by John Grooms
As we’ve noted before, GOP members in Congress talk a lot about jobs, jobs, jobs, but spend most of their time trying to pass socially conservative laws — primarily anti-abortion measures — to please their religious-right base — and in the case of some congressional “true believers,” to please themselves. Think of the Let Women Die Act, which would let hospitals deny women an abortion, even if the woman’s life depended on it.
Sen. Jim DeMint (Tea Party, South Carolina) has now jumped into the fray with proposed abortion-related legislation that is so outrageous, it’s positively surreal. DeMint introduced an amendment to an unrelated bill. That amendment would ban women and their doctors from discussing abortion over the Internet and through videoconferencing.
No, I’m not joking, and neither is DeMint, whose ban would be in effect even if a woman’s health is at risk. In other words, if DeMint has his way, women will need a separate, segregated Internet if they want to talk to their health care providers over the Internet — or as Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, put it, DeMint is basically requiring “an abortion-only version of Skype.” She also points out that DeMint’s latest demented idea would be “bad for women in rural or remote areas who would not be able to discuss the full set of options with their doctor.”
Once again, let me point out that abortion is a legal medical option in the United States, although religious conservatives are doing their best to whittle down women’s right to make that decision on their own. As ThinkProgress’ Marie Diamond put it, “These so-called ‘small government’ conservatives have no problem inserting government into private conversations between women and their doctors.” She’s right, but the proposal from DeMint, who has long approximated the mindset of a priggish smalltown schoolmarm, seems even worse. More than just a way to control women’s choices, it’s like a combination of spite, cruelty, and old-fashioned, pigheaded contempt.