I’ve been meaning to write an opinion piece on the topic of “frenzied misogyny” as writer Soraya Chemaly calls it. Many of us – women and men–are angry about the attack on women’s reproductive health that has been going on for some time, an attack that has the potential to set us back fifty years.
This attack has reached an all time low resulting in some of the most outrageous and egregious bills introduced in the Senate and House. Some say that these bills have led to the rest of the civilized world thinking that we here in the US of A have lost our mind.
Here’s just a partial list of the insanity that is now going on in states around the country:
1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. Honestly. This week, the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they ‘naturally’ go into labor. In arguing in favor of this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation. This bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus, is inhumane and unethical. It is a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such violates her right to life.
2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. Period. Whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, the fact remains that every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. I thought we dealt with that in 1972 with Roe Vs. Wade.
3. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe prior to undergoing a pregnancy termination. For real. Pennsylvania is currently considering that option along with 11 other states. A trans-vaginal ultrasounds performed without a woman’s consent is rape according to the legal definition of the word.
4. Inhibiting and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary pregnancy and imposing restrictive requirements like a 24 hour waiting period prior to the procedure. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and some other states bills that make women “pay” for their choices are more and more common.
5. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private sex lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she chooses to use birth control. In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it for birth control purposes but to aid certain medical conditions. Really?
6. Sacrificing women’s overall health as well as the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their right to control their own bodies. In effect, Texas just did that by turning down $35 million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.
And guess what? Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
So yes, I think there’s a lot of frenzied behavior going on that basically is anti-woman. How else can we describe it? Last month during Black History month some students read a few radical speeches in our nation’s history.
One was by Sojourner Truth who said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.” ‘Nuff said.