It may be the start of a new year, but the same political characters are continuing to introduce new bills that deal with women’s rights. Even though Obama won the election, the clown car of Republicans looking to reverse current legislation is still present in Washington. Instead of focusing on one issue, I thought I’d share a smattering of new issues that came up this week, and judge from afar (aka Canada – the land of legal abortions and same-sex marriage).
First out of the gate, our dear friend Paul Ryan. Because unfortunately when you’re running for Vice President and you lose, you still get to keep your old job. Last week he cosponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a reintroduced personhood bill. The latest version specifies that human life begins at fertilization (even before an embryo implants in the uterus) and that “one-celled human embryos” be granted “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”
Next down in Texas, Planned Parenthood was banned from participating in a newly created Texas Women’s Health Program because it is considered to be an abortion provider “affiliate.” This prevents PP from providing services to low-income women that are part of a state program that provides family planning services and preventative health care. According to PP, over half the women using the former Medicaid program were use its services, meaning state approved providers should prepare for an influx of new patients. Supporting this motion is Rick Parry, who said Planned Parenthood was more concerned about getting taxpayer money than actually helping women.
And to end on a happy note, a bill has been put forward in California to clarify the outdated rape law that resulted in an overturned rape conviction because the victim was unmarried. The bill proposes the wording of “spouse” be changed to “sexually intimate partners” to protect single men and women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender pairs (who, thanks to Prop 8, currently can’t get married in California).