Criminalizing Sex: The Truth Behind Anti-Choice Legislation

The hypocrisy of the Right truly has no bounds. None of us should be surprised by that any more. After all, look who they chose to lead them. Even if Trump were tied and gagged and placed in Chinese handcuff toys to prevent those stubby fingers from Tweeting, he could not last a day without, at the least, farting something hypocritical. Great. Now there is an image I really didn’t need burned into my brain. Flatulence in Chief.

But the Right has become far more extremist than they once were. Where before, like in the time George W, there was primarily only a vague nod in the direction of pro-lifers. Most considered it established law and just left it alone. Don’t forget his mother, Barbara Bush, was not only pro-choice, but believed the government should  help pay for abortions for low income women because she felt it should not be a privilege for the rich, alone.

And the men pushing these horrific pieces of legislation prove over and over again that sanctity of life is of little concern to them. The Right Wing is littered with men who either encouraged their mistresses, even sometimes spouses, to have abortions, or literally paid for the procedures. This leads to the real issue, here. Choice isn’t really the problem for them, so long as the choice is THEIRS. They don’t want women to make that choice. When a woman makes that choice, these politicians decry the life of the child is paramount! Some make zero exceptions for rape or incest. Some won’t even budge if the mother’s life is in danger. Well, here is fact. Pregnancy always endangers a woman’s life. There is always a risk of death. There is always a likelihood of permanent disfigurement. There is always a likelihood of permanent medical complications. There is always a likelihood of long term illness that lasts months and can be debilitating and life-threatening. Pregnancy always results in loss of work or missing school. Pregnancy always results in financial loss. Pregnancy always results in immense pain and suffering for the woman. And for a woman who does not want a child, none of those reasons are good enough for an abortion, according to these men. BUT, if you are a man and a child might be either embarrassing or inconvenient, well, that’s a whole other story. They are saying that a man’s PRIDE is more important than the pain, suffering, permanent disfigurement, financial loss, illness and possible DEATH of a woman. They claim every life is precious, well, except for the life of THEIR OWN CHILD conceived under publicly embarrassing circumstances, or the life of any woman.

And just so you don’t think I’m tossing out that accusation lightly, I’ll throw you a softball that’s easy to catch with a few examples. I’ll just pick four here that are quick for you to verify, because, by all means, you don’t have to trust my word for it. I encourage you to dig in deeper and better arm yourself with knowledge. This war against women’s rights to their own bodies has absolutely NOTHING to do with sanctity of life, because if it did, you’d think these men would not so easily toss aside the lives of their own children.

Tim Murphy: he was outed when his text messages to his mistress leaked out showing him encouraging her to have an abortion of his child, the result of their affair. This is despite co-sponsoring anti-abortion legislation and boasting a 100% pro-life voting record. If held to the same scrutiny as he inflicts on women, he asked his mistress to murder his own child.

Scott Lloyd: Now here is a gem. Lloyd is responsible for tracking the menstruation and pregnancies of immigrant girls and women with the specific purpose of preventing them from receiving abortions if they want them. He has intentionally set up roadblocks for them having access to these services, not paid for by the government, to promote his pro-life point of view. He even prevented a seventeen year old RAPE victim from receiving an abortion that she adamantly wanted until it was too late for the procedure. He doesn’t believe those women should be allowed to choose what happens to their bodies. And here is the BUT. He not only encouraged and supported his ex-girlfriend to have an abortion (of his child) he drove her to the procedure and paid for half of it. Now, having a baby after you’ve been raped, and you live in abject poverty with no way to provide for prenatal care nor the care of an infant alone without any ability to even hold your rapist accountable for his crime, let alone hold him financially responsible for the child, those aren’t good reasons for an abortion according to Scott Lloyd. No, that life is precious because he has no responsibility or concern for that life. But the life of HIS OWN CHILD, now that’s a different story. He deemed his own child not worthy enough to live because he or she was inconvenient. His inconvenience was enough to warrant him advocating the, by the standards he places on others, murder of his own child.

Elliot Broidy: Now, here’s looking at you, Elliot. You are the kind of child murderer even Trump could respect. This former RNC Deputy Finance Chair had a good old, family values affair with a Playboy Playmate. Not only did he support her having an abortion of his child, the result of that affair, he handed over to her $1.6 MILLION dollars, using Trump’s former fixer to set up the non-disclosure deal. Playboy Playmates are, evidently, a lot more expensive to keep quiet than porn stars. Or maybe it was just the added, by his own definition, MURDER OF HIS CHILD, that he was trying to cover-up. Those are actual skeletons in his closet. Tiny, fetus sized ones. Again, HIS inconvenience and embarrassment were plenty enough to warrant cause for an abortion. The assault of his own actions against his pride were plenty enough for him to be A-okay with the termination of that pregnancy.

Scott DesJarlais: Now this man is a serial child murderer. His now ex-wife had two abortions at his encouragement prior to their marriage. Two. Both his. Those babies were too inconveniently timed. But hey, why stop at two, when you can go for three? The doctor also had an affair with a twenty-four year old PATIENT (yeah, he got fined for that) and encouraged her to have an abortion as well. This man is quick to say a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, but it seems just as quick to kill a child that is in any way inconvenient for him.

Do you see the commonality here?  These are all men who have had big hands in pushing anti-choice agendas and legislation. They all claim their viewpoints are about preserving the life of a child, but they are all happy to excuse themselves from that responsibility. They are all too important and too superior to have that decision made for them or their partner. In other words, choice is okay for them, just not you.

So, how would these brave murderers of their own children fair under some of the new, anti-woman legislation being debated as we speak? (Again, judging them by their own standards, not mine, because I feel these are choices women should be allowed to make without condemnation- but since these guys are big on condemning women, I feel it perfectly fair to impale them with their own swords.)  Well, In Texas, as recently as YESTERDAY, they began hearings on anti-abortion legislation that would make women receiving one, under any circumstance, at any stage from conception forward, subject to murder charges and the death penalty. This legislation introduced by Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R- of course) has the intent to completely criminalize abortion, making no exceptions for rape, incest, health or life of the woman. What is the real reason here? Is it to save lives? Really? Because letting women die because you outlaw life-saving procedures really doesn’t save anyone. Maybe someone should let him know that if the mother dies in complications of pregnancy, usually the baby does, too. And how do our aforementioned baby-murderers fair? Well, just fine really. After all, it isn’t really about them. There isn’t anything in that bill about holding men more accountable for sex or giving them the death penalty. Rep. Tinderholt claimed women need to be forced to be more responsible with sex. No joke.

In fact, here is a fun quote from Tony, “Right now, it’s real easy. Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child.” That quote is taken from a voluntary interview he gave some two years ago around the same time he first introduced this whammy of patriarchal legislation. While he hints at both parties being responsible, his bill does not. In fact, it has zero ramifications for a man. Oh, and notice that timing. 2017. While they are just getting around to hearings on it, the far right extremist nutcases who took over the Republican Party wasted no time coming after women’s rights thanks to the winks and nods from their top misogynist. But, in truth, that quote is very telling.

What does it say, besides that he is a proud proponent of the patriarchy? Well, it hits on some of the why and what.  What is it that they really want? I mean, if your idea of saving babies is by killing women, then maybe sanctity of life isn’t your real objective. Nor can you really claim that by refusing abortions to women whose life is critically endangered you are somehow saving a baby from… wait, that baby is already going to die, so, yeah, basically killing women by denying them necessary medical treatment without saving anyone, is definitely a far stretch away from sanctity of life. So, saving lives just really can’t be the ultimate agenda here, can it? What is?

Well, first and foremost, they want to regulate sex in our society based on their rigid, religious beliefs (not held by most, mind you) and dictate who can or should have sex and when they can or should have it, and even with whom it is appropriate (or even legal) to have it with.  It also serves to vilify women, making them ultimately responsible for sex, consensual or not. Women pay the price. Women are the ones shamed, as the Right so often does to single mothers, and they make all the real sacrifices.

Don’t think so? A man never risks his life in pregnancy. A man does not get sick for months. A man’s body is not stretched or mutilated. Pregnancy doesn’t risk a man’s future fertility (you know for when or if they actually want a child). If men are forced to pay anything, it won’t be until after the baby is born and paternity is proven, meaning the woman takes the full brunt of the costs and financial burdens of prenatal care. Men don’t miss work due to getting a woman pregnant. They don’t miss school, either. They don’t have to make or attend doctor visits. They don’t have to buy maternity clothes. Or car seats. Or breast pumps. In fact, their breasts won’t leak for months. They won’t have ongoing back pain or suffer hemorrhoids as the result of childbirth. They won’t experience excruciating pain and have zero chance of developing gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Their feet and ankles won’t swell up and if they can’t tie their own shoes, it will mostly likely be from too many burgers and beer rather than an unintended pregnancy.

At most, after the child is born and paternity established, they will have to fork over a little money every month, and not by any means enough to support a child. After that, their obligation is done. Ideally, they would want to be involved, help, etc. But there is no legal obligation for them to do so. So long as they pay their child support, society pretty much gives them a pass.

But the mother? Sure, she could give the baby up for adoption, and many do, but reality shows us that is not the norm, nor the societal expectation. Women who do so because they do not feel ready or equipped to care for a child, are treated with disdain in our society, like there is something wrong with them. In truth, women who do not want to have children are treated that way, so giving one up is only an exacerbation of that same sentiment. And there is really no way to hide being pregnant, so they can’t exactly keep it a secret. There is a social pressure that she should be a lioness and protect her cub and women who do not want a child are labeled selfish.

Our society is just not geared to promoting adoption as a real alternative. Plus, and it is another sad fact and tell of how imperfect our society still is, it is far more difficult to place a baby of color than it is a white baby, making the option of adoption in those communities more daunting. Just think how much worse it would be with abortion illegal. Looking right at you, Texas. You might want to figure out a better foster care system to make room for all that sanctity of life you want to spread.

And the GOP wants to do all this AND cut medicaid and WIC programs, and food assistance programs. And preschool and childcare services. So, someone please tell me how that works? The people most predominantly hit will be the poor, who have less access to education and healthcare, including birth control (which the GOP wants to limit as well), which would be certain to cause a spike in low income births. So what happens then? We have babies without food to eat, clothes to wear, homes to live in and, when the parent can’t provide that, welfare services will step in and drag them off into an already overcrowded, underfunded foster system.

Oh, and don’t forget how many women will definitely wait until late in their pregnancy before even seeking medical attention because of the fears of what a law like the one proposed in Texas would mean. And what is that? Women who have a miscarriage could be subject to investigation to ensure they did not intentionally terminate their pregnancy, or take risks in their daily life which might have inflicted harm to the fetus that resulted in the spontaneous abortion. Yeah. That’s right. So if you go to the doctor and confirm your pregnancy early on, then have a miscarriage, as happens with many women, they could face legal problems and a murder investigation.  That really would not promote early detection and treatment. And failure to receive adequate prenatal care can result in complications. Unnecessary complications. This would affect even women who want to get pregnant and start a family.

It is pretty amazing how virulently the right wing is fighting against a woman’s right to choose her reproductive destiny, considering that abortions are at an all-time low since it became legal in the United States. Funny enough, setting off bombs at clinics where abortions were performed and murdering doctors didn’t really do anything to reduce that number. Nor did the abstinence only approach. Amazingly, education and better access to healthcare and birth control options has placed women in much better control over their lives and bodies, resulting in far, far fewer unwanted pregnancies. Expansions in Medicaid and family planning clinics have helped reduce abortions as a result of medical complications. Basically, I’m not sure what their beef is. Women have a choice, sure. But more and more of them are choosing when they become pregnant, and therefore, not having abortions unless medically warranted.

Of course, the GOP isn’t coming after birth control, right? Well, there are definite nods in that direction. After all, Trump did appoint Katy Talento as Domestic Policy Counsel. And why is that important? Well, because she has spearheaded the campaign to end birth control in various forms. She wrongly touts that IUD’s and birth control pills cause miscarriages or, for lack of a better way to put it, instant abortions. Instead, she suggests women use the age old and tested enough to know it doesn’t work method of counting the days between menstruation to estimate when a woman might be fertile. She outright lies, stating birth control causes cancer and infertility. She also says it gives men “consequence-free orgasms that make them lose interest in marriage and make them abandon women and children.” Yeah. She actually did say that.

Now I really can’t imagine how or why a woman would work so diligently to suppress other women, unless its kind of like being queen of the condemned. Maybe she has been brainwashed since birth. or maybe, just maybe, this is how she goes about dealing with the doubts in her head. She’s been taught this is right and the temptation to believe otherwise conflicts with the rigid ideas of her religion, so she needs to squash those evil thoughts and everything that reminds her of them. The latter is usually the case with zealots. It isn’t their faith that makes them so vengeful, it is their inability to resolve their doubts. Rather like the anti-gay legislator who vehemently opposes all LGBT rights, but then he is busted on Sunset Ave for soliciting sex from a male prostitute. What they are really after is erasing the temptations around them, anything that makes them question what they are “supposed” to believe.

So, yeah. The GOP doesn’t want you to have access to abortions, even with your life on the line. They don’t want you to have birth control. They don’t want to help pay for or care for the resultant children from these policies, either. They say you should be more responsible for having sex. They want employers to be able to fire you for your previous or present reproductive choices. One of the GOP attempts at replacing the ACA actually allowed insurance companies to deny maternity coverage to unmarried women.

None of this is sanctity of anyone’s life. This is control. Nothing else. And for a party who is supposed to support LESS GOVERNMENT involvement in our daily lives, their ideas are feeling pretty damned invasive in my life. We cannot have anything even remotely like equality with dystopian laws such as this. Women cannot be equal if they are forced, under pain of DEATH or imprisonment, to suffer illness, injury, disfigurement, and torturous pain, because they had the audacity to have sex, or worse, were raped.

As a people, we absolutely must rise against this. The 2020 elections are going to be so important. See, I don’t really care if you are Republican or Democrat or a Representative of Bagelville. Human rights and equal rights should not be a political debate. There shouldn’t even be two sides to this issue. If you don’t believe, for religious or whatever reason, that abortion is right, then, by all means, you should not get one. Even many people who support freedom of choice do not believe it is something that they could choose. Our sex lives are just not the government’s business. I don’t need Uncle Sam moderating when, if, or with whom I have sex. I don’t want the government mandating my family planning. And religious dogma is fine, but keep it in your homes and in churches. There is no place for your personal version of Sharia Law in our political system. And that is exactly how draconian this all is. These people pushing these ideas and legislation are a very loud minority and Trump handed them a megaphone because, so long as they are shouting his praises, he really just doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t care about my rights or yours, or anyone else. So, if these people praise him and elevate him as chosen by their god, then he will likely give them anything they want. At least anything he can get away with.

I am not willing to surrender my autonomy and watch our nation contorted into a hypocritical theocratic dictatorship just so a stubby handed, balding, orange painted old man can feel better about himself. Women are half the population. We are strong and fierce. The time is long since past where we allow these pompous, patriarchal men to treat us as minorities, as a sub class of human. Yes, I’m tired. I’m sick that we have to keep fighting battles thought won. But they were not won. And they won’t be won until the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified into the constitution. Women do not have equality under the constitution. While it does not state women are less than equal, it also does not prohibit discrimination based on our gender. Why is this important? Because with the Equal Rights Amendment ratified into the constitution, laws directed only at women, such as these, would be unconstitutional. Which might be why so many states refused to take it up. While they try to claim we do not need it ratified because it isn’t necessary, what they really mean is that they want to keep the options open to discriminate against women, legally.

So, instead of trying to fight each one of these petty little laws they keep slinging out everywhere, throwing us in a thousand different directions, we need to unite behind the one that will actually give us the best footing to win this war once and for all. We need to focus on the single element, together, which will give us the weapon we really need to end these battles, so that our daughters, and their daughters, don’t have to fight like our mothers and our grandmothers (and great-grandmothers) and we have.  We need to re-institute the Equal Rights Amendment, resetting the deadline, accept the previous ratifications, and then every single one of us put pressure on the fifteen states that failed to act by the 1982 deadline. We can no longer trust our freedom to the whims of an ever-changing court. We cannot accept anything less than a constitutional guarantee that we are equal citizens that cannot be discriminated against. This is how we win the war. They will keep us busy forever, distracted and scattered. It is time to stop playing their game. It is time to fight for keeps, to fight to win.

Demand the Equal Rights Amendment be ratified into the constitution and accept absolutely nothing less. This is an issue I will raise with every candidate. I implore you to do the same.  Without it, we will never win true autonomy. We will never achieve true equality.

Don’t be afraid to tell the candidates how important this is. If they hear from all of us, then they will listen.

Speak out.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong