Keep Your Laws Away From My Uterus

I may have already written about my thoughts of being pro-choice in the context of abortions, but the situation has gotten worse and I have returned to say this: how the hell did we get to this point?

You've probably heard by now what lawmakers in Georgia and Alabama have been up to. While other states have been working on their own absurd laws, those bills are likely to face litigation in the future, according to USA Today. Their article goes on to explain that the current law in both Georgia and Alabama is that abortion is prohibited past 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the health of the person carrying the baby is at risk (friendly reminder that not everyone who is at risk with these new laws identify as women even if they still have a functioning uterus, and their identities are still perfectly valid even if that is the case).

Georgia's new law, scheduled to take effect on January 1 of next year, is also known as the "heartbeat bill" because it prohibits abortions after a fetus' heartbeat has been detected around six weeks of pregnancy. In case you weren't familiar with how a female reproductive system works, this would mean one's period is only two weeks late and would not always raise alarm due to how common it is for cycles to shift around.

In comparison, Alabama's law would ban abortions at any state in pregnancy unless the physical and/or mental health of the pregnant person is at risk. Alabama law would not account for cases of pregnancies caused by rape and/or incest, but Georgia's law offers an exception: the pregnancy must not be more than 20 weeks long and an official police report needs to have been filed.

Do you want to know why that is ridiculous? According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), out of every 1,000 rape cases, only 230 are reported to police, but that does not mean the report will even be taken seriously by officials or that the rapist will face any repercussions. Many people do not report or talk about their sexual abuse for a number of reasons, and frankly, they don't have to say anything if they don't feel comfortable doing so. This "exception" would take away a vital, empowering aspect of the recovery process for someone who endured trauma that was not even their fault.

In addition, a person who has been impregnated by a rapist should not be forced to carry the rapist's child if the person does not choose to do so. How would it feel to be forced to go through an invasive, uncomfortable process like pregnancy and end up with a physical manifestation of the trauma?

I am a Christian, but I strongly do not believe it is "God's will" that pregnancy occurring under these awful circumstances would even happen in the first place. To be pro-birth and have this as an argument is abhorrently despicable; you do not have the right to invalidate someone's trauma because of your own beliefs that the other person may not share, and you most certainly do not have the right to create policies based on your religious affiliation. Remember the entire concept involving the separation of church and state?

The current law in Georgia charges lawbreakers with one to 10 years in prison and does not specify anything under the new law, but the new Alabama law would charge anyone that performs an abortion to life or 10-99 years in prison; attempting to perform an abortion would result in one to 10 years. The person who receives the abortion, the person who performs the abortion, or a pharmacist who prescribes medicine that causes an abortion would not face murder charges, but it is speculated that this could change or be added later due to the ongoing debate whether or not a fetus is a "natural citizen." In addition, it has been revoltingly discussed if the theoretical murder charges would carry over to a person who miscarries; you know, a tragic occurrence that the pregnant person cannot control.

The absurdity doesn't end there within this new conversation. According to Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio is considering an anti-abortion bill that would be even more restrictive than the heartbeat bill. As said in the article, "the bill would ban nontherapeutic abortions that include 'drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.'"

Devices that prevent a fertilized ovum (a sperm that has reached an egg) from implanting are also known as contraceptives which include, but are not limited to, male and female condoms, birth control pills that prevent ovulation (an egg being released during the female reproductive cycle), intrauterine devices (IUDs), Plan B, etc. These devices are used to prevent a pregnancy from occurring in the first place, so why are they even relevant to the topic of abortion (hint: it helps control the bodies of people with uteruses, but I'll get into that in a second)? By the way, people use hormone-based birth control for reasons outside of pregnancy prevention; those with endometriosis/polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and/or intense PMS use the hormones to stabilize their reproductive systems.

The very same bill also speaks of ectopic/tubal pregnancies (when a fertilized ovum implants outside of the uterus, generally in a fallopian tube). It is incredibly rare for this type of pregnancy to be viable, so they usually end in termination because they would be fatal to the pregnant person otherwise. However, Ohio member of the House of Representatives John Becker (R), says the bill would not categorize termination under this case as abortion because "part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus." This method is physically and medically impossible because it does not exist. If you're going to support bills that police a person's reproductive system, perhaps you should know the absolute bare minimum about how they function and not create policies based on nonsense.

Supporters of these anti-abortion laws can be incredibly hypocritical; they go on and on about the importance of life, but what happens if the baby is born as an immigrant (answer: they are taken from their families and placed in literal cages). What happens if the baby is black (answer: they are systematically more likely to be subject to police brutality). What happens if the baby's parent was forced to have the child and it is born into a financially insecure household? What happens if the child attends public school and is subjected to gun violence due to a lack of gun control?

The point I'm trying to make here is that if you claim to be "pro-life" but don't show that same concern for people who have already been born and are dealing with problems that lawmakers/society refuse to address, then you need to do some serious self-reflection on your morals and if you follow through on your claims. If all you care about is the fetus being born, then (in my viewpoint) this entire debate just boils down to controlling people's bodies.

While these laws are unconstitutional anyway due to Roe v. Wade (1973) deciding that people have the right to choose if they want to have an abortion, this could be part of the process to have the source overturned as pointed out by the previously linked article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This is because of the two newest members of the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who were chosen due to their "pro-life" beliefs as promised by President Donald Trump during his campaign in 2016. Even if the abortion bans are unconstitutional now, they may not be if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.

If you haven't read "The Handmaid's Tale" or even watched the show if you have access to it, I highly recommend it because you'll notice some unnerving parallels between a fictional dystopia and what our reality is turning into. I support the pro-choice movement because it's all about an individual's right to choose whatever it is they want to do in the event of an unanticipated pregnancy. You don't get to create policies that dictate what people can and can't do with their bodies. I absolutely will not stand for it.

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