It used to be that we thought of a misogynist as that guy at the office who is always putting women down to feel better about himself. (After all, it is 2011.)
Apparently, no one told Republicans. They aren’t just trying to keep us down at work. They’re after our entire lives. Montana Congressman Dennis Rehberg is leading the charge–proposing legislation designed to make your life worse no matter what decade you thought we were living in.
Congressman Rehberg is sponsoring a bill that would strip women of the ability to take personal responsibility for their own actions. Instead, Rehberg wants to give a small group of religious extremists the ability to force their medieval beliefs into the laws of 21st century America.
Sure, this has been around for a long time. Republicans have orchestrated the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, opposed affirmative action, and blocked federal money for child care and numerous policies aimed at making life better for women and their families. But this is taking it to a whole new level. Rehberg’s bill would let women die on the floor of a hospital rather than get them the abortion care they need to save their life–even if the baby is a stillborn.
H.R. 358 makes a hospital’s obligations under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) to provide stabilizing treatment to individuals in medical emergencies secondary to the right of a hospital to refuse to provide abortion care. In practice, this means that any hospital can refuse to perform an emergency abortion—even if a woman would die— without running afoul of the federal law designed to prevent individuals from being denied emergency medical treatment.
Consider the awful scenario this woman faced. Pregnant with twins, she learned they had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a condition where one twin transfers blood to the other. Doctors gave her 36 hours to decide if she wanted to save one or lose both. Rehberg’s bill would make that choice for her: she wouldn’t be able to start a family.
“This bill goes to the farthest extreme in trying to take women down, not just a peg, but to take in shackles to some cave somewhere,” [Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)] said. “Basically what this bill would do is say that any hospital could decline to provide services to one class of people in this country, and that one class of people are pregnant women.”
Rehberg can’t claim this is about reducing abortions. His bill actually reduces access to birth control–the very thing that could reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion in the first place. Nor can he claim that this is what Montanan’s want. Polling in the state has always shown strong support for letting women, not Congressmen, decide when and whether to have children. Rehberg has seen the polling, so we can only conclude that this is what he really believes women deserve.