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They will regulate it, but not say it

Here is a serious contender for Most Disingenuous Thing Said In Tallahassee In Recent Memory:

A law that would force a woman to get an unnecessary and costly ultrasound before she can get a safe and legal abortion in Florida is really about a woman's right "to possess all of the relevant information made available to her so she can make a fully informed decision," Lake City Republican Rep. Elizabeth Porter said. "Knowledge is never a bad thing."

So it's all about providing knowledge. Not about shaming someone. And certainly not about lawmakers who think they know what's best for women in our state.

It's hard to imagine the effort it took to say this with a straight face, to pretend this latest attack is about helping women and not about putting up roadblocks emotional, financial and any other kind opponents can come up with to interfere with an intensely personal decision.

Singing backup to this twisted logic was, no surprise, our own homegrown Sen. Ronda Storms. On the ultrasound bill, Storms has been quoted as saying whether a patient is seeking a hysterectomy or some other procedure, a doctor cannot "withhold information from a woman who is coming to get medical services."

Huh. And here I thought this was just the latest mean-spirited attempt to chip away at abortion rights, and a dangerous one given Tallahassee's current climate.

Republicans are apparently not always for more vs. less information when it comes to women's bodies, however. Did you hear the one about the Democrat chastised for saying "uterus"?

In a discussion that had to do with Republicans being for or against regulation depending on who's being regulated, Rep. Scott Randolph of Orlando quipped that maybe his wife should "incorporate her uterus" to stop the push for abortion restrictions.

Apparently worried that young pages present might faint dead away at the word — and by the way, schools still teach health and biology, right? — Randolph was told not to discuss body parts on the House floor.

So you can regulate a woman's decision having to do with that particular body part, you just can't say it.

Talk of taking an arm and a leg from teachers, courts or welfare recipients, however, is still allowed.

Moment of absurdity aside, the current attack on abortion rights is not limited to the ultrasound bill. Plenty of others have been filed. Clearly, it's on.

And then you hear sounds of downright reasonableness out there, like faraway birds in a forest.

Last year, then-Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed the ultrasound bill, saying personal views shouldn't make for laws that "unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary."

And this week, even a couple of their own dissented, among them St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, who said he believes the philosophy that "government needs to stay out of decisions like this."

So there's your truth. The ultrasound bill is not about information or knowledge. It's about attempts to stop safe and legal abortions, and about lawmakers who have too much else to worry about in this state to be where they have no business at all.

They will regulate it, but not say it 04/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 11:21am]

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