Monday, January 23, 2017

Call to Action: Day 4 of the Resistance

The Women's March, which had representation in all seven continents, took place on Saturday, January 21st, to the tune of 3.67 million marchers on the low end and 4.6 million on the high end of estimations. More than one out of every 100 Americans took to the streets to voice their outrage at this incoming administration and voice their determination to fight and resist at every turn. Many people, Drumpf included, voiced their confusion about the necessity of this march. They argued that women already have all the rights and privileges that they could possibly need. What was the point of this march, really?

A bill was recently introduced to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 17th. A full four days prior to the march, and yet nobody knew about its existence until yesterday and today. Even now, most people you inform of the existence of this bill are surprised to know that it's there. This bill, titled H.R.586, posits that "human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization." This is why women marched. This is EXACTLY why. Because from the moment Drumpf set foot into the Oval Office, we knew that he and his administration would start decimating reproductive rights as we know them. This bill sets a dangerous precedent for our country, on a number of levels, and needs to be voted down.

If this bill passes into law, it will make abortion access, and very likely contraception, a thing of the past. With life defined as beginning at fertilization, abortion will be criminalized and defined as murder (even though, interestingly enough, when you ask pro-lifers what the punishment should be for women who have abortions, they usually cannot, or will not, give an answer). The "pro-lifers" who believe that contraception terminates pregnancies, some of whom are our political representatives, will look to deny women access to birth control using the language of H.R. 586 as their justification--seeing as "alternative facts" are perfectly acceptable now, the legitimate fact that contraception does not actually terminate pregnancies will not matter. Women's bodily autonomy will be a distant memory, and all the bloodshed from pre-Roe v. Wade will return to our doorsteps, back alleys, and hospital ERs in very short order. This bill will also set a dangerous precedent for women who have wanted pregnancies and are facing a miscarriage, fetal anomaly, or other medical issue that requires an abortion (early or late term). What's to stop Congress from forcing women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term, even if it kills them? What's to stop Congress from criminalizing miscarriages and imprisoning women for something along the lines of "suspected abortion?" What's to stop Congress from ultimately using The Handmaid's Tale as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale? 

The reality is that bills like these, laws like these, do not "save babies." They kill women. Women like Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused a life-saving abortion during a miscarriage. Women like all those who died prior to the Roe v. Wade decision--approximately 5,000 women ANNUALLY in the United States--bleeding to death in back-alley abortion clinics and dying of sepsis in hospital emergency rooms from DIY abortions gone wrong. Women who poisoned themselves with whatever they had in their medicine and/or kitchen cabinets rather than go through with an unwanted pregnancy. As I wrote in a previous post, women will have abortions, bills and laws notwithstanding, whether they are safe or not. Whether they are done by a professional or a back-alley "doctor" or the woman herself. These politicians know this. They know. They know that women who do not want to be pregnant will do whatever they have to do in order to no longer be pregnant. They know that women who do not have access to safe, legal abortions generally end up injured or dead. 

But, as I also mentioned in that same previous post, it was never about protecting women's health. Our political representatives who claim to be "pro-life" are fully prepared to ignore (or even condone) the fully preventable deaths of actual living, breathing women, fully prepared to step over the corpses of women in the streets, in order to prove how "pro-life" they are. The fact of the matter is, we have laws in this country that state that we cannot be forced to donate organs, blood, or any other living tissue to another human being, EVEN AFTER WE ARE DEAD, unless our express consent has been given. And yet, somehow, it's perfectly acceptable to force women to give up their bodily autonomy for approximately 40 weeks--from the moment she becomes pregnant, her body is no longer hers. She becomes a mere vessel for the fetus. In many states where abortion access is practically nonexistent, pregnant women literally have fewer rights than corpses do. To say that this is unacceptable is the understatement of the century.

For those of you who have read up to this point, for those of you who are beyond angry, I'm issuing a call to action and I want you to do three things:

1. Contact your House representative and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 586
2. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 586
3. Read this short story titled "ILU-486". Bookmark it. Read it every day that you feel like you can't fight anymore, because this could very well be our reality if we don't fight back NOW.

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