Ladies, if you think women are not under assault around the world—including here in the United States—you haven’t been paying attention.
Protests are rocking Iran after the death of a woman, Mahsa Ahmini, who died in custody of the “morality police.” Her crime? She wasn’t wearing her hijab according to the imams’ dictates. Iranian women are now burning their hijabs in the streets.
In India, protesters demand justice after 11 men, who were convicted of gang raping a Muslim woman in 2008 and sentenced to life in prison, were released without explanation.
Here in the U.S., Republican politicians continue to fall all over themselves proving how pro-fetus and anti-woman they can be. After their success with the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, they are rushing to pass laws that not only ban abortion but apply criminal sentences to any woman daring to get one.
Earlier this month, Louisiana State Representative Danny McCormick and Baptist Pastor Brian Gunter joined forces to promote a nefarious bill. If it became law, a pregnant woman could face murder charges even if she was raped or if doctors determined the procedure was needed to save her own life. Mr. Gunter commented: “No compromises. No more waiting.”
Changing a state’s criminal statutes to apply murder changes from the time of conception gains in popularity in a number of places.
- Last year five male lawmakers in Texas authored a bill to make getting an abortion punishable by the death penalty.
- This year, three male lawmakers from Indiana attempted to wipe out existing abortion regulations and change the state’s criminal statutes to apply at the time of fertilization.
Don’t look surprised. The criminalization of abortion for women is the logical extension of the anti-abortion movement. It has always been the goal. What better way to control women than to threaten them with prison for making decisions about their own bodies? How better to demonstrate your own power than to prevent women from taking action to save their own lives?
Robert Burns (R) won his congressional primary in New Hampshire this month by equivocating. He said that, while he was opposed to abortion, he would “accept” an abortion ban after a pregnancy of 15 weeks. But what he really thinks—really wants—came out in 2018. That’s when he told a reporter that he was, “100% pro-life from conception.” He waffled, however, when asked about exceptions for the life of the mother:
“The life of the – well, the problem is, when we start using ‘life of the mother’ ― you know, ‘life of the mother’ absolutely has to mean – and I’ve talked about this before – you need a panel to look at it. Not because like, ‘my life is going to change’ or ‘psychologically, I can’t handle that.’ Because this is what they try to put in there… Absolutely, there’s a few cases where, in fact, it is life or death: a woman comes down with cancer and she can’t get chemotherapy without having an abortion, or what have you. In those cases, I believe we would need a panel in this sort of situation.”
The drumbeat of outrageous, anti-woman actions rolls on. In fact the guys—and they are almost all men—can’t stop themselves. Despite warnings, they continue to declare how utterly important it is to control pregnant women before they do something unacceptable—to men.
The Guttmacher Institute told CNN that laws prohibiting abortions even in cases of rape and incest have taken hold in around a dozen states, including Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee. Those laws, CNN found, were overwhelmingly passed into law by male legislators. Even Democratic state legislators were more likely to cross the aisle to vote in favor of abortion bans.
Out of the Lifeboat
Anti-abortion activist Scott Herndon goes further, to urge women to embrace their “instinctual sacrificial behavior.” He notes that women in a catastrophe are more likely to prioritize the child’s life over their own.
I find it difficult to accept this drumbeat of contempt for women. Men seem to have an increasing scorn and derision for the physical and mental health of women. I don’t think it’s going too far to call it blatant hatred.
Misogyny — hatred of women — is in fact part of the doctrine of groups like the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo Bois.
I’m old enough to remember when “women and children first” was the rule of the day. It certainly applied when the Titanic was sinking. Now the men seem almost eager to shove pregnant women out of the lifeboat. And the colder the water, the better.
The Window of Instinctual Sacrifice
If they thought about it for a while—or if they had a better understanding of how the female reproductive process works—they might realize something. There is short window in which a fetus is viable if the mother dies. That window doesn’t open at conception.
A pregnant woman who can’t get an abortion to save her life before the fetus is viable will die—and so will the fetus. For about 24 weeks in a 34-week pregnancy, the fetus is not viable and will die if the mother does. After that, the fetus has a better chance of survival for every week of gestation but those odds don’t get really good until week 26—the last week of the second trimester.
Given that a normal pregnancy lasts 38 weeks, the fetus has a 12-week window in which a panel—presumably of righteous men—can sentence the mother to death while feeling satisfied that the fetus will live. The new baby won’t have a mother, of course—no one to hold it, nurse it, kiss, it and put it to bed at night. But that happens post-birth and these absolutist men don’t care much about that.
I would like to explain why so many men have become so anti-woman but I can’t. I just have no idea. It’s like the Dodd decision has opened the floodgates of misogyny to allow men to express publicly, and write into law, just how much they hate women.
Denying the Power
Abortion bans deny a female patient the ability to make decisions about her own health and pregnancy. In certain circumstances it might force her to endure doomed pregnancies and deliveries of fetuses that will not survive. In others, it might charge them with a crime for suffering a natural miscarriage.
There is a word for a female that is bred without its consent and forced to carry offspring to term: That word is livestock.
If these men win their local, state, or national elections, they will happily, eagerly, enthusiastically reduce the women of America to the status of livestock. Most of them are white and Republican. But Democratic men, as noted, do collude with them on this issue. Gender and misogyny seem to triumph over party.
The question is whether women will stand up for their own rights, their own health, and their own lives, by denying the men the power to take control.
The opportunity to stop them—perhaps the last opportunity to stop them—occurs on November 8.