In the runup to Independence Day, I have been hearing the usual patriotic songs and marches. Usually, I love this stuff. I’m a patriot all the way through, a singer of the national anthem, a waver of flags, a viewer of parades.
Not this year.
This year, I feel as if my country is slipping away from me. It’s being stolen by a dedicated group of political and judicial extremists who are imposing their radical vision of America on the rest of us.
America By and For the Minority
They want this country to be run of, by and for a minority of its citizens. Not only do they seek to return America to the nineteenth century, they disregard the impact this will have on people who are not like them. Flush with their triumph in a rigged Supreme Court, they cheer this great social regression.
What is that minority vision, you may ask. Simply this: America will be run by straight, white, Christian males for the benefit and enrichment of straight, white Christian males. Oh, a lot of women are going along for the ride because they think this will return them to power, too. They forget that, before women’s rights, they never had that power to begin with; only what the males in their lives chose to bestow on them.
Boys Will Be Boys
Now, we all know that teenage boys have terrible judgment. They willingly take huge risks and they have no sense of consequences. Scientists tell us that adolescents don’t develop that ability to recognize consequences until they are about 25 years old. Boys can do a lot of damage before that.
When, however, boys do stupid things, take dangerous risks, or act without regard to what will happen next, other men dismiss the transgressions with a smile, saying, “Boys will be boys.”
Few things a boy can do, short of committing a crime, result in having the next 18 years of their lives sidetracked. Even then, judges have been known to offer a guilty boy the choice of prison or joining the military. Not often do boys have one stupid mistake take their life goals and dreams of the future taken away.
That could change, of course. This ruling could mean the return of the shotgun marriage—not that I’m advocating such a flawed union. But, surprise boys, your teen-age indiscretion could now have actual consequences you hadn’t planned on.
Girls Will Be Girls—Not
On the other hand, no one says “Oh, girls will be girls” —ever. Even in 21stcentury America, boys get a pass and girls get condemned.
When girls do stupid things or act without regard for the consequences, men call them sluts and whores. The men deride and dismiss them by saying, “She asked for it. She got what she deserved.”
Girls also don’t get the choice of what’s going to happen next. Once you are pregnant and without resources, the next nine months—followed by the next 18 years—are determined for you. Biology becomes your destiny.
How a female got to that point, though, may not be the direct linear action most people imagine. And once a woman is pregnant, a lot of things can go wrong.
How Women Get Pregnant
Despite what the minority thinks, here are some of the ways a woman gets pregnant:
- Their birth control failed
- He refused to wear a condom—or removed it
- She had one drink too many
- She believed him when he said, “I love you.”
- He raped her
- She believed rumors and gossip about how birth control works
- He raped his sister/daughter/cousin
- She took a risk
- He seduced the babysitter, his daughter’s best friend, a girl he was teaching
- She believed him when he said, “I’ll always be there for you.”
- He said, “You would if you loved me.”
What Can Go Wrong
The resulting pregnancies don’t always produce beautiful Gerber babies and can actually kill women. Here’s some of the ways how:
- Eggs can be fertilized outside the uterus—an ectopic pregnancy
- Pregnancies can miscarry for any number of reasons
- Fetuses die in the womb but are not expelled
- Fetuses have severe chromosomal abnormalities that are incompatible with life
Woman can die of hemorrhage or shock. A deceased fetus left in the womb will kill a woman with sepsis. Children forced to give birth can develop fistulas. The medical consequences of pregnancy can be fatal.
Now, all of this might not matter so much if the United States was on top of the list when it comes to protecting women from death by childbirth. But we’re not. In fact, we’re woefully far down on the list of maternal mortality for developed countries. And many women lack the kind of health care that can get them through a medical crisis.
Brace yourself because maternal mortality in the Red States that ban abortion—even for the life of the mother—is about to go up. The minority of extreme right-wing politicians and judges have made the call. Women will pay the price.
NOTE: When searching for pictures to illustrate this post, I Googled images for both Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Be Girls. The results were astonishingly different. Try it; you’ll see.