Pro-Life Movement Attacking Democracy
As more than half of Republican-dominated states trigger their own restrictive anti-abortion laws, it is increasingly apparent that pro-fetus extremists have a much larger agenda in mind, that being to impose mandatory childbirth nationwide. The fact that these draconian laws threaten the lives and health of pregnant women and their families can readily be seen in a medical profession thrown into disarray as doctors find themselves at risk of liability and litigation resulting from the performance of necessary life-saving medical procedures which could be construed as illegal under current state laws. To counter such threats, the U.S. Department of Justice has begun suing those states where such laws could effectively result in pregnant women being denied essential medical services.
Attacks on reproductive autonomy are increasingly wide-ranging and all-inclusive. Among them is access to medicinal abortion. Long constituting more than half of all abortions, it relies on prescription drugs consisting of two medications – Mifepristone and Misoprostol – as a safe and effective way to duplicate the process of miscarriage by blocking the production of the hormone progesterone. Capable of being used for up to nine weeks of pregnancy, federal regulation allows these pills to be mailed to private residences. Despite that, Tennessee lawmakers and this governor have passed a bill effective January 1, 2023, making the mailing of medical abortion pills illegal and requiring them to be dispensed by a medical clinician. Obviously, that reduces access and increases the expense which can be as much as $750. Adding insult to injury, some patients are being denied prescriptions by pharmacists who claim to have moral or religious objections to abortion.
These right-wing, politically motivated efforts to control and regulate pregnancy are now being directed at contraceptives. Walgreen customers are claiming that they’re being denied the ability to purchase birth control and condoms. CVS has a similar policy that allows pharmacists to deny the sale of birth control products. Such laws are currently legal in six red states; although Tennessee is not yet among them. In response to concerns that the Supreme Court may be headed to overturning a long-standing ruling which prohibits the banning of contraceptives, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Right to Contraception Act making it a federal right to obtain and use all manner of birth control and contraceptives. Only eight of 195 House Republicans voted in favor of this bill, which not surprisingly did NOT include any of those from Tennessee.
Currently stuck in limbo in the U.S. Senate by obstructionist Republicans, Tennesseans need to call Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty at 202-224-4944 to demand that they protect birth control as an essential component to reproductive health care and family planning. In addition to vasectomy and tubal ligation, long-term contraception remains a practical and affordable solution to preventing unwanted pregnancy. Those services are currently available for FREE from a grant-funded, non-profit organization called A Step Ahead. They can be found online at astepaheadmiddletn.org or called at 615-671-7837.
Nevertheless, when all is said and done, the most effective way to fight back against those who wish to deny women and men reproductive freedom of choice is at the ballot box. Make your voices heard and vote accordingly.
Murfreesboro, TN 37128