This week, without any public testimony, Republicans on the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee voted along party lines to prohibit Ohio physician assistants from fitting, inserting or removing a device “designed in such a manner that it functions either solely or in combination with other functions by preventing or hindering an embryo from implanting within the uterus or from growing if implantation occurs.” According to Chairman Lynn Wachtmann, fertilization is the point at which life begins, and preventing pregnancy through the use of an IUD is, effectively, terminating a life.

Buckle up kids, Ohio is clearly on the front lines of the emerging war on women. Unfortunately, this move from abortion restrictions to birth control restrictions is being pushed on the basis of on a number of misguided beliefs about biology and medicine. One is at the very heart of the abortion debate.

Many in the pro-life community, including Wachtmann, believe life begins at conception, the moment when sperm reaches an egg and the two haploid cells, each with a single set of genetic material, combine. Most medical practitioners, on the other hand, focus on events occurring several days later, defining the start of a pregnancy at the time the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining, after first having undergone several rounds of cell division and a migration down the fallopian tube.

Wachtmann is also mistakenly or intentionally misrepresenting how an intrauterine device, or IUD, works. An IUD is a small T-shaped device, containing copper or hormones, inserted by a medical practitioner into the uterus. Its mode of action is to kill or immobilize sperm such that fertilization does not occur. Wachtmann, however, is among a camp of pro-lifers who believe, contrary to the current view of medical scientists, that IUDs act to prevent implantation. While it is true that IUDs can cause the thinning of the uterine wall, because of their effectiveness in preventing fertilization, there is typically no fertilized egg present whose implantation could be stopped.

Despite their incredible effectiveness, only 2 percent of women use IUDs as birth control. Further, the bill, if it becomes law, only affects the actions of physician assistants, not doctors or nurse practitioners, narrowing its impact. But the beliefs underlying this move are important to identify because they could be used to justify a much greater encroachment into reproductive freedom in Ohio.

First, if we start to view life as beginning at the point of fertilization, that’s going to come as big news to infertile couples who have undergone unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) – a process that injects fertilized eggs into a woman’s uterus. Only between 25% and 50% of IVF procedures result in an actual pregnancy. If, according to Wachtmann, allowing a fertilized egg to die rather than implant in a woman’s uterus is an act equivalent to abortion, is the next step to outlaw IVF procedures in Ohio?

And second, pro-lifers opposed to IUDs are targeting them because of their secondary effect of thinning the uterine wall, preventing implantation in the rare event that its primary action of preventing fertilization has failed. But the much more commonly-used birth control pill itself has a multitude of effects: stopping fertilization is one, but it can also cause a thinning of the uterine wall. Will Wachtmann stop at limits to only “devices” that can prevent implantation? What’s to stop him from targeting hormonal birth control too, if he learns it has a side effect of preventing implantation in the rare instances when its primary function of preventing ovulation fails?

It’s a slippery slope, kids, especially when the people writing our laws do not trouble themselves with keeping up on current medical science, so let’s do our part and not let them slide. Birth control gives families economic stability by allowing them to decide when to have children and how many. Call your state representative, speak with their staffer (most likely a female), ask how their boss intends to vote on the IUD amendment if HB 284 comes to the floor, and let them know you will remember at the polls next November.

Evangelize!
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  • Natasha

    I live in Delaware County and the only thing I can call my state representative, Andrew O. Brenner  is tax deadbeat, or moron.  Our state senator, Kris Jordan  is called drunken, gun-toting wife beater, moron too.  They are both women haters who suspiciously lack their own masculinity.

    I like the Virginia approach: …State Sen. Janet D. Howell, a Democrat from Fairfax, decided to push
    back on the measure, which she said is “adding to the cost and …
    opening [women] up for emotional blackmail.”

    Attempts to derail pieces of legislation by adding unpalatable amendments—say, attaching to a budget autonomy bill a rider that would turn the District into a shooting gallery—are often called “poison pills.”

    Well, in the case of the ultrasound bill, Howell’s poison pill is the little blue pill.

    In deliberations over the measure yesterday,
    the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, Howell offered an amendment that
    would require any man seeking a prescription for erectile dysfunction
    medication first submit to a rectal examination.

    “I think we should just have a little gender equity here,” Howell said when presenting her amendment.

    Conservatives want women considering abortion to undergo an
    additional procedure, potentially adding to the financial and emotional
    cost? Howell said men who need a little extra lift from drugs like
    Viagra or Cialis should undergo more scrutiny, too. Seems fair.

    But Howell’s legislative cheek wasn’t enough to derail the ultrasound
    measure; her amendment was defeated 22-18, and the full bill is
    expected to pass the state senate later today before going to the
    Virginia House of Representatives, which is also dominated by
    Republicans. …” (http://dcist.com/2012/01/ultrasounds_before_abortions_only_i.php)

    If pulling your pud and shooting a load off were criminalized the privatized prisons in Ohio would be full of fat, bald white Republican politicians, and their boyfriends

  • Anonymous

    I like it. Or, if we’re going to say that fertilized eggs are sacred, because they could potentially become pregnancies, why not declare sperm, which are, in turn a prerequisite to a fertilized egg, potential potential pregnancies, and protect them as well? Any shedding of sperm for other than reproductive purposes could be prosecuted.

  • Anonymous

    Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre in the Ohio legislature, the repubs come up with this kind of nonsense. Pay the bastards back in November and retire them all back to the caves they came from.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vickie-McDaniel-Gentry/100000559721803 Vickie McDaniel Gentry

    Natasha, I am right here in this pathetic excuse for a county with you!  It is sickening and depressing, but we can only do the best we can to educate as many people as we can, and make damn sure to get to the polls in November! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vickie-McDaniel-Gentry/100000559721803 Vickie McDaniel Gentry

    They have also tried that, I can’t locate the story, but I did read about wanting to make it an act of preemptive murder to release sperm anyplace other than a woman’s vagina.

  • Anonymous

    Removing a penis from my vagina will hinder an embryo from implanting in my uterus. Am I to understand the Ohio legislature now makes it illegal for me to not have a penis in my vagina at all times? That’s gonna take some explaining at the grocery store…

  • becca

    I thought people elected these yahoos to bring jobs and fix the economy??  How does this do that?  And when did the Republican agenda begin to focus so highly on controlling social issues in our society?

  • Debbie Rudy-Lack

    When and where is the protest?…..I’m there with my sign in hand!

  • Anonymous

    If they take away all our birth control, us women will be too busy with all the kids to work anymore, thus freeing up our spots in the workplace for men, and driving unemployment to zero. Problem solved!

  • Dmoore2222

    I love this. Great post. I definitely think it’s potty training related with these moronic closet perverts.

  • Anonymous

    Needs 2 b a felony also.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    Here is my two cents and I think some others may agree. NO MAN has ever been successful in telling me what to do that I did not want to do. NO MAN will tell me to have sex or not have sex short of raping me and then that man needs to be aware of my wrath. Neither will any man tell me that I can not use an IUD if I want or to take the pill or have an abortion. IF I ever need one or want one, one will be available. Maybe not legally but it will be available. So get real men and get over yourself. Women have rights and you will never really be successful in ruling us, no matter how “old school” you are.

  • averii

    These anti-abortion proxy laws always, always get overturned by voters. Do they ever get tired?

  • Lauren Quaid

    or gay????

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Robinson/100000570451626 Jim Robinson

    Why don’t you Ohioans GET RID OF THESE PISS POOR EXCUSES OF AFTERBIRTH BY FORCE IF NECESSARY! VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE OR SHOOT THEM YOUR CHOICE!

  • http://www.peterblaise.com/ peterblaise

    All this “… the lawmakers understand what’s really happening, sperm versus egg versus zygote life-cycle wise …” doesn’t matter:

    – it’s happening inside someone else’s body, a territory over which no one else has superior rights.

    So back off from trying to use “the law” to control something over which you can only hope to influence.

    It’s as if everyone agrees that “a man’s home is is his castle” but a women’s body is public property over which she has no rights?!?

    No more second class citizens, ever, please.

    Click!
    Love and hugs,
    Peter Blaise

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000875113924 George Ferret

    What’s wrong with Republicans?! Stay out of my uterus and leave my rights alone!!

  • http://twitter.com/JenGreyson Jen Greyson | Author

    I am speechless….just speechless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1630511468 Betty Eyer

    Both racism and the war on women are quite real.  It is not an offense to notice a human rights violation; it is an offense to give one.  There are many legislators in the last few months who have stated quite clearly that they are trying to make the pill and at least one presidential candidate.  The VA state personhood law was deliberately vaguely worded, allowing “legal” birth control without specifying what was legal in the face of a law that makes a fertillized egg no one can actually detect into a citizen.  Ron Paul has come out against the Griswold v Connecticut ruling, as has Santorum.  And while they are talking about “states rights”,  what they really want is to remove the rights of adults to plan their own families.   I don’t think that slope is just slippery, I think it’s deliberately greased and waiting and if women do not wake up we will be suddenly staring down 1964.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1630511468 Betty Eyer

    I do believe this is the point.  The real objective is to turn women’s rights back to the middle of the century when there were different want ads by gender.  After all, submission of the woman is biblical and they think we should rule our country with the bible!

  • NMAXXS

     Spoken like a true white narcissistic and clueless male. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    So the big plan..women must be barefoot n pregnant and stay home n HOME SCHOOL ur children? Accordn to “Insane-torum…he spoke last Sat. I asked him and he answered..that federal money and that its not govt responsibility to educate ur children..it’s the parents responsibility…I can SEE where this is headn…

    Regarding attack on women, next theyll make condums illegal…clearly..n no prenatal care either? So, no birth control, no abortions, no over night pill, (I dont believe in abortion as well, however, if it is in case of rape, etc…I would want the choice…) I dont think the govt should be able to tell you what u can do w/ur body…So, if no prenatal care, n no national health care, n the govts not going to aid in any healthcare..that means everyone must buy their own, lol…right…and t5hat an insurance company doesnt have to take pre existn illnesses…which means u go broke if u have a sick child…, and did I hear this right? If u go to hospital, and they discover u have cancer..they can deny ur care? Insantorum…he sure likes telln u, as well as the rest of the repub party…I asked Insantorum 2 questions, 1 here n 1 in Cleveland…oh, I was removed from askn a question here ..in Cbus…so I drove to Cleveland…lol..yes removed after askn 2nd question…In sane torum…needless to say, several listeners left after I asked both questions…they were appropriate..n yes…he is going to reverse Roe vs Wade n will try women for murder if they abort..bc of a rape, etc..they must raise that child..miscarriages? He would launch an oinvestigation n if woman was found “guilty” by a jury of her peers…then yes murder and be executed…Can u imagine? The pain of losing a child, then going in front of a jury? “CONTROLLING THE PEOPLE!” They are taking taking taking..n serving Corps…enough is enough….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=737252957 Zhenya Okun

    i just laughed for two minutes straight. my face hurts. thank you so much for that

  • Guest

    ING! I agree with an article here! I did not think that would ever happen. This is looney tunes.

  • Dee

    Spoken like a true middle-aged or older white male who is likely single or has a totally brain-washed woman for a mate. I say we should make it a law that if a man’s sperm is discharged ANYWHERE but into a woman’s vagina for the sole purpose of procreation then it is a sin and you fat white christian republicans should work hard to enact an enforceable law to punish the sperm spewing male with MURDER of potential babies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.lowe.921 Susan Lowe

    You give these jackasses far too much credit when you refer to them as “pro-life”. They are “pro-birth” and “pro-enslavement of women”. They couldn’t care less about life. Their only interest is in maintaining the status quo of old white men in the social order. Women who can control their sexuality through birth control and abortion are their worst nightmare. Those women can get an education and jobs which will allow them to insist that their husbands, should they choose to marry, treat them with dignity and respect. Desperate women who have children and no education or independent income have a very hard time leaving abusive, controlling husbands because they have to worry about food and shelter for their children.

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