The GOP takeover of State legislatures across the country was fueled by promises of job growth, reining in spending and economic recovery. But for 51 percent of the U.S. population, these Republican-led legislative sessions have been wrought with nothing but legal assaults against a their right to decide what happens to their body at all stages of life. The Pennsylvania legislature spent roughly 30 percent of their first 9 months in office debating stricter regulation of abortion providers. Personhood amendments – that grant full legal rights to fertilized human eggs – were introduced and failed (by wide margin) in Colorado, Alaska, and Mississippi and are being proposed across the country. (That’s right, women would have less rights than a fertilized egg.) Even reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has faced stark opposition from republican lawmakers opposed to funding the law and expanding provisions of the law to cover undocumented immigrants or gays and lesbians who are victims of domestic violence.
The GOP “war on women” has significantly dimmed the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is a ray of hope out there. When Susan G. Komen announced an end to funding Planned Parenthood over opposition to abortion care (even though the Komen funds aren’t used for abortion care), consumer outrage with the organization forced the Komen board to reverse the decision, and raised over $1 million in private donations to Planned Parenthood’s breast health program – dwarving the Komen funding. Other significant attempts by GOP-led legislatures to defund planned parenthood and impose mandatory ultrasounds on women seeking abortions have been met with outspoken public opposition, even while they are passed by these “small government” conservatives.
But one recent development has really got my hopes up. At Change.org, a petition has been raised by the geniuses at SHAKESVILLE to introduce a Personhood Amendment I can truly get behind! The language of the amendment reads as below.
A person identifying as a woman and/or having a uterus shall retain all of the full, basic, and fundamental rights of a US citizen as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Congress and the States shall make no law that infringes upon a person’s life, including but not limited to access to life-saving or life-improving healthcare, and/or medicines and procedures deemed necessary or beneficial by a medical professional and/or by the person having the uterus, procurement of which shall not by denied in and of itself by the presence of a uterus. Congress and the States shall make no law that infringes upon a person’s liberty, including but not limited to autonomy over hir own body and the ability to make decisions regarding hir own healthcare. Congress and the States shall make no law that interferes with a person’s pursuit of happiness, including but not limited to access to a full spectrum of reproductive options, freedom from forcible reproduction, and the ability to make decisions regarding family planning and family resources.
When enough signatures have been gathered, the petition will be delivered to Senators Patty Murray (WA), Al Franken (MN), and Kristen Gillibrand (NY) with a request to introduce the proposed amendment in Congress.
So if you are tired of being treated like a third class citizen, get your butt over to Change.org and sign the petition! It’s time women’s rights were human rights!