March 21, 2017

Stop Calling Yourself "Pro-Life:" An Open Letter to the GOP

Stop hiding behind the precursor “pro-life” because you think it makes you sound compassionate. Stop calling yourself a “pro-life” politician because you know you can manipulate votes out of people if you do. Stop using the word “pro-life” at all, and call yourself what you are: pro-birth.

Across the US, when babies are born, they become the human beings that you fight against on a daily basis. When a baby is born to an impoverished family, he becomes a Medicaid recipient - a form of healthcare that you want to strip away from American citizens. When a little girl is born, she becomes a woman who needs reproductive care - care that you so desperately want to take away. When a baby is born to a black woman, he becomes a person who you will ignore the value of as police attempt to or succeed at murdering him. When a baby is born to a Jewish woman, she becomes an adversary rather than a citizen that you will protect. When a Muslim baby is born, he becomes a potential terrorist that you don’t want in your country.

If you were really pro-life, you would support low-cost healthcare for impoverished people. You wouldn’t fight tooth-and-nail against women’s reproductive health. You wouldn’t encourage doctors to lie to women about their health choices. You would implement comprehensive sexual education programs for every child in the US so that they grow into educated adults who know how to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves against diseases. You would include birth control as essential parts of any health coverage because you would understand that birth control is necessary for every American citizen to thrive.

If you were really pro-life, you would do these kinds of things because these are things that promote life. Your political goals at this point promote sickness, poverty, racism, misogyny, and death. Thriving is a part of life, not just living, and so long as you demand abortion restriction while ignoring the actual needs of American citizens you are in no position to declare that you care about life. You would be better off calling yourself pro-control. Pro-money. Pro-you.

So stop pretending like you give a damn about life, and admit that the second birth occurs that baby could end up in a dumpster and you wouldn’t do a thing about it. As long as you can torture women through unwanted pregnancies you’ll be happy. As long as you can tell impoverished people that it’s their fault they are poor and they should do something about it you’ll be fine. As long as you can squeeze every last vote out of the religious right, you’ll keep calling yourself “pro-life” even though you know it’s a lie. You are pro-birth, and there’s no denying that.

January 15, 2017

This is Why I March

I’m not sure who the opponents of abortions after 20 weeks think they’re stopping by passing “no exception” laws. Maybe these are people who have never spent any time around real human women and think that their weekends consist of sexy pillow fights and arm-in-arm trips to get late-term abortions. Or perhaps they’re after the cold, callous, yet severely flaky child-haters who accidentally got knocked up but just can’t remember to to make that darn abortion appointment! Whatever female tropes these supporters think they are targeting, they are wrong. The women who need access to abortions after 20 weeks are heartbreakingly the women who want a baby, but cannot have the one that they are gestating because of congenital defects.

So, Kentucky, you have passed a law that bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation with no exceptions for medical misfortune. Let’s look at what exactly you have done. Imagine a woman, let’s call her Amy, and Amy and her husband are really excited because they are soon to have their first baby. A few days after Amy’s 20 week ultrasound and genetic testing, she gets a call from her doctor with tragic news: they have detected Bowen-Conradi syndrome. The fetus is developing with severe abnormalities and will likely die shortly after birth.

Now because Amy lives in Kentucky, she is unable to get an abortion even though the baby will have no chance of survival. When people comment and coo over her pregnancy, she has to smile and pretend that she isn’t continuously grieving. When people ask the gender, she has to smile and pretend that it matters. When people ask if she is ready, she has to smile and pretend that she hasn’t given up on converting that second bedroom into a nursery, that there isn’t a small pile of onesies on the windowsill and a little hat with ears that she bought especially for the trip home from the hospital that won’t see use any time soon. She has to smile and pretend that she hasn’t been made into an incubator so that Mr. Politician can get pats on the back from his buddies at church who congratulate him for “protecting life.”

Let’s pause for a second and analyze this concept that he is “protecting life” by asking the question “whose life?” It is not the life of the fetus - biology has doomed this life from ever truly living. It will suffer and die soon after its birth, and no government mandated birthright will change that. And it is certainly not Amy’s life, because if Mr. Politician had any respect for Amy and her life he would never force her to incubate a baby with a death sentence for 20 more weeks, suffer through delivery of that baby, and then watch as the baby struggles to live and ultimately dies because it was not able to develop into a healthy human being. It seems then, that Mr. Politician's actions have no consideration for life whatsoever, and he is simply voting in a particular way to make himself look like a hero.

Mr. Politician and his cohorts have no regard for the women that they are damning with laws like Kentucky’s SB 5, and they do not care to argue otherwise. They are so caught up in the idea that they are “protecting life” that they ignore the lives at stake. They are ignorant to medicine and even so feel it is their right to invade lives and bodies that are not their own, to make decisions that will not impact them, and to leave everyone else to deal with the torrential aftermath of their pen strokes. This is why I am standing up for women everywhere who need support. This is why I will not be silenced and sit idly while my sisters are attacked at the hand of the government that should be protecting us. And this is why I march.