On December 20, 2018, The Republic of Ireland signed "Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018" into law. This law permits, under medical supervision, the termination of a pregnancy up to twelve weeks through the gestation period, or later if the pregnancy may pose health risks to the mother. In a fiercely Roman Catholic country, countries around the world celebrated this progressive new ruling.
But who would have thought, less than a year later, that certain states in the United States would harshly restrict abortion laws?
In the state of Georgia, Governor Kemp signed a "heartbeat bill" into law on May 7, 2019. This law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is normally at six weeks. Now some people think...
"Well, wouldn't a woman know she was pregnant after a month and a half?"
It is important to learn how pregnancies are tracked and why it is difficult for a woman to know she is pregnant until a few weeks into the gestation period. Pregnancies are tracked from the first day of a woman's last period. So a woman would be four weeks pregnant on the day of her missed period. Plus, many women have irregular periods, which can make it harder to track. And say a woman found herself in this situation and managed to find out she was pregnant. She is given little time to make such a large and consequential decision; this leaves her with no choice but to have the child, even if she is not psychologically or emotionally ready.
"Well, why doesn't she just make sure to use condoms, or get on birth control?"
Nothing in life has a 100% guarantee. Condoms are only 98% effective (as we were all informed from Ross Geller) in preventing pregnancy. And although they help prevent pregnancy, their primary purpose was to prevent the spread of STDs and STIs, not pregnancy.
Some states, like Ohio, are considering an even more restrictive bill that not only bans private insurance companies from covering abortions, but it would also ban effective methods of birth control. They define this as "drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum." This would make birth control methods even harder for women to obtain. This is another problem altogether, considering that birth control is also used for irregular or heavy periods, menstrual cramps, acne, PMS, hormone replacement therapy, and a number of other female health issues.
"Well, why don't women just stop having sex?"
Although it is up to the individual woman to make this decision on their own, I think this point makes sex seem only pleasurable for the man, and the only reason women should be having sex is to have children. Every woman (and man) has the right to remain abstinent from sex, but that is a very personal decision that is private. Anyone who uses this as an argument is sexist and no one can convince me otherwise.
But even if a woman decides to take part in actress Alyssa Milano's "sex strike," this (sadly) cannot prevent a woman from getting raped. And in Alabama, legislation just got passed that doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion, even if the patient was raped.
The United States likes to consider itself "progressive," but these laws are anything but. These laws, although only in certain states, create a precedent that these laws are okay when actually, they are not. When it comes to abortion, we should all be "pro-choice." This does not mean "pro-abortion." This means that when a woman becomes aware that she is pregnant, she has the right to continue the pregnancy, or abort it.
It is perfectly okay to not believe in abortion, but it is not okay to force a woman to have a child.
As citizens of a democratic society, it is our duty to call our congressmen and tell them what we want and to vote for those who will give us what we want. Demand that women deserve the right to have a choice.
And through these backward times, remember what Margaret Atwood said: "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum."