Despite 60-70% of the population wanting to uphold Roe v Wade, a national effort is afoot that is developing a momentum of its own and it is beyond frightening. The post examines how quickly a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body is disappearing in one state after another. We also raise the question: What to do in NM where 8 Dem. Senators failed to protect NM women?
CD-2 Tour and Our Meeting with Senator John Arthur Smith. We are on the road in CD-2, meeting with activists and legislators from southern NM. We will report on the trip and what we’ve found when we get back. We are meeting with Sen. John Arthur Smith in just a few hours and we plan to discuss what, if any, revenue enhancing reforms to our tax system he might entertain (i.e. rescinding an endless number of corporate and 1% tax cuts introduced over the last decade) . As you know, Smith rules the finance world in the Roundhouse, having virtually a veto power over any and all spending and commensurate tax policy to support that spending. We also want to explore whether he might see the wisdom in advancing a study to assess the viability of creating a state-owned public bank. Anyone who has researched the potential benefits of a public bank realizes that the ONLY reason it is not law is the banking industry’s misinformation, lobbying and manipulation. We will be interested to try to understand how someone who is adamant about ensuring NM’s fiscal security, can also turn his back on strategies that would increase state revenues that would help achieve that security. Stay tuned.
Deming & Asylum Seekers. After meeting with Senator Smith, we are also going to see what is going on to support asylum seekers in and around Deming, a community suddenly receiving an influx of asylum seekers. I want you to think about this for a moment. In El Paso, Las Cruces, Albuquerque and now Deming, ICE is releasing asylum seekers onto the streets with no money, no food, and with only the clothes on their back. These asylum seekers have relationships established with sponsors in other parts of the country. But our government is not doing anything to connect them with those sponsors, relying on the benevolence of communities that are ill prepared to provide the kinds of supports and resources to welcome these courageous refugees and facilitate their transport to their new communities. This is US policy and we should be ashamed. How is it we have evolved to this being acceptable behavior?
An Onslaught Against Women’s Rights and It Goes Far Beyond That
Alabama has gotten the headlines, but there are moves afoot in Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and other states to build upon Alabama’s “success” and force the Supreme Court to rule on Roe v Wade. And we all know how the composition of the Supreme Court has changed From Slate:
Just a few days ago, Georgia passed a law criminalizing abortions after six weeks, set to take effect in 2020, and Gov. Brian Kemp signed it. It’s a total abortion ban for reasons you can read here. It’s the most extreme law ever passed, and it’s supposed to be: GOP members across several states have said they’re “excited” to pass illegal laws that defy a settled Supreme Court ruling so that the current court can overturn it. The Georgia bill redefines fetuses as legal persons with rights while, again, stripping the rights and bodily autonomy of citizens who actually exist. Though some activists on both sides want to believe this unlikely, the bill clearly allows for those who actively refuse to give birth to face lifelong imprisonment or the death penalty. Even those who leave the state to abort would be subject to punishment.”
Then there’s the Ohio bill, similar in structure and passed in April, which will condemn an 11-year-old child who was raped to forced birth—which must be understood as rape in reverse. Kentucky and Mississippi passed similar bills this year (Kentucky’s was struck down, as was Iowa’s, passed last year). These bills aren’t just astonishing and punitive and misnamed (the “heartbeat” is not a heart but a collection of cells in the fetal pole that may one day become one). They’re ignorant even of the actual reproductive biology they purport to regulate. Several would criminalize miscarriages, and one invents a medical procedure whereby ectopic pregnancies—which tend to be fatal—could not be aborted but would be “reimplanted” in the uterus. That is not a medical procedure you can get; it’s a suggestion that doctors experiment o”n women whose lives are in danger. Never mind. That is not, at least for the moment, the point. The rights of women and the marginalized seldom are.
We’ve written posts before about how Congress and state legislatures defy popular opinion, refusing to pass gun violence prevention, universal healthcare, college tuition relief, living wage bills and other legislation that enjoys 60+% support among voters. Protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and protecting Roe v. Wade are approved by voters by large majorities even in the states now on the forefront of the abortion criminalization effort.
Take Georgia: 70 percent of Georgian voters and 68 percent of American voters don’t believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned.* It doesn’t matter. That isn’t stopping Georgia’s government. We’re long past democracy working, even if many have yet to realize it, because so much of its dismantling has been invisible to the public thanks to dark money, gerrymandering, and voter suppression, all of which we’ve been encouraged to consider merely improper.”
The attacks against women and their right to decide about their own healthcare is repulsive and the glee with which lawmakers in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio and Missouri are stripping away the rights of women is revealing of the depths of misogyny that infect this society, particularly the entrenched power brokers who pull the strings. It was only a few months ago that Justice Kavanaugh was approved for the Supreme Court despite very credible and corroborated evidence of his own sexual abuse of and disrespect for women. Now he may well have the deciding vote in determining the fate of Roe v. Wade.
In NM, we need to recall that eight Democratic Senators prevented HB 51 Abortion Decriminalization from passing and protecting NM women, no matter what the Supreme Court decides. All of us need to consider this as we prepare for the June 2020 primaries. Many of those eight have used their power to block other important bills advancing social justice, but others have mostly voted to support those bills. We will have to decide individually and collectively whether a vote against women’s rights to choose is a line in the sand, a litmus test that is inviolable. There has been much national disparagement of the concept of a “litmus test.” But is that merely the establishment’s way of paternally telling us that standing up for your rights is naïve and childish and that we need to be practical? That is a discussion we hope to host in this post over the coming weeks.
For decades, extremists have been seizing control through the kind of procedural malfeasance that gets continually mislabeled as assholery or poor etiquette. Over and over, Americans have made the mistake of responding to Republican misbehavior by treating each case as an isolated insult to be transcended. The mature thing, we’ve been told, is to “rise above.”
Make no mistake, the current attacks on women are but one of many offenses to moral justice afoot in the US today and for decades. I have mentioned over the past week that I am working on a post that outlines the decline of whatever form of Democracy has been in place in the US over the past 40 years. It is taking some time to synthesize but a pattern is unfolding and a steady erosion of our rights and our values is clearly evident. Retake has long maintained that in the US, we have never really practiced democracy. From our founding, the US has been about protecting the interests of the landed and privileged at the expense of everyone else, particularly the enslaved, the colonized and women. Today, we are seeing a resurgence of our colonizing, misogynist, racist and capitalist roots in our immigration policies, our foreign policy, our climate policy and in our attacks on women’s rights. Perhaps it is time to connect these dots and forge a litmus test that defines what we want and not what we oppose. Our capacities to counter the corporate dominated political system is constrained more and more every day. Time to take a stand before we have no legs left to stand on. Stay tuned.
Click here to read the full article from Slate.
Paul & Roxanne