There, I said it.
Before some of you read any further than that first word, you're emotionally invested. Angry. Upset. Fired up.
Some of you may refuse to read further, finding only fault and flaw with what I write, and that's fine. It's your choice to believe what you believe, just as it's my choice to believe what I do.
See what I just did right there, with that pesky word choice?
This week saw the 40th anniversary of the landmark case Roe v. Wade, one of the most misunderstood, vilified, inflammatory decisions ever handed down by the United States Supreme Court.
While many people believe that Roe v. Wade grants women the right to abortion as a blanket assertion, it doesn't. What that case did was guarantee that pregnant women have a legal right, under the right to privacy extended by 14th Amendment due process clause, to an abortion. This right is to be tempered with the State's rights to protect women's health and protect the life of the unborn. As further cases teased out the specifics, the court has held that the point at which the scale can tip in favor of the state is when the point of viability is crossed, when the fetus would be able to live independently outside the womb.
Since Roe v. Wade, there have been countless cases involving state laws that attempted to place restriction on the right to seek an abortion. Some have failed, some have succeeded, some are new and more radical than anything we've seen before.
The right wing conservatives seem determined to never let this issue rest, and refuse to let settled law be settled, always finding new and novel ways to attempt to undermine women's rights.
In the past two years alone, over 130 new laws restricting abortion have been passed throughout the United States. Some require ultrasounds, some require waiting periods, some require consultation. There have been restrictions based on the age of the mother, changes to rules about insurance provisions, and strict limits on later term abortions.
Eventually, most of these laws are challenged in the legal system, but potentially the biggest obstacle to women seeking abortions is access. There are several states that only have one provider in the entire state. Mississippi passed a law last year requiring all abortion providers to have privileges at a hospital, so the hospitals all declined to extend privileges. No privileges, no providers.
Texas has begun requiring vaginal ultrasounds and that the mother listen to the heartbeat prior to any procedure. They also have discussed forbidding all medication induced early abortions, essentially forcing women to undergo surgical removal. Arizona has banned almost all abortions past 20 weeks, citing fetal pain as the reason. A few states persistently introduce personhood legislation in every term as an attempt to indirectly undermine abortion rights.
The most recent addition to pending legislation made me wonder what exactly has happened to our country. The fact that the proposed law was written by a woman makes it even harder to stomach.
New Mexico state representative Cathrynn Brown (R), proposed a law that would attempt to force women impregnated through rape to carry the fetus to term, giving the reason that the child conceived is evidence of the crime.
“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime," the bill says.
A felony of this level could warrant up to three years in prison. She would incarcerate women for having abortions after a rape. After the media caught wind of this unimaginable law, she attempted to clarify the motivation behind the law, saying that it was to discourage the rapists from seeking terminations of their victims pregnancies.
By punishing the victim, she plans to punish the criminal, so she claims.
Here's the thing that people like her don't want you to know....the products of conception removed after an abortion can as easily be tested for genetics as a baby born at term. There is absolutely no reason to force these rape victims to carry pregnancies that result from a violent crime in order to obtain proof that a crime happened in the first place.
By using terms like legitimate rape, by attempting to force rape victims to carry the children created from criminal acts, these lawmakers aren't just attempting to undermine abortion rights, they are attempting to undermine women's right, period.
I still can't wrap my head around the fact that a woman proposed the New Mexico bill.
If that doesn't make you sick enough, how about this fact???
Not only are they trying to prevent you from aborting the baby conceived through rape, in these 31 states, rapists are not treated any differently than any other biological father. They can seek visitation of the child, shared custody even, forcing the victim to undergo years and years of reminders, of this man forcing his way into her life repeatedly.
Why do the rapists seem to have more rights than the victims?
If you aren't outraged yet, you should be.
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