When Sen. Joan Bray spoke to the Bonhomme Township Democrats, the subject of the coerced abortion bill came up, and Rep. Jill Schupp, sitting at the head table, described a hearing she had attended in the House:
Schupp:We had someone who testified she had an abortion when she was sixteen, who was …. She had a boyfriend, but she had, she became pregnant by someone else. She later in life married the boyfriend. He’s her husband. He sat by her while she testified. She said that her mom had convinced her that she should have an abortion, and she said that if she could, she would have her mom put in jail for forcing her at the age of sixteen to have an abortion from a boy who was not her boyfriend. Anyway, these are the kinds of things that are going on. I mean, for someone to say–and I specifically said to her, that you would have liked to have seen your mother go to jail? And she said, “Absolutely.”
These are the kinds of hearings that we’re having. And had the Senate, had Joan not worked so hard and, to, to, to take some of the edge off of that horrible bill, it would have passed in the House. Instead, the House didn’t even bring it back up.
Bray: Yeah it was made so unacceptable because it wasn’t horrible enough. I will tell you, I’ve had it up to here with these folks [inaudible]. And I am, you know, [applause] I’ve been there seventeen years that we’ve had these issues, seventeen years, it’s always been what … how to put barriers up, how to put barriers, how to put barriers up. Never ONCE has it ever been acknowledged that a man has anything to do with an unwanted pregnancy. It’s: “these women go out and get pregnant and then what are we going to do about it?” And so it’s just a re-e-al irrational … [someone adds: “ridiculous”] [Garbled] There is no acknowledgement that there’s any, any problem outside of a woman’s problem.
Audience member: Joan.
Bray: And it’s not just a woman’s problem. It’s our society’s problem.
Audience member: Joan, has anybody proposed an amendment to the bill that says you have to have informed consent to carry through with the pregnancy? That a doctor has to ….
Bray: We talked, we talked about that. You know, we talked about that. I brought that up. Yeah [nodding vigorously].
Audience member: And how about coercing your teenage daughter against an abortion? And make her donate her body [garbled]
I can imagine an anti-abortionist watching Senator Bray’s facial expression when she mocks the anti-abortionists’ attitude: “these women go out and get pregnant and then what are we going to do about it?” Such a person might think it fair to dismiss her altogether because she stooped to such a mean spirited caricature. But Bray is dead on in her characterization. Granted, few anti-abortionists would allow such facial contortions to show when they speak in the legislature or in most public forums, but make no mistake, Bray caught the souls of those judgmental folk. Consider that bills to prevent unplanned pregnancies languished in the last session of the Republican controlled House. Consider that the representatives tried to pass House Bills 226 and 533, which would have allowed pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception. Consider that in past sessions, Republicans have worked to deny poor women access to free contraception (how dare they enjoy sex without having to pay a penalty!).
Anti-abortionists oppose more than abortion. They want women to bear children–without discovering that sex in and of itself is kinda fun. And Joan Bray is rightly fed up to here with seventeen years of watching their nonsense.
Furthermore, some of them, when they don’t get their way, “water the radius around them with their vitriol” and [poke] dangerous lone wolfs with sticks” so that a young woman winds up wanting her mother put in jail and Dr. Tiller winds up dead.
Let me understate the case: theirs is not a healthy outlook.