|What do women have in common with barnyard animals? Read on to find out.|
Imagine for a moment a third-world country far far away where women have no rights. If a woman is raped and wants an abortion, she is forced to carry that child to term. If a woman is carrying a child that will be stillborn, she must suffer through the remainder of her pregnancy and put her body (and the mother of her children's body) at risk because the country won't support an abortion because of its fundamentalist regime.
Sounds bad, right?
Now, see if you can guess where this is:
Imagine if that same country said "No, no!" "We're progressive, really! Women can get abortions. First, they need to go through counseling and answer a million personal questions. Then they must undergo an invasive ultrasound, even if they don't want one. At that point, they can make their decision." Of course, if they still want to proceed with terminating the pregnancy, they'll be subjected to repeated judgment as medical professionals show them ultrasound pictures and force them to listen to a heartbeat saying things like "Look at your baby! There it is! Listen to the heartbeat! You really still want to proceed?" And if the answer is yes, then of course you have the right to say that, you just need to talk to two or three more other professionals who will all give you guilt trips and then force you to go home and think about it for at least 24 hours and then, if you still want it 'sign here' about umpteen times, assuming of course you haven't shrunk to the size of a pea by the judgment you've endured.
To be fair, there are exceptions for extreme cases, such as women that are victims of rape or when the fetuses will be stillborn and/or endanger the health of the mother. Oh wait, no exceptions for those? Sorry about that, peeps. Almost let them off the hook a bit.
Have you guessed the country yet? No? Let's look at some statistics.
"But Poker Chick", you say, "that's the U.S.A.! What facts are relevant to this post?"
Surprise! It's all the USA. While you were distracted by the how-much-money-does-Romney-really-have debate or the which-wife-is-Newt-on game, millions of women in our country are having their reproductive rights taken away, piece by piece.
We watch in admiration as citizens in nations around the world are speaking up for their rights and overthrowing totalitarian regimes in unprecedented numbers, yet we take for granted that we have complete freedom here.
Democracy is a team sport yet we've become complacent. So in case you haven't been following this in detail, here's a half-ass roundup of some news lately, news from a country that is a role model of democracy everywhere.
Last week, the Georgia State legislature debated a bill in the House that would make it necessary for a woman to carry a stillborn baby until she ‘naturally’ goes into labor. Yes indeed, HB 954 makes it illegal to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks even if the woman is known to be carrying a stillborn fetus or the baby is otherwise not expected to live to term. You can see the rationale of Georgia's esteemed leaders here:
Pennsylvania recently introduced a bill that will force women to go through personal procedures and medical guilt trips before they can make any decisions regarding their care. Also very recently Virginia actually passed such a law, and it was the seventh state to pass a law requiring women to undergo invasive ultrasounds if they want an abortion.
There's so much more to read. States with "let women die" bills, states criminalizing acts women do while pregnant that would otherwise be lesser offenses (or not offenses at all). And the change in the last 10 years has been staggering. How does it compute that in the last few years of the technological revolution our country has simultaneously experienced a seemingly backwards phenomenon where "religious" values are infiltrating our government. Is this the "moral" reaction to the digital revolution?
Democratic, objective and free? Or religious, dictatorial and puritanical? It's a continuum peeps, but you can't assume you'll stay where you are. Just like with relationships, if we continue to take our freedoms for granted, maybe someday they won't be there anymore.
Maybe it's time to take the "Occupy" movement a step further. We have more problems than we think.