What does it mean to be pregnant and carry a child and give birth? Sacrifice. Period. Women sacrifice their bodies, their health, their financial well-being, their careers, and potentially even their life. Every single pregnancy comes with the risk of death. Without exception. Period. Every pregnancy causes illness. Period. Without exception. Every pregnancy causes painful changes to a woman’s body, many of which are irreversible. Without exception. Every pregnancy causes a woman extreme pain and discomfort. Without exception. Every pregnancy subsists from the life of the woman, drawing nutrition and calcium from their bodies, depleting them. Every time. Without exception. Every childbirth is painful. Period. Sure, you can have procedures to help the pain, but those are expensive and also come with additional risks (atop the ones of childbirth, itself) of injury or death. A woman’s body is forever changed and scarred. Sacrifice. And the GOP wants to mandate that sacrifice. They are telling women they HAVE to risk their lives. The GOP is saying our lives are forfeit, meaningless, and unimportant. They are trying to sacrifice us to their gods. Yes. I’m saying it. They want to make us human sacrifices to their religious ideals, mandating in laws that have no basis in science or knowledge. They believe that once we are knocked up, we should be stripped of our rights, our autonomy, and our freedom. That is what these laws essentially do. They strip women of their freedom if they are pregnant, placing a higher importance on an embryo than on a living, breathing citizen. Like it or not, an unborn fetus or embryo or blasticyst is not a citizen. The constitution is quite clear on that. So, having a child demands a woman’s sacrifice. She has to give up many things and accept many consequences, many life changing and permanent even if she does not keep the child. So, is the United States now in the business of legislating a woman to sacrifice herself? Evidently so. Motherhood can be a wonderful thing for someone ready to meet that challenge. But only that woman knows if she is really willing to make those sacrifices. If you want to sacrifice yourself to have a child, that is wonderful and great, but it should always be a willing sacrifice. It should be done out of our love and care, not forced upon us against the threat of imprisonment or death. That isn’t making a sacrifice, that is being sacrificed.
The last few weeks have been difficult to digest. Women’s rights are under attack with the passage of crippling reproductive laws across the country. The GOP led initiative against women is showing its ugly head to be exactly what I’ve been telling you for a long time. Control. The “heartbeat” laws effectively ban abortion because a heart is one of the first things to develop, necessary for the embryo to grow. There is no nervous system or functional brain activity. No cognizance. No awareness. A heartbeat is easily detectable by ultrasound at six weeks, though not by stethoscope.
Now, for you idiots out there who have no understanding exactly what six weeks in pregnancy terms means, it does not mean a woman has been pregnant for six weeks, nor that the embryo is six weeks old. It means it has been six weeks since the first day of her last menstrual cycle. Now, a woman doesn’t get pregnant during her period, or at least that would be extremely uncommon. No, her period lasts anywhere from the average five to ten days. Then you have approximately one to two weeks until she ovulates. Then, only when there is an egg available, can she get pregnant. But she isn’t even pregnant yet! No, the egg fertilizes, then it has to travel down through the Fallopian tubes, during that process multiplying its cells, until it is then dumped in the uterus, where it can hang around for a while before either just passing on by or, finally, attaching to the uterus. So, at the least, three weeks, and as many as four, pass without her actually even being pregnant. Can’t detect that. Also, it takes at least a week for that pregnancy to become detectable at all. At the least, depending on the amount of hormone the woman’s body releases. Some women don’t produce as much and can still test negative on that pee stick at six or seven weeks. It would literally take an ultrasound to see the pregnancy any earlier than six weeks, and even then, it may not be large enough to be readily visible as anything more than a “maybe there is something there” and would be difficult to differentiate from a small cyst or fibroid. Basically, it would be a spot that could be anything. And how many women are going to be heading out for ultrasounds when they haven’t even missed a period yet? many women don’t even have very regular periods, how are they supposed to keep up with that? So the heartbeat law is not intended for anything but to effectively outlaw abortion, even to people who need one.
Most of these laws make little or no exceptions for rape, incest, or even health of the mother. And some laws are even taking it much further. They seek to outlaw the morning after pill, which is used to prevent getting pregnant from a sexual encounter. Those encounters might be consensual, many are not. They seek to ban birth control citing it as an abortion inducing drug. It isn’t. These laws are not based in science. They aren’t based in knowledge. They serve only the purpose to control women and demote them to breeding stock in a man’s dominated world. I told you they were coming after birth control as well. And they are. They want to control sex. Who can have it. When they can have it. Who they can have it with. Even how they have it. These laws are invasive to a ridiculous degree. They basically erase the ability for family planning. They believe sex should result in pregnancy, and if you don’t want to be pregnant, you should not have sex. Period. End of story. They want to regulate your sex life. They want to control women.
There are other interesting factors at play. For instance, birth rates in the U.S. are down for a fourth consecutive year, causing some to worry about the future of cheap labor. That’s right. If people are choosing to wait to have children until they are more financially stable, then they are more likely to have educated children who may not be content working for scraps to survive. We could have a shortage of low-wage workers. Even worse, fewer children born to poverty means less crime. That translates into fewer incarcerations. That would make it much more difficult to fill those for-profit prisons where they use inmate labor to employ their prison manufacturing facilities for pennies an hour. Slave labor.
Recently I was on a social media thread and saw something that really summed up this far right idea about women. The argument was over abortion rights, that a woman should have a choice what happens to her body. Then there was a very short response on it; short but truly telling.
“Well, some people believe there is a life inside that body.”
Of course, I had a poignant response to that, “There is a life inside that body. Hers.” But it doesn’t change the telling perception that once a woman becomes pregnant, she is no longer a person. Her life is forfeit. It doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t matter when she becomes pregnant, then it never really mattered at all. The GOP would have us believe that our value as women is in our ability to breed. They have no qualms, no guilt, whatsoever, in sentencing a child to this sentence after she has been raped or molested. They have no issue with sentencing a teenage girl to prison or death for murder because she made a single mistake and got pregnant, young and alone and scared to death. They have no issue taking birth control away from women who do not wish to be new mothers, or who cannot risk pregnancy due to their health. If they die, can the GOP be charged with murder? Can our government be charged? The states that allowed these inhumane laws? If a woman dies in childbirth, why is she the only one who sacrifices? Could a man who raped her be charged with murder? Should rape be attempted murder, since every pregnancy carries the risk of death?
No, they won’t do that. They won’t take responsibility for the death and pain they invoke. That’s for women to bear alone. We are just sacrificial breeding stock, after all. And this is made more evidenced by the new laws making filing rape charges more difficult, even punishing women with prison if, for any reason, her rapist is not convicted. Sexual assault is already difficult to prove and more often than not, victims never see justice. Look who is sitting on the Supreme Court for proof of that.
No, this has never been about saving babies. That is a fake rally cry to garner sympathy. This has always been about the subjugation of people, separating the classes, and keeping less desirables downtrodden and begging for scraps, willing to do any kind of job for any kind of pay, uneducated enough to feel grateful they have a job at all. This is why the GOP got rid of free college tuition. This is why they drove up the cost of healthcare. This is why their judges ask rape victims why they didn’t just close their legs. This is why rapists and child molesters get ridiculously light sentences. This is why they refused to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
Women have no constitutional rights aside from voting We are not protected by the constitution. We are protected by a Supreme Court Decision. That decision can be changed by a new court. We are not free, let alone equal. Hell, the GOP doesn’t even see us as people. We are expendable and beneath them.
And, while I know the thought may be in the right place, boycotting sex won’t really fix this problem. The problem isn’t most men. It is a minority with a lot of power, and they do not want anything challenging that power. No, where they have to be hit is somewhere they will actually feel it. considering half these guys can’t get laid or their pricks wouldn’t work even if they could, the thought of a lot of other men being cut off would probably make them happy, having achieved their goal of an abstinence only birth control in society. They really would be controlling sex, then. No. We have to hit them in their wallets.
That could be done. Imagine just one day, one planned day that we, as women and supportive men, decided not to shop. One day where we didn’t buy anything. No online shopping. No grocery store shopping. Skip buying gas. Wait a day on that new outfit or coffee pot. But show up to work. Those businesses need to feel the pain of paying people without revenue. Yes, it would hurt a lot of people. But not permanently. It would likely come out in the wash. But what it would do is show our power. It would show our ability to have dynamic impact. It would be nice if some organizers could make something like this happen instead of more marches that may show a lot of people in the streets, but otherwise have not resulted in any change. They don’t care about our voices. They sure do want our money, though.
The majority, by large degree, support a woman’s right to choose. Even more support access to birth control and family planning. These laws do not reflect the desires of the people, not even in the states where are enacted. And even among those who do want heavier restrictions on abortions, the vast majority believe there should be exceptions for rape, incest, safety of the mother, etc. One of the laws recently enacted makes it illegal for a woman to go to another state, where abortion is legal, to have an abortion. She can be charged with murder when she returns home. That is a far-reaching law which violates the jurisdiction of other states, literally attempting to prevent perfectly legal procedures being done in another state. They want to be able to charge women and doctors with murder for an abortion not even performed in their state, where neither the woman nor the doctor broke any laws. Think about that.
We have to fight these people who want to make us subhuman. Motherhood is a wonderful thing. I love my children more than my life, but I made that choice. I chose to sacrifice for them. I made the decision that I wanted children. It was not forced on me. I almost died in my last pregnancy. Very literally. But I made that choice. You cannot demand a person sacrifice their life. If our governments can demand we sacrifice our lives, livelihoods or health, then we are not free at all. We are oppressed. We have a gaudy imitation of the freedoms enjoyed by our male counterparts. We must demand the ERA be passed and ratified into the constitution. We cannot leave the semblance of freedom in the hands of courts. Court decisions are temporary, at best.
I will not be sacrificed to the GOP’s god. Nor will I allow my daughter to be either. Nor my nieces, sisters, cousins, friends and even the women who are so brainwashed they can’t see that oppression is wrong. I don’t care that they hate me. I’ll fight for their rights, anyway. Because, a woman’s right to choose is just that, a right of choice. And it is perfectly wonderful to choose to have a child. For those who make that choice, they have amazing joy. But for women who do not want a child, there is no joy or love. Just oppression if you take that choice away. Then they become breeding slaves of the government where their lives have less value than cattle.
But it is not just the women who do not wish to become mothers that will be affected. Every pregnant woman becomes a target. A miscarriage under most of these new laws could result in murder or manslaughter charges. This isn’t just what ‘could’ happen. It already is happening. These laws will result in women being afraid to go to the doctor early in their pregnancies, for fear of it being documented and losing the child, most especially in women who have had previous miscarriages. Early prenatal care is an absolute factor in lowering the rates of infant mortality and childbirth mortality. Having access to medical care, the proper vitamins, early detection of problems such as gestational diabetes and symptoms of preeclampsia are vital to saving both the lives of babies and women. But many, many pregnancies are lost in the first trimester for various reasons, including an inhospitable uterus, uterine fibroid, uterine and/or cervical cancers, illness such as the flu, food poisoning, and nonviable fetuses, as well as other complications from environmental toxins or things ingested prior to the mother’s knowledge of the pregnancy, such as alcohol, cigarette smoke, etc. A spontaneous abortion can also be the result of a minor fall or injury or car accident. The GOP wants to be able to charge women for murder if they can, in any way, warp the scenario into intent. Say the car accident was her fault. Maybe she got dizzy (pregnancy does that, you know) and accidentally rear ended someone. She could be easily charged with either reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter. But if they are feeling especially evil, they will claim she did not really want the child and acted in such a way as to promote an abortion, basically using a car accident as cover for murder. Under that circumstance, she could spend life in prison or even face the death penalty. Not even to mention the legal and financial trauma… all while grieving her lost child. No. Women won’t be able to take that kind of risk, and as a result, they will not get the healthcare they need and increase their chances of losing either their child or their life. So even women who want their child will be impacted. No woman is safe.
And just wait until the suspicion starts hitting against women who don’t become pregnant. If they have outlawed birth control and abortion and a woman doesn’t get pregnant, don’t you think people will begin to suspect her? No woman, no little girl, will be safe. And by safe, I mean safe from our government.
This is oppression. It is meant to make women unable to pursue the same dreams and goals as men. Breeding stock. The more we are devalued, the less rights we will have. We have to say no. We have to fight this, even against our sisters so caught in their own traps they can’t see their prisons. We cannot make them use the freedom we fight for, but we also cannot allow them to take ours away. Are you willing to be the GOP’s sacrifice? Are you willing to sacrifice your daughter? Your granddaughter? Your sister? Your mother? Anyone?
Tell them, “Not today.”
Tell them, “Never.”
We are One Woman, One World