Hello and welcome back to Lady Things, where I, as a lady, talk to you about the things that are on my mind. You may have heard that the Oregon Legislature ended their session recently, which means that HB 3391 heads to the desk of Governor Kate Brown, and once signed means that private health insurers are now responsible for covering abortions. Hooray!
Donald Trump and the GOP would probably replace our healthcare system with prescription bottles full of candy corn if they were given the chance, so this is great news. Not everyone was excited though, with the pro-lifers getting worked up in a froth over it while others were mad because the benefits extend to undocumented immigrants. The Oregon Senate Republicans released a statement calling the passing of HB 3391 a "political gift card to Planned Parenthood", as well as opening the door for sex-selective abortion, which is what we're going to talk a little bit about this week.
First of all, don't be fooled by those complaining about how they have to pay for other people's abortions. No other procedure is politicized like abortions and plenty of us have to pay for medical procedures we won't ever in our lives need. You might also notice that not nearly as many people are freaking out about vasectomies, which by the way, are also covered now under HB 3391.
Secondly, if you watch the GOP testimony against HB 3391, which I'm sure you all did, you'll hear Rep. Mike Nearman commence his sullen, Eeyore-like statement by saying HB 3391 enables sex-selective abortion.
At the end of the video Rep. Nearman asks "What if the state paid for everyone's internet connection, and provided free printing services?" which sounds like a fucking fantastic idea.
Now I thought for less than a second about the phrase "sex-selective abortion" before deciding that it sounded weird and maybe kind of racist. It took not much longer to Google and find out that yes, the term "sex-selective abortion" is often a racist dog whistle based on stereotypes that Asians and Asian Americans prefer boy children over girl children. Seven states have enacted laws banning the procedure in spite of how uncommon it actually is. This means that the doctor needs to somehow discern a person's intentions behind getting an abortion, which can then lead to them denying the procedure based on racist stereotypes.
In addition to making abortion more accessible for undocumented immigrants and those with insurance, HB 3391 also provides some protection against this particular attempt to chip away at reproductive freedom. In fact, there was a sex-selective abortion ban that was proposed this year here in Oregon, but thankfully HB 2588 didn't make it far.
It's important to point out that nowhere in the text of HB 3391 does it say anything about the type of abortion covered, and in fact there's more detail about the religious exemption than the kinds of abortions that are covered, so when you hear the phrase "sex-selective abortion", just know it's a conflation of what the bill actually says. This sort of dangerous rhetoric can lead to violence against people of color, and others seeking medical care, so it's necessary to deconstruct the history and meaning behind dog whistle terms like these and what they actually represent.
Maybe someday we'll live in a world where abortions are considered a standard medical procedure and access to health care isn't influenced by racist stereotypes, but until then we have to bring light to this racist bullshit when we see it.
That's it for this week's Lady Things. See you next time.