expiring soon: Her rights

So far this year, eight states have passed bills to limit or criminalize a woman’s right to abortion. At this rate, we’re very quickly headed back to a time when “a woman and a Negro knew their place.”

I mean, we’ve been making progress for decades. Or so I thought. It was all the way back in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade that state regulation of abortion was unconstitutional. In other words, the government can’t criminalize abortion because, in most instances, this violates her constitutional right of privacy, which it found to be implicit in the liberty guarantee of the due process clause found in the Fourteenth Amendment.

“…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”

Unfortunately, this current administration has emboldened hate, misogyny and institutional racism. To hell with a Constitution or a woman’s rights. This is ‘Merica where things are once again great. It’s as if the nation is being punished for their eight years of having the audacity to hope.

This month in my home state of Georgia, the governor signed a draconian bill into law that criminalizes all abortions after six weeks. According to women (who would know best), they don’t even realize that they’re pregnant at this time.

I’m having trouble with making sense of this though. A bunch of men who have been elected into positions of power to enact policies that best serve the people at large has decided to hijack the rights of women to govern their own bodies.

As men, aren’t we supposed to protect women? So you’re telling me that if a woman is assaulted, raped, mistreated or abused in any way that leads to a pregnancy, there are more specific laws in place for the state to penalize her and the medical staff that assists her than there are to laws to punish the man who has wronged her.

There may be a glimmer of hope in all of this because the ACLU has successfully blocked legislation from going into effect in Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota. And this week, the Supreme Court hinted at a reluctance to take on the core abortion precedents of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood as they upheld a block on an Indiana provision that would prohibit abortions.

Now, let me step back for a moment and state the obvious – I am a man. What is not as obvious is that I am also a believer. That is, I believe in and have a personal relationship with God. Some people would call me a Christian. I shrink a little bit at that label these days because of the many political and intolerant implications associated with it. But I do believe in the sanctity of life. I also believe that not one of us is God. We don’t have the right to judge another or her choices just in the same way that she has the right to make those choices and bear responsibility for them.

It is my role and responsibility to love. That means I have a responsibility to protect, provide for and nurture. Choose life, right?

I can’t side with the anti-abortionists or pro-lifers because I don’t believe that they sit on the side of love. I feel like their passion is born from a judgemental, unloving space.

If all of this was really about life; if this was really about all lives mattering, the same advocates of choice would fight for the lives that take place after birth.

What of the 700, 000 children who spend time in foster care or the 2 million that face homelessness every year? What of the children who don’t have an equitable opportunity at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because of the socioeconomic status of their parents? What of the black boys who are gunned down by their peers or overzealous police? Do black lives matter? Does any life matter? Or is it really about party lines and talking points?

In addition to stripping a woman of her right to choose what to do with her body, these laws will also likely abolish services that Planned Parenthood provide that include STD testing and treatment, birth control, well-woman exams, cancer screening and prevention, abortion, hormone therapy, infertility services, and general health care. But they’re worried about preserving and protecting lives, right?

Am I being ridiculous? Okay, for the sake of argument, let me go back to the consideration of life in the womb. If these draconian laws were to pass, there should be other laws and statutes that are a domino effect.

According to the heartbeat bill, if you’re six to eight weeks pregnant, there is a heartbeat within you. If there is a heartbeat within you, there is another person there. If another person is there, one person is now two.

All pregnant women can now ride the HOV lane for free. All pregnant women can now qualify for the “under 12” discount at state parks and restaurants because they’re carrying a child that is well under the age qualification. All pregnant women can now claim their embryo and fetus on their taxes as dependents. Maybe this bill isn’t so bad after all, huh?

Yeah, I am being ridiculous now.

This surge of boldness among Republicans is really about one thing — patriarchy! Patriarchy is a system of government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. There has to be some degree of Stockholm syndrome going on because many women are supporting the very system that is oppressing them. But I digress.

Banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to her personal dignity and autonomy. We can’t regress now. Her rights can’t expire. We’ve come too far.

Published by kenn

author. developer. illustrator. Renaissance man.