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The New Battle in the Old War on Women

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 10:36 AM by Esper

This is a rant about my country, inspired by something I watched on Rachel Maddow.

So in the United States there are several anti-abortion "personhood" bills being proposed as new laws (in Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Virginia where they have already passed versions in one half of their legislatures while Iowa, Georgia, and Texas have introduced similar bills. Mississippi has one as a ballot initiative currently tied up in court and its supporters are traveling the whole state saying that people should support the ballot with their deadly serious idea and that women who were raped should all give birth to their rapists' children. No joke.) These bills would redefine a person as anything from a zygote onward. Because many forms of birth control such at "the pill" work by keeping a newly fertilized egg (a.k.a. a zygote) merely from implanting rather than preventing fertilization altogether it would threaten the legality of many types of birth control which, by the way, about 60% of women in the U.S. use. They would also, of course, make abortion of any kind illegal. If you think all of this sounds a little extreme you'd be right, but also wrong because even Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum (btw, google his name) believes that abortion to save a woman's life is a "phony" excuse. Read here. This kind of extreme thinking is creeping its way into acceptability and that's frightening.

Why this is bad: since forever ago women have struggled to have independence, power, agency, you name it. But you know that already. One of the many advances that women have made in recent decades is winning some control over their own reproduction. Even in this modern, developed country in the 20th century it was legal in most places for husbands to demand sex from their wives (what we would today call rape) and birth control of any kind was illegal. I'm not saying that these bills would bring back those days. What I am saying is, basically, if women cannot control when and how often they want to have children (or if they don't want to at all) then they loose a lot of their own control over their lives because they are forced to have children.

Why being forced to have children is bad: aside from the fact that it's forcing a woman to do something that isn't necessary for her own health, it means she must commit at least 9 months of her life to growing a fetus. It can make it harder for her to work and earn a living, which can make it harder for her to remain independent. She'll have to pay for doctors' visits and all kinds of medical expenses. She may have to leave school and severely hamper her chances at a good education - and education is one of the key ways in which women can stand on their own two feet. If she decides to keep the baby - and many would even knowing the impact it would have on their lives - that 9 months can be expanded by 18 years. I could go on, but essentially, these proposed laws would gut a lot of freedoms women have fought to have recognized. That's just wrong.

Rant over.
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  1. Old Comment
    Rogue planet's Avatar
    Some people will only ever be able to think backwards.
    Posted June 10th, 2011 at 3:29 AM by Rogue planet Rogue planet is offline

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