On Thursday 16th May, Missouri’s Republican-led Senate passed a bill known as ‘Missouri Stands With the Unborn’. The bill was then passed by the House of Representatives on Friday and the Republican Governor, Mike Parson, is expected to sign the bill to make it law. As some of you probably know, or will have guessed, the law would ban abortions in nearly all cases; this includes pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
This is not an anomaly or a one-off. This is just one example from the wave of anti-abortion legislature that is sweeping through the USA. Just days before the ‘Missouri Stands With the Unborn’ bill was passed, Alabama passed a similar bill banning abortion. This followed on from the states of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio passing anti-abortion bills earlier this year.
‘Pro-life’ protests have been going on for years, so why the sudden push now? Many believe it’s because of the two new conservative justices in the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom were nominated by President Donald Trump. The hope is for these bills to get to the Supreme Court, so that the new majority conservative justices can undermine or even overturn Roe v Wade, a decision made in 1973 that established the right to obtain an abortion.
Immediately, I can see parallels between these potential laws and those surrounding drugs; an odd comparison you may think, but let me explain. Laws prohibiting drugs such as cannabis do not prevent people using these drugs. Instead, they just put those using narcotics in more danger as they have to source them from dealers who are likely linked to more criminal activity. Likewise, criminalising abortions will not necessarily stop women from having abortions. Instead, they will look to unregistered doctors to perform the procedure, or worse, perform it themselves. Although these protestors may be saving embryonic cells, they will sacrifice the women who created them. Dr Leana Wen, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, tweeted: ‘Doctors and public health leaders agree: the cost will be women’s lives.’
Another point I’d like to highlight is the fact that these decisions are being made by malegovernors and a predominantly male Supreme Court (9:4). These statesmen will never know what it is like to fall pregnant and they are unlikely to fall victim to rape. They should not be allowed to decide what a woman does with her body. End of. It would be interesting to see how they would vote if one of their close relatives became pregnant through incest or rape.
The hypocrisy goes even further when you realise that the senates who are passing these bills are Republican-led. As previously mentioned, these social movements are done under the guise of ‘pro-life’. Since when did Republicans care about pro-life?! Let’s not forget that the National Rifle Association, which opposes virtually all gun regulation, donates a large sum of its money to the Republican Party. Let’s also not forget that the guns this group pushes to deregulate, are the same guns that have caused the death of thousands of US citizens, including 113 that were killed or injured in school shootings. Are these politicians essentially saying the life of an embryo is more important than the life of a living, breathing person? It sounds like it.
For those who are reading this and don’t believe in abortion due to religious or moral reasons, I get it, I do. Whilst I personally disagree with your belief, that doesn’t mean to say it is wrong, it’s just different. However, I would argue that the foundation behind a lot of religion is love. I understand that you will argue for the love of the potential child, but what about the health and wellbeing of the mother? Does she not deserve to be loved? What if the baby was not made through consensual love, but through a hateful act of incest or rape? What if the baby is going to be born into a world that is unloving?
All over social media I have seen reactions to these anti-abortion bills from women who stand united and strong. Yet I have seen very little from men. So this is a call out to all of you lads who have a mother, a sister, an auntie or a female friend. The message can only become stronger if we support these women who simply want empowerment over their own body. It’s not a big ask. Do your research and show some love. After all, how would we feel if we were given limits to how our body could be used?
I’ll finish this rather lengthy post with some lyrics from Tupac:
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up