact: Pamela Watters - firstname.lastname@example.org / 256-655-3732
SB12 OPPOSITION RALLY Thursday, March 8, 2012 11:00am until 2:00pm
Be sure to visit your state representative and state senator while you're there!
Although Sen. Scofield has temporarily backed down on SB12, he believes he can just change a few words and make it viable again. Dr. Abston very eloquently explains the reasons Scofield's forced ultrasound bill, or any other forced ultrasound bill, should be withdrawn.
SB12 OPPOSITION RALLY Thursday, March 8, 2012 11:00am until 2:00pm
This is a rally for Alabama voters to show Sen. Scofield that we will not be appeased by amendments or a substitution to SB12. It must be withdrawn. It is also our message to all Alabama legislators that our votes will not go to anyone who supports this bill or any similar bill seeking to interfere with women's healthcare, an issue that should be left up to the woman and her physician.
Bills seeking to limit women's rights should not be up for consideration, debate, or vote.
If your 12 year old daughter or granddaughter or niece is raped and becomes pregnant in Alabama, what are her options under Sen. Clay Scofield's (R, Female Business) bill, SB12? What would your options be as her parent or guardian?
A) Submit to a second violation -- this one by the state -- likely with a transvaginal ultrasound probe before a physician can legally perform an abortion,
B) Carry her rapist's offspring to term and give birth, or
C) Pray for a miscarriage.
That's it. Sen. Scofield's bill defines "woman" as "a female human being whether or not she has reached the age of majority."
In other words, any female, no matter if she is only a child herself, will be subjected to Scofield's unnecessary medical procedure and -- even if she averts her eyes from the images -- will be forced to listen to the doctor's narration of the ultrasound, describing the presence and location of the fetus with dimensions, internal organs and external limbs. What effect will that have on a child who is pregnant as a result of rape? Is that how we treat our children in Alabama?
And make no mistake, this is not an impossible or unlikely scenario I'm describing. Girls as young as 12 give birth in Alabama just about every year. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the youngest mother in 2010 was 12; likewise in 2006 and 2009. In 2007 the youngest mother was 11 and in 2008 the youngest female to give birth in Alabama was 10 years old. Can you imagine subjecting a 10 year old -- who has already been traumatized by rape -- to this procedure?
The child has already been raped once and ideologues like Sen. Scofield want the state to rape her again with an ultrasound probe -- complete with narration! -- before she can legally consent to an abortion or recieve any medication? What are they thinking?
Senator Scofield's bill contains no exceptions for victims of rape or incest or for children. He may not be as heartless as this bill makes him appear, but he obviously hasn't taken the trouble to inform himself on this issue before trying to write legislation and he doesn't understand the implications of his bill.
There is an SB12 copycat bill in the Alabama House, HB418. It includes the very same language and is now before the Health Committee. It has not one, but seventeen Republican sponsors, all of whom are apparently as uninformed and misguided as Clay Scofield. They are:
If you are represented by one of these Republicans, please take steps to educate them about the bill they are sponsoring and ask them to drop it. And everyone who is disgusted by this legislative focus on invading a woman's body instead of on Alabama's very real budget problems and struggling economy should contact members of the House Health Committee and ask them to let HB418 die.
WAAY-31 reporter Shea Allen tracked Sen. Clay Scofield down yesterday to talk about his transvaginal ultrasound bill, SB12. First go vote in the poll at that link (bottom of page) then come back and watch Scofield squirm for the full 11 minute interview, uncut.
Note that Scofield makes the point that if he takes out the transvaginal requirement the only difference between his bill and current Alabama law is that his would force doctors to not only perform the ultrasound BUT ALSO to show women the ultrasound image. He very magnanimously stops short of forcing the woman to look at the image, saying "she can avert her eyes, if she chooses."
Ms. Allen also asks Scofield what was up with taking down his facebook page (feared for his safety) and why he wants to modify his bill now. He claims he didn't realize there were concerns until now, even though he introduced the same bill last year. That's like admitting "I just put my name on these bills, I have no idea what they'll actually do."
I really wish Ms. Allen had asked Scofield where he got the text of his bill originally, because it's dollars to donuts he didn't write it himself. Is SB12 another piece of ALEClegislative spam, or did he get it from some anti-abortion think tank?
Crawfishing is a polite term for what Scofield is doing. Far from "always intending" to let Alabama women and girls choose the type of ultrasound they'd have to endure, he deliberately and clearly wrote his law to insist that the state make the choice, requiring doctors to use:
"a vaginal transducer or abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly"
No choice there, just criminal penalties for any doctor who disobeys. So Scofield was against (fake) choice before he was for it? Something like that.
Actually Schofield, a 32 year old poultry farmer who wants to impose his medical judgment over that of, you know, actual medical doctors for every female in the state of Alabama, just got his head reshaped by the Governor.
This evening Rachel Maddow reported that her staff contacted Gov. Bentley's office today to ask if they had been in contact with Sen. Scofield (remember, Bentley got ambushed by a reporter over SB12 just yesterday) and were told that, yes indeedy, the Governor had made his views known to Scofield. Presto, Scofield is now crawfishing around, looking for a way to save face. Watch him mealymouth and squirm on the WAAY video at this link.
Scofield's proposed change makes his bill slightly less incendiary without making it a bit better. It still substitutes the government's medical advice for your doctor's and imposes a useless, humiliating, uncomfortable and expensive procedure on women. If more Alabama legislators had vaginas, trash laws like this one would never see the light of day.
Being forced by the State of Alabama to view ultrasound images of the dead fetus and listen to a doctor "provide a verbal explanation" of those images before he or she can legally remove the remains from your womb.
Heartless, huh? That's just one of the provisions in SB12, sponsored by Republican farmer Sen. Clay Schofield (Madison, Marshall and Blount counties), which includes this in its definition of abortion:
... or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of natural causes, accidental trauma or a criminal assault on the pregnant woman or her unborn child.
So by God any woman ... defined as "a female human being whether or not she has reached the age of majority" ... who becomes pregnant is going to either carry that child to term or darned well submit to an invasive procedure and be forced to look at images of the fetus before it can be removed, even if the fetus dies as a result of natural causes or injury. Just when you thought the Alabama Legislature couldn't get any crueler or more mean-spirited -- they do.
According to the CDC's MMWR on Fetal Mortality fetal death rates are about 7 per 1000 live births. Those women would be impacted by this law. It's not enough to lose a child, you have to look at pictures, too.
Proponents of SB12 deny that it is a radical attempt to humiliate women. This provision reads more like a cruel attempt to punish women whose pregnancy fails.