Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You, ma'am, have been counterfucked!

You remember SB 89 that I was so pissed about? I guess you wouldn't if you only read my blog. To recap for those of you who didn't hear me ranting loudly about this on the third reading deadline night...

SB 89 is a bill that the Republican-controlled Senate handed over to the House that originally stated that physicians performing abortions must have admitting privileges at their local hospital. This is ostensibly to ensure that physicians performing abortions have gone through the extensive background checking and whatnot that hospitals do, which is not a bad idea in itself.

The reason this is a problem is that hospitals are loathe to give admitting privileges to physicians who don't live in the area, and most abortion doctors don't perform abortions where they live, because it'll get your family harassed by anti-choicers. The other reason this is a problem is that it isn't necessary. The only thing admitting privileges really gains the woman is being able to have the same doctor at the hospital in case of a complication that she had performing the abortion. This really doesn't make a difference in standard of care as I've had it explained to me, since hospital doctors are just as qualified to take care of her!

The real reason for handing this over is, of course, to shut down all but one clinic in Indiana that performs abortions by requiring doctors to jump through a meaningless hoop with no penalties for a hospital that refuses them admitting privileges simply because of why they want them.

This should never have gone to the House floor for a vote, in my opinion. It should have been killed in committee so that the Democrats whose constituencies are ignorant and backward won't have to vote on it one way or the other. As it was, a lot of Dems had to vote against their own consciences and the best interests of their constituents just because Right to Life will force them out of office in 2010 if they don't. There's no right vote here. Either vote for an unconstitutional piece of legislation, or lose their seat to a Republican who's not even going to consider the Constitutionality of this kind of bullshit.

So of course it passed. The House put language in it which accepted the premise that those performing surgical procedures should have local admitting privileges as long as we apply it to all surgical procedures. Lots of amendments to it passed, including one requiring the woman seeking an abortion to be informed that a fetus can feel pain--despite the fact that one Rep stood up and gave AMA peer-reviewed evidence that this isn't even true for the developmental stage this legislation addresses.

But it did pass. It passed from the Senate to the House, and lots of Reps who understand the notion of "undue burden" as the Constitutional litmus test had to vote for it anyway. A very small number sacked up and voted Nay nonetheless, and they have my gratitude and respect for that. Then it remained to see if the Senate conferred or dissented with the changes that were made to their bill in the House.

I have an update!

Senator Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) evidently doesn't like the fact that the bill would now cover all surgical procedures, and also disapproves of the amendment giving funding for preventative health care for women. That's right! These amendments strengthen the case of SB 89 being a bill about women's health, rather than an attempt to shut down most of Indiana's abortion clinics.

So the very things that make it viable as anything more than an imposition of an unconstitutional undue burden are the very things that might kill it in conference committee. If they want to say it's not germane to apply this to all surgical procedures, and if they want to say that it's not germane to amend other considerations of women's reproductive health, they're going to have to admit that the bill is attempting to do something else--something unconstitutional.

Let's hope committee kills it. That way all the Dems will have pacified their constituents by voting to suppress women, but there won't actually be consequences for those constituents' uneducated single-issue voting.

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