Being from New Jersey, I occasionally mock the rest of the country – I’ve gleefully referred to California as the land of fruits and nuts, smirked over “Pennsyltucky,” giggled over a bumper sticker that said “West Virginia: It’s all relative,” and I have an entire stand up routine worth of remarks about Florida (much of my family has migrated there in recent years, giving me a fount of fresh material on a regular basis). Kidding aside, though, I have long consider the U.S. to be just that – a unified body, and a highly advanced one at that.
Yesterday that image was shaken when the state of Nebraska’s governor signed two laws – one that barred abortions at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the other, even more outrageously, requiring women to be screened for mental health (and other problems), before having an abortion. Let’s take a look at these individually:
- Why 20 weeks? No fetus is possibly viable, but someone in Nebraska claims that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. How do you know that? Can you ask the fetus? No, of course not – it’s a fetus (painfully obvious I know, but they seem to be missing that in Nebraska). Apparently they try to ‘evade stimuli’ and that has been extrapolated to mean ‘can feel pain.’ It’s sure to be challenged, and I fervently hope will be seen for the ridiculous invasion and misuse of scientific assumptions that it is, but not before it costs the taxpayers (and I’m sure that will include those of us in N.J. when it inevitably gets thrown into federal courts of some kind) millions of dollars. Millions of dollars that could be used to educate those children who are alive and in schools that don’t have enough desks, or high school students who can’t scrape together enough money to afford college.
- Mental health screenings:This one amazes me, because I can easily envision dozens of scenarios where the mental health of a woman would be threatened by being forced into being an incubator for an unwanted pregnancy. Moreover, if a woman does have a mental illness, ranging from ADD to bipolar depression to schizophrenia and everything in between, the medications that are used to mitigate the effects of those illnesses, to allow their sufferers to lead normal, productive lives, are damaging to fetuses. The medications are linked to birth defects. So, if a woman is pregnant and wants to have an abortion, and is found to have a mental illness, then what?
Is she refused an abortion, and forced to forgo medication until she gives birth (is she put in some kind of cattle pen also)?
Is she forcefully medicated, refused an abortion, and stuck with a baby with birth defects ranging from mental illness to non-functioning organs?
Does anyone else hear echoes of eugenics and Hitler’s experiments?