Sen. Chuck Winder

  • March 23, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    As the Obama administration and supporters of its landmark health care reform law take note of the law’s anniversary – enacted two years ago today – Timothy Egan takes a look at the state lawmakers opposing the law who have found some health care regulation they can support.

    Earlier this week this blog noted Idaho’s efforts to join a slew of other states that have enacted laws requiring women to undergo invasive ultrasounds and hear government propaganda before obtaining abortions. During the state senate’s consideration of the bill Sen. Chuck Winder in responding to the fact that the legislation did not contain exceptions for victims of rape or incest suggested that women have difficult determining when they’ve been raped.

    “I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue,” Winder said, “that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was the pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly cause by rape.”

    In a piece called “The Church Lady State,” for The New York Times Egan takes right-wing policy makers to task for their efforts to micromanage sex lives of Americans. He notes the Tea Party grumblings over Obama’s Affordable Care Act and other regulations, such as those promoting energy conservation, and says none compare to what “your freedom-hating Republican Party has been doing across the land to restrict individual liberty.”

    Egan continues:

    They want the state to follow you into the bedroom, the bathroom and beyond. They think you’re too stupid to know what to do with your own body, too ignorant to understand what your doctors tell you and too lazy to be trusted in a job without being subject to random drug testing. Your body is the government’s business.

    The “church lady state,” or Idaho, however, is on the verge of enacting an even more stringent ultrasound law than those passed in Virginia or Texas, he notes. It “would subject many women to invasive, trans-vaginal inspections.”

  • March 20, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    Lawmakers bent on undermining the rights of women are not of course confined to the nation’s capital. They just happen to draw plenty of attention, especially when they attempt to scuttle health care policy intended to protect the health of women or decide to slow expansion of the Violence Against Women Act, a law that has been reauthorized, with bipartisan support, twice since its passage in 1994.

    But over the past two years numerous state lawmakers have garnered increasing notice for their strident efforts to make it nearly impossible for women to obtain abortions. Louise Melling, director of the ACLU’s Center for Liberty, noted last year that the states were on a disconcerting roll of attacking reproductive rights. In the process, Melling said the states were stigmatizing women, by essentially saying they are incapable of making decisions on abortions. These state efforts say “women can’t make these decisions, we’re not … trusted decision-makers, and we need assistance as we make this decision,” Melling told ACSblog.

    Reporting for The Huffington Post, Laura Bassett notes that Idaho’s attempt to force women to undergo an ultrasound and hear anti-abortion propaganda from the state before choosing to have an abortion included a ridiculously offensive comment from state Sen. Chuck Winder.

    Before the Senate passed the bill, some opponents noted it failed to provide an “exception for rape victims, incest victims or women in medical emergencies,” Bassett wrote.

    Winder responded to the concern by suggesting that women may not know when they’ve been raped.

    “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this,” he said. “I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was the pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.”

    Bassett notes that if Idaho’s bill becomes law, victims of rape or incest seeking an abortion will be steered to centers that aim “to dissuade women from having an abortion.”

    Idaho is among the slew of states that have joined with national lawmakers in an increasingly aggressive attack on women’s rights. Blog for choice provides more information on the “serious nationwide outbreak of politicians who are practicing medicine without a license.”

    What is likely not surprising is that many of the right-wing politicians peddling destructive health care policy for women, are also in the camp of decrying the landmark health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as a heavy-handed attempt by the federal government to regulate the health care industry.

    Former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger (pictured), at last year’s ACS National Convention, lambasted the argument that the ACA was a grave threat to liberty.