Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shame on Rep Steve Kestell

During the Republican's all out assault on women's rights last week, Rep. Steve Kestell (R-3rd Grade) made a rather insulting comment.

Jenni Dye, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, did a much better and more appropriate response to Kestell's adolesence than I would or could:
NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin Condemns Representative Kestell’s Insensitive Comments
Abortion Bans and Sex Selective Abortions Are No Laughing Matter

Madison, WI – NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin condemned the Assembly’s passage of AB 217 and its author’s insensitive and outrageous comments during discussion of AB 217. The bill would create a cause of action to allow abortion providers to be sued by the mother, father or grandparents for providing a sex selective abortion and places the penalty for a sex selective abortion solely on providers.

In committee, the proposal’s author, Representative Steve Kestell made light of the abortion ban, commenting that the bill was necessary because if sex selective abortion occurs it can create a “quite a mismatch.” Kestell then chuckled and asked, “can you imagine being a fourteen year old guy in school looking to ask someone to prom?” The Assembly passed his bill on Thursday evening.

“Representative Kestell’s comments about sex selective abortion are outrageous. If even one woman chooses to end a pregnancy because of coercion or pressure to have a child of a certain sex, that represents a departure from true freedom of choice and is one woman too many. This is not a laughing matter,” said Jenni Dye, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin.

“It is unbelievable that we are even having to point out that this issue is more serious than prom dates. Insensitive comments such as Representative Kestell’s—justifying a sex-selection ban so young men will have more dating options—demonstrate how little thought he has actually given towards women.”

“Meanwhile, abortion bans do nothing to change underlying cultural norms of sexism and gender bias that place greater value on boys over girls. Representative Kestell should support bills that promote gender equality, rather than making flippant comments,” added Dye.

A 2011 report on sex selection from the World Health Organization and other international-health groups indicates that restricting access to abortion services without addressing social norms and cultural factors is likely to result in a greater demand for unsafe, clandestine procedures that place women’s health and lives at risk. Anti-choice proponents are using the unfortunate circumstance of gender bias and inequality that may lead to sex-selection abortion as justification to advance their longstanding goal of banning abortion.

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