Abortion Queen Cathi Herrod Is Back With Another Sick Piece of Legislation Endangering Women and the Doctors Who Serve Them
By Stephen Lemons Wed., Mar. 18 2015 at 11:52 AM
Without abortion and gay sex, Cathi Herrod would cease to exist, melting like the Wicked Witch of the West hit with a torrential downpour.
Why, the more sodomy, scissoring, and pregnancy terminations there are, the better off Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, is.
See, her six-figure salary at the far-right, evangelical Christian "nonprofit" depends on her fanning the flames of hatred against gays and railing against the evils of not carrying a pregnancy to term.
Ironically (or not, depending on how you look at it), you could say Herrod's doing a dang good job of keeping the abortion rate high in Arizona.
According to Planned Parenthood, nearly 30 pieces of CAP-backed legislation restricting abortion have been introduced at the state Legislature since 2009.
In that time, the number of abortions performed in the state has increased from more than 10,000 in 2009 to more than 13,000 in 2013.
Herrod contends this rise is because of a change in reporting requirements that occurred in 2010.
Sure it is, Cathi. (Wink.)
Yet because of these numbers, you can't argue that Herrod's undue influence over a far right-wing Arizona Legislature has made abortion less frequent.
Indeed, Herrod's group is opposed to the one factor shown to reduce the likelihood of abortion: family planning and sex education, which Planned Parenthood supports wholeheartedly.
Similarly, Herrod struck an unintended blow for gay rights in Arizona last year with CAP's Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gays based on a business owner's "sincerely held religious beliefs."
SB 1062 was so morally repugnant to so many Arizonans and Americans that it became a rallying cry for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, leading to the veto of the bill by then-Governor Jan Brewer and a sea change in the way average Arizonans view same-sex marriage.
Herrod's defeat on 1062 foreshadowed a major civil rights victory in October 2014, when a series of court rulings led to the overturning of the CAP-backed gay marriage ban here.
Same-sex couples lined up left and right to get hitched. Herrod fumed, while overall, Arizonans shrugged.
The arc of history, as Martin Luther King Jr. was wont to say, had bent toward justice, leaving Herrod and her supporters in the lurch.
Increasingly, the CAP crowd resembles a sort of American ISIS, sans beheadings, insisting on 14th-century mores in a 21st-century world.
But those who saw the downfall of SB 1062 as indicative of CAP's waning power were sadly mistaken.
CAP boasts enormous sway in Republican primaries, where its extremist agenda is treated as gospel.
So GOP legislators still shamelessly bow and scrape before AZ's Abortion Queen, as she walks the halls of her Legislature.
Herrod also supported Governor
Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich during the 2014 election.
This will be worthy of remembering when it comes time for Ducey to sign, and Brnovich to defend in court, Herrod's comeback legislation this year: Senate Bill 1318.
As this column goes to press, SB 1318 has been approved by the state Senate and is on its way to approval by the state House.
The bill denies women the right to purchase additional insurance through Obamacare that would cover the cost of terminating a pregnancy.
The bill's sponsors insist the main purpose of 1318 is to make sure taxpayers are not picking up the tab for elective abortions, though federal law already prohibits such funding.
Till now, women have been allowed to buy, with their own cash, and through private insurance, a rider covering abortions.
Initially, the bill, as sponsored by state Senator Nancy Barto and co-sponsored by anti-abortion Democrat Catherine Miranda, did not make exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
It took a Republican man, state Senator Jeff Dial, supported by Democratic state Senator Katie Hobbs, to propose an amendment from the Senate floor to make an exception for rape and incest, which subsequently passed.
Of course, these victims will have to prove they were raped to their insurance provider because of the prohibitions of the underlying bill.
To her credit, Hobbs tried to head off another nasty bit of 1318, which would make abortion providers register personal information with the Arizona Department of Health Services, making that information possibly subject to public-records requests.
Hobbs' amendment merely would have required the DHS to redact an abortion provider's name, home address, and phone number.
Seems a rather common-sense rule if you want to keep the anti-abortion wackos from harassing, threatening, and even murdering obstetricians and gynecologists.
According to the website for the pro-choice National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, "eight clinic workers -- including four doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard -- have been murdered in the United States" since 1993.
NARAL also states there have been 17 attempted murders in about the same period of time, and "more than 6,800 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977," including everything from threats and intimidation to bombings and arson.
But Hobbs' amendment failed both in the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee and when she proposed it on the floor of the Senate.
Later, when the bill was heard in a the House Federalism and States' Rights Committee (a wing-nutty name if there ever was one), Democratic state Representative Rebecca Rios observed that the Legislature was considering a bill to redact the addresses of state legislators.
But not abortion doctors?
Testifying in this committee, Herrod claimed that aspect of the bill was merely "an accountability measure."
Sure. "Accountability" of a potentially permanent nature.
As creepy as all this sounds, Herrod's allies in the House tacked on an even creepier amendment, under which women seeking non-surgical abortions must be informed that the process is reversible via an unapproved, untested method promulgated by anti-abortion nutters.
This involves a patient not taking the second pill of a two-pill regimen for drug-induced abortions and then getting pumped full of progesterone.
Anecdotally, the procedure has worked in some women, though experts note that if patients don't take the second pill of the regimen, there's a 50 percent likelihood that the abortion won't occur anyway.
There have been no studies, no clinical trials of "abortion reversal." No major medical organization endorses it, and the Federal Drug Administration has not sanctioned it.
Nevertheless, Herrod and the Republicans in the Legislature insist that women be informed that they can allow themselves to be used as de facto guinea pigs.
Herrod says she and her leashed legislators are pushing this as-amended bill so women have all the information they need to make an intelligent choice.
In reality, Herrod and her menagerie of pet politicians want to roll back the clock to the pre-Roe v. Wade days, when abortion was illegal.
To this point, Republican yahoo Steve Smith, the far-right state senator responsible for Arizona's failed border-fence fund, laid bare the real motivations behind SB 1318 in explaining his vote for the bill during a Senate debate.
"Any step that this state can make or continue to make," he said, "to stop and impede the insatiable appetite to murder kids that are not born yet . . . I will gladly defend each and every time."
Does Herrod agree?
Well, she's got to feel conflicted. After all, for her, abortion helps put food on the table.