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The Week in Reproductive Justice: Ohio State Lawmakers Want Abortion to Be “Aggravated Murder”

Welcome to The Week in Reproductive Justice, a weekly recap of all news related to the hot-button issue of what lawmakers are allowing women to do with their bodies!

All in all, believe it or not, it was a pretty good week for reproductive justice. Yes, Trump and Pence are still in office and, yes, rural states still have severely limited access to abortion and family planning services. But for what it’s worth—with a couple of exceptions, obviously—we made some important progress this week.

Here’s what you may have missed:

Ohio state lawmakers want abortion to be “aggravated murder”

OK, so not everything this week is good news—but it’s all important.

Two Ohio lawmakers began circulating co-sponsor requests for a bill that would recognize abortion as aggravated murder, which is punishable by life imprisonment and even the death penalty in the state. Rewire postulates that GOP Reps. Nino Vitale and Ron Hood are preparing for a potential Trump-dominated Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

According to Rewire, which obtained documents delineating Vitale and Hood’s ideas, the bill “gives legal rights to a fertilized egg and grants whistleblower protections to those who report abortion providers or patients to law enforcement.” As is so often the case, humanizing fertilized eggs and recognizing them as martyrs comes at severe cost to women with unwanted pregnancies—the loss of recognition of their humanity.

Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill would cover abortion services for all women

Beyond identifying as pro-choice, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ views on abortion and women’s rights have been a bit ambiguous, given his choice to focus on and make economic issues the focus of his platform over specific identity-based issues. But as his Medicare for All bill continues to gain traction, garnering co-sponsors from high-profile Democratic senators like Kamala Harris (CA), Cory Booker (NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Al Franken (MN), here’s something you might not have heard—beyond guaranteeing health care as a right for all, it would also guarantee abortion as a right for all.

The bill would cover abortion services for all women, and despite how HuffPost has pointed out its “inevitable failure in a GOP-controlled senate,” its support among the Democratic party’s biggest stars marks a huge victory and offers an optimistic glimpse of the future.

Abortion costs, including all the rising fees associated with having the procedure, mark one of the biggest barriers to access apart from different state-by-state restrictions.

That’s not to say the Democratic party doesn’t have a good amount of issues to grapple with in terms of its stance on abortion. Over the past few months, many members of Democratic leadership have come out supporting anti-choice candidates and suggesting that abortion rights are negotiable. But at the very least they’re recognizing that abortion is important health care.

Planned Parenthood in Kansas City gets its abortion license back

As of Monday, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas City, MO received its license to offer abortion services again. The license was revoked in 2012 when the clinic could not afford to make the changes required by the state’s excessive laws which demanded clinics to function as ambulatory surgical centers. TRAP laws, or the targeted regulation of abortion providers, place medically unnecessary requirements on abortion providers that many can’t afford to implement, with the purpose of shutting clinics down. Over the years, dozens of clinics have shut down or lost their licenses due to these laws, and as a result, women seeking abortions—especially in rural areas—have had to travel great distances to have the procedure.

According to Guttmacher Institute, Missouri has some of the most stringent laws on abortion rights in the country. The restoration of the Kansas City clinic could make a big difference.

Birth control for men might be coming for real this time

We all heard about how, late last year, scientists began experimenting with hormonal birth control for males. Most of the subjects complained about certain ailments—notably all the ailments women who take the pill experience without complaining—and hype around the male birth control pill quickly died out. There’s an obvious moral to this story—that women must always be the ones who suffer and shoulder the burden and discomfort, despite their genitals being synonymous with weakness and cowardice. But OK, I guess that’s neither here nor there at the moment, because it looks like male birth control is making a comeback.

According to an article in Science News, the recent discovery of H2-gamendazole, a compound that allows sperm to fully develop before dying in the testes and being unable to make it to the ovary. Male birth control experiments are now underway, and it could wind up being a bit of an equalizer. But all of this depends on men’s willingness to suffer minor discomfort and—even more far-fetched—share responsibility with women.

(image: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com)

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