To Bear Or Not To Bear

She had a heartbeat, too

 

The current GOP is apparently filled with people who actually believe – despite decades of scientific evidence pointing to the exact opposite conclusion – that conception is impossible if one is “authentically” raped. Todd Akin was merely making a public statement of a GOP-held belief. Thus, the thinking goes, if one is pregnant, one did not suffer “authentic” rape, and therefore a rape exception to an abortion ban should not exist.

 

Are we all clear on this?

 

Me, neither.

 

Jesus wept.

 

Bear in mind that pregnancy and giving birth are more dangerous to one’s health than abortion. This is particularly true in the US, whose maternal mortality statistics are the shame of Western nations. A federal law banning abortion would therefore condemn a certain percentage of living, breathing people to death.

 

Also, recall the recent needless, torturous death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, miscarrying a 17-week-pregnancy, who was refused an abortion in Ireland because the fetus’s heart was still beating. The Galway hospital allowed Halappanavar, a dentist, to miscarry and bleed for three days, by the end of which (the cervix and womb are exposed to bacteria during miscarriage, especially where, as here, the placenta has detached from the uterus) her blood had become infected with bacteria. Savita died a brutal death from septicemia, a death that was both preventable and terribly close to murder. Her husband lost his wife, her parents their child.

 

Halappanavar, a Hindu, had been told “this is a Catholic country”, by hospital personnel charged with healing their patients.

 

However, let’s look at another slippery slope to a ban on legal, medical, safe abortions in the US.

 

When a nation has the right to compel people to bear children, it also can acquire the right to prohibit people from bearing children. In 1927, abortion was illegal. The Buck v. Bell decision that year (spawning Oliver Wendell Holmes’s statement that, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”) was predicated on an assortment of lies and distortions (Carrie Buck had been raped by her adopted mother’s nephew, then she was sent to a mental institution to cover up the man’s crime), but it enabled the state of Virginia – and other states, as well, since Buck v. Bell was a US Supreme Court decision – to forcibly sterilize women the state perceived as unfit to reproduce.

 

The two sorts of control are opposite sides of the same coin.

 

If the US were to prohibit all legal abortion, of course we’ll see the tragedies that led to police officers, ER doctors and nurses pleading with courts in the 1960s and 70s, testifying to the extreme pain and loss suffered by people who tried to abort without medical help. I’ve seen the photos. You can, too, by researching. People who bled out, who died of shock and sepsis. Young people, people with children, some married, some not. Alone, in hotel rooms, at home having sent their children – whom they wanted to protect from the poverty that having another child would induce – to a friend’s.

 

But with a ban on abortion, we’ll also see the flip side. Because, friends, this is ALL about control. And what better way to control than to say, “yes, you must have children” to certain people, and “no, you must not” to others.

 

Maybe you’re in favor of pre-conception licensure, where people who want children would have to prove they could afford the cost, and also that they had been trained and educated in developmental psychology and biology; that they would breastfeed for at least six months; that their home was safe and healthy, and that everyone the child would come into contact with would be nurturing. Surely that’s what newborns deserve, yes?

 

Perhaps you think eugenics is a good idea. Even though genetics is still more of an art than a science – since we cannot tell which genes will be inherited or expressed, we cannot predict what any combination of egg and sperm will grow up possessing in terms of health, intelligence, capabilities. Note, too, that DNA mutations, far from being rare, are exceedingly common. Still, let’s say you’re all in favor of creating perfect offspring, conveniently ignoring that the healthiest dogs are mutts, with genes from many different breeds.

 

Perhaps you’d happily sign up for that, dot all I’s and cross all T’s.

 

Same with telling people they’re just not good enough and sending them out to try to adopt.

 

Until, that is, you or someone like you is given a “no way”. No way will you be allowed to reproduce! The reasons might be health-related: your genetics tend toward cancer, your BMI is way over 30. Maybe they’re safety-related: your brain contains little matter in the area that controls empathy, sure sign of a sociopath.

 

Or you come from a lineage that doesn’t value education. You’re not quite tall enough. Your eyes are blue.

 

Tough luck.

 

That’s what happens when you give the government control over reproduction.

 

You must, you must not. Two sides, same coin.

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Filed under Abortion, Buck v. Bell, Eugenics, GOP, India, Law, Mental health, Obesity, Rape, Savita, Todd Akin, Torture, War against women

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