On Monday the AZ House gave preliminary approval on HB 2443 to head to the AZ Senate for a final vote. The bill, written and proposed by Rep. Steve Montenegro (R-Litchfield park), would require doctors to sign affidavits stating that an abortion they perform is not being based on the race or sex of the fetus.
Montenegro is passionate about this bill, stating that he wants to “take a stand against bigotry and prejudice.” And it makes sense to recognize and create legislation that isolates and removes prejudice from determining whether or not a woman will have an abortion, because getting an abortion just because your fetus is developing into a certain gender or ethnicity is flat-out wrong.
In order to justify his argument, Montenegro boldly stated that minorities were being aborted at a higher rate than whites in Arizona, which is specific evidence of practicing eugenics and should be stopped.
“Do you believe that a woman is equal to a man? That a black person is as valuable as a white person?,” he said during Monday’s debate. “Some people don’t believe that and those people don’t deserve your protection and my protection.”
After a fiery proposal and an hour-long debate, I was sure that this representative from Arizona had the right idea.
Then I Started Researching the Facts
It wasn’t until I really looked at Montenegro’s background that it hit me: this guy is full of crap. Even without researching abortion statistics to verify if his eugenics theory was true, I could tell from looking at a few key details of his past that he was going to be another crazy Republican trying to smear his religious beliefs into the vagina’s of American women.
We can start with where he got his associates degree: the Logos Christian University. Taking a look at their site, maybe we can understand why Montenegro is a Christian:
[pullquote]We affirm the Divine inspiration, truthfulness, and authority of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures, in their entirety, as the only written Word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of life, faith, and practice.
We also affirm the power of God’s Word to accomplish His purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all mankind, for God‘s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it, the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illuminates the minds of God’s people in every culture to preserve its truth freshly through their own eyes. Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, which is to say, He is Himself truly God. He took upon Himself our nature, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world. He arose from the dead in the body in which He was crucified. He ascended into heaven in that glorified body, where He is now, our interceding High Priest.
I’m sorry, what? Not to go off topic, but don’t you think the philosophy of a college should maybe incorporate some of their teaching goals and practices? Because what I interpret their “Philosophy” to be is that the Bible has no errors, and is the only thing that is truthful and the only thing we should follow ever period amen.
Without discrediting Montenegro’s particular religious beliefs, I would like to also point out that institutions like this that force people in an academic environment to believe that there is only one true reason for everything almost makes that institution worthless because colleges are supposed to teach science and history – you know, the provable and sometimes tangible aspects of life – and not that what was written in a magical book a long time ago totally applies to whether a woman should have a vagina cop inspect her if she has an abortion (but that’s another story).
Back to what’s important:
Montenegro has decided to use his Christian instincts that he was taught in school (or maybe by his family, who knows) in order to effectuate his ideological agenda on Arizona, and I’m going to prove it right now.
First, let’s take a look at his argument – we need this bill because minorities are being aborted in Arizona because of active abortion prejudice. He claims that blacks and women are being aborted in Arizona more than males and whites. So, let’s take a look at the facts.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there is a higher percentage of black women seeking abortions in Arizona than white women, making Montenegro’s statement true.
Also, at the heart of it, prejudice is wrong. However, on the grounds he’s using, I can propose a bill stating that the pharmacy employees who don’t have to help someone based on their own religious beliefs have to sign an affidavit stating that they are doing it for religious reasons, and not because the person is a certain color or sex. Sounds pretty dumb, right? Well so does this.
Regardless of how innocent this bill looks, this Republican has made his intentions clear: play the race card in order to gain traction with the Arizona public on the issue of abortion. You see, if Montenegro can take a hard stance against abortion and cite minority abortions as his reasoning, he can fully flaunt his anti-choice propaganda further and further up the legislative chains.
Planned Parenthood, who is facing the chopping block for federal funding because of the hard, anti-choice mentality that his been blown into Congress with the election of Tea Party figureheads, had something to say about all of this:
[pullquote]Michelle Steinberg, an Arizona policy manager for Planned Parenthood, said women should never have to make a case to get an abortion and called the bills demeaning and bizarre.
“This could be a slippery slope in terms of requiring women to disclose why they’re choosing abortion,” she said. “Women should never have to present a case to get an abortion.”
“This idea that minority women are having abortions at higher rates than white women speaks more to rates of poverty, access to contraception and a lack of sex education,” she said. “This is not racial genocide for God’s sake; this is a real problem that we’re not addressing.”
(Source: AZ Capitol Times)
We’re talking about the same state that back in January 2011 made it a law that a woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.
Democrat Matt Heinz from Tuscon weighed in:
[pullquote]Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, a hospital doctor, said Arizona data that Montenegro has touted is incomplete and doesn’t show that these abortions are occurring.
“Greater than 90 percent of abortions in the state of Arizona actually occur prior to 12 weeks, which means that the gender is impossible to determine,” he said. “It’s not even clear to me how providers can be accused of doing this when there’s no example of this even happening in the state.”
Arizona Department of Health Services statistics from 2009 show that 92 percent of abortions are performed before 13 weeks gestation, when a woman typically doesn’t yet know the sex of the fetus. There is no data that tracks the sex of the aborted fetus.
(Source: Tuscon Sentinel)
Between Montenegro’s shady abortion rules and Arizona’s inherently Christian concepts, it’s no surprise that legislation like this makes it past a majority in the House. Our only hope is to have faith (get it?) in the Senate and their ability to recognize a stupid law when they see one. Montenegro is no saint for minorities – he’s trying to use the race card to gain anti-choice support because he knows that in the past when Democrats stand up for minority rights they have those minorities behind them. Make no mistake, folks: this is just another anti-choice wolf draped in the wool of social justice.