Pregnancy

Fetuses Aren’t People, But Women Are – And They’re Dying Over Fetal Rights

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war-on-womenThe New York Times’ story ‘Pregnant, and No Civil Rights‘ made me physically ill after reading it this weekend. Go ahead, give it a go. Guarantee you will feel sick to your stomach the second you finish. The article notes that continued laws oppressing reproductive rights are doing incredible harm to women, with some being forced to have c-sections that have ultimately lead to their death.

Yes, that’s right – women are dying. Says the Times:

“Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.

Meanwhile, women around the country are still being forced to undergo c-sections against their will. Women who miscarry or have a stillbirth are being arrested for fetal homicide. In Mississippi, then 16-year-old Rennie Gibbs was charged with murder after she gave birth to a stillborn baby. Traces of cocaine were found in the child’s system, which led to the medical examiner declaring the death a homicide. Experts testified that the cord wrapped around the baby’s neck likely was the cause of death, and not her cocaine use; a judge dismissed the charges. Prosecutors are now trying to bring manslaughter charges against her.

The Times lists numerous stories like this happening to American women just like you and me, and says, “these are not isolated or rare cases.” This should terrify us all into action. While two proposed amendments giving fetuses “personhood” status failed in Colorado and North Dakota last week, Tennessee passed a measure that gives state lawmakers the right to restrict abortion. If this doesn’t send you into a rage spiral, then please recall what Texas has done to destroy women’s access to safe abortions and health care, and then join me in slamming my head against this desk.

“If we want to end these unjust and inhumane arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women,” says the Times, “we need to stop focusing only on the abortion issue and start working to protect the personhood of pregnant women. We should be able to work across the spectrum of opinion about abortion to unite in the defense of one basic principle: that at no point in her pregnancy should a woman lose her civil and human rights.”

What’s so scary is that women already have lost their civil and human rights, and law makers will continue chipping away at them. Many of whom – may I remind you – who do not have uteruses. Do not have any need for reproductive rights themselves because, you know, they can’t f**king reproduce.

I am mad, and I am scared. And frankly, I do not know what to do besides donate to Planned Parenthood, write SHOUTY blog posts like this one, and protest when I can. Women deserve better, and we must demand it.

(Photo: Shutterstock)