Over the last 14 months, we’ve grown accustomed to headlines about the atrocious shit that Gov. Scott Walker has done in our state. What’s worse, we’ve grown accustomed to being deceived by our lawmakers, after over a year of hearing about Walker signing bills into law “privately,” “in secret,” “overnight,” etc.
This weekend was no different. Late Thursday evening, after thousands of people made their way home to spend Easter and Passover with their families, Walker signed a slew of controversial, anti-women’s rights bills into law in the blink of an eye.
What exactly did Walker do Thursday night? Are you ready for this?
Walker repealed the Healthy Youth Act.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see this coming. In case you didn’t know, the 2010 Healthy Youth Act required that Wisconsin schools teach comprehensive, scientific, medically accurate sexual education at an age-appropriate level. So in place of an act that has led to a decrease in the number of teenage pregnancies as well as a decrease in the number of new sexually transmitted infections among teenagers, Walker is now requiring that all Wisconsin schools teach abstinence as “the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.”
What does this mean for Wisconsin’s youth? According to Planned Parenthood, it means that teens will no longer receive information about contraception to help prevent pregnancy and infection. It means that teens will be forced to “return to a failed abstinence-only until marriage” form of sex ed. It means that volunteer doctors and nurses will literally be banned from teaching teenagers sex ed in Wisconsin schools. And worst of all, it means that teens will no longer learn the skills they need to make informed decisions about sexual behavior.
What’s worse? The bill to repeal the Healthy Youth Act was authored by state Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin – a woman. Chew on that.
Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay law.
Yep, you read that right. Scott Walker repealed the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which deterred employers from discriminating against women. But this isn’t just about the money: Repealing the law means there will be no remedy for women to press charges against men who sexually harass them in the workplace. And this isn’t just about women, either: Repealing the law also means that minorities who are harassed at work because of their race will have less power to take their cases to court.
I never thought I’d say this, but this is way worse than “Mad Men.” What the fuck is this, 1850?
Walker requires that all women seeking an abortion speak with a doctor to ensure that no one is forcing her to undergo the procedure.
While this law isn’t as extreme as the proposed law in Pennsylvania requiring that women undergo penetrative vaginal ultrasounds, it’s not far off. Any woman seeking an abortion will now be required to undergo a physical examination with a doctor, alone (the woman’s partner will not be allowed in the room), so that the doctor can verify that the woman is not being coerced into having an abortion.
Women will also be required to see a picture of their child before going through with an abortion. Are you going to show me a picture of a tumor before you remove it from my breast?
Let’s read between the lines here. By signing this bill into law, Walker’s saying that women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions about their bodies. Since he clearly believes that women can’t think for themselves, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bill proposing banning women from higher education.
Walker blocked abortion coverage through health care exchanges.
Although Walker made an exception for victims of rape, incest or medical necessity, women in Wisconsin will no longer be able to use insurance coverage for legal abortion procedures.
I said it in my last article about the War on Women, and I’ll say it again: What the fucking fuck?
Tanya Atkinson, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, had this to say about the new laws: “The reason that Gov. Walker signed these anti-women bills in the dark of the night, without public notice, before a holiday weekend, is that he is banking on the fact that women are NOT watching and women will not vote on June 5. In fact, he is betting his job on it.”
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walker found a way to repeal the 19th Amendment so that women in Wisconsin are unable to vote in the recall election on June 5th.
The bottom line: It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-life or pro-choice, for or against abstinence-only sex ed, against this bill or that bill, blah blah blah. What matters is that women – more than half of the population – are being forced to comply with someone else’s personal beliefs. Women are being forced to submit to procedures that will shame and embarrass them and convince them that their lives are worth less than their male counterparts’.
So I am begging you: Vote in the recall election on June 5. Vote in the presidential election in a few months. Share this article with your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends and all the women in your lives. Educate the people you love about these issues, because these laws will affect the people you love.
And keep in mind: what happened here on Thursday represents just one front of the Republican War on Women. How long until Republicans revoke access to birth control? How long until Walker signs a bill requiring women to prove they’re fit to be mothers before having children? When will we collectively stand up and say, enough is enough?