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Abortion opponents must think fertile women are stupid.

At least that's the message I'm getting from the latest abortion laws in Oklahoma.

Why do I say that? Well, where do I start? The law says that before women are permitted to have a procedure to which we have a Constitutional right, we MUST allow the doctor to perform a vaginal ultrasound (whether one is medically needed or not), we MUST be forced to view the ultrasound images, and we MUST be forced to talk with the doctor at length about what a fetus is and what will happen to it as a result of the abortion.

Thank GOODNESS we have those all-knowing, wise (and overwhelmingly male) legislators of Oklahoma to ensure before women have an abortion that they realize that what's growing inside of them might turn into an actual baby!

Oh, and Oklahoma women also no longer have the right to sue their doctor if he or she lies to them about the state of their pregnancy. So, for example, if a fetus has a major birth defect and the woman doesn't learn about it until it's too late in the pregnancy to have an abortion if she wants one, she can't sue the doctor for lying or forgetting to tell her.

So, to sum up -- Oklahoma wants to force certain information on women but withhold other details, depending on how it fits their social and political agendas, regardless of how it impacts the lives of real women and their real families.

For the moment, a court has issued a stay preventing the enforcement of the "forced sonogram/what's a fetus talk" part of the law that its proponents claim is merely there to protect innocent lives. 

As we used to say on the farm, "Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?"

Protecting "innocent lives" isn't the real agenda here. If it was, then these same lawmakers would enthusiastically support teaching birth control (other than abstinence) in our schools. Funny thing is, they're usually the same people opposed to that. These are also often the same people who take no legislative or social welfare interest in the children who are born because women weren't permitted to seek abortions. As one abortion opponent told me many years ago when I was a young reporter, "That's not our concern. We don't care what happens once they're born."

Nice.

So if they don't want girls learning about how to prevent pregnancy and they don't want women to end pregnancies for whatever reason (even incest, rape, or the possible death of the mother), what do they really want?

Maybe the USA Today headline should read "States Seek New Ways to Restrict Women" instead of "States Seek New Ways to Restrict Abortions." Unrelenting efforts by lawmakers (the fact that a court struck down essentially this same law last year in Oklahoma hasn't stopped some from trying to force it through again) to save women from themselves in the guise of saving babies is just as much about keeping women barefoot, pregnant, and out of the workplace to protect their own economic and political power as it is about the sanctity of human life. Because if it wasn't, these same people who insist they know what's best for women would embrace as many opportunities as possible to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to encourage as much health care as possible for women.

Oklahoma (and other states), we're not stupid. We're smart enough to connect the dots and know that despite what you say, you're not looking out for anyone's best interests but your own. And as long as your interests aren't the same as mine, I'll be happy to keep calling you out on it.

Joanne Bamberger can't help herself when it comes to politics and punditry. When she's not hanging out here at The Stir, you can find her at her place, PunditMom.