Posted by Ryan Morgan on July 02, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Across the nation, state general assemblies are winding down, working out their budgets and restricting women’s sexual and reproductive health.
In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed $350,000 for HIV prevention (SC consistently ranks among the top ten states in the US for the highest case rates of AIDS) which was subsequently overridden by both the House and Senate. While not exactly a reason to uncork the champagne - Haley’s vetoes mostly affected education
– South Carolinians sit in a unique position. We see the opposition’s tactics in other states and we have the opportunity to prepare against un-informed, highly motivated, fringe groups.
Here’s what’s been going on in Ohio, North Carolina, and Texas:
We can draw three big lessons from this:
1. “The political action that counts has shifted over to the states.”
We cannot simply assume that Republicans and Democrats will work together on reasonable compromises or that the federal government will somehow work in balance with the needs of each state. Especially at the state level, WE HAVE THE POWER. It’s up to us, the people of South Carolina, to HOLD POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE. We can’t assume politicians have our best interests in mind.
2. Politicians don’t necessarily know how women’s bodies work.
Really? You think that rape kits presto change-o “clean a woman out”? You think rape victims can’t get pregnant? This is truly frightening. AND THESE PEOPLE ARE MAKING LAWS that will affect you.
3. Force the opposition to make the argument.
Ask questions. Pay attention to how the legislators answer – in fact, record their answers a la Mark Kovac. Shine a light on misinformation and lies. You have a right to know your legislators' positions and you have a responsibility to share your knowledge, your expertise, and your experience with lawmakers. Don’t be intimidated by them—you elected them!
Decisions are being made about your health in which your consent would be moot. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be FORCED into an ultrasound just to stay on birth control pills. I don’t want my doctor to be restricted by the government in the medically-accurate information s/he can provide me.
We don’t know what January will bring for our state, but we’ve already seen folks like Rep. Andy Patrick redefine “medically-accurate information”
to, in his own words, “protect scholarly abstinence groups” whose work hasn’t been published in an academic journal.
Your voice, knowledge, and experience matter. We’ll continue to keep you updated on reproductive health issues and ways share your voice.
In the meantime, let Rep. Patrick know that we value medically-accurate information that would help our youth make informed, healthy decisions, more than “medically-accurate information” that protects special interest groups.