By Jessica Johnson
Abortion laws, once again but not surprising, are spiraling out of control.
The main problem within this legislation is that it is enacted by a white, male supremacy run institution. According to representwomen.org, a non-partisan organization, women only make up 27% of congress and 31% of state legislators. In a system that was set up to fail women and ignore their rights consistently, it almost seems impossible to enact legislation that protects us, and doesn’t take away our fundamental rights outside of politics.
Women’s rights to their bodies should not be a political issue. Women should have control over something growing inside them, as many may not have the financial and mental stability to support a child. Having a child takes an extreme toll on a woman’s body, including hormones, swelling of vocal chords, swelling and pain of the feet, loosening joints, chloasma or melasma, swollen genitals, stretch marks, gastrointestinal issues and more. Cis gender men have never had to experience this, as this is a unique symptomatic experience of every woman that becomes pregnant. How can one have a say over something they do not understand?
Their body, their choice.
At this point, women are most likely tired of having to repeat themselves.
This past week, Kentucky passed legislation that would make abortion illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy and grants no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Those who may not have the financial or institutional accessibility to find out if they have been impregnated by a rape earlier than the time stamp, are directly impacted by this law. The previous week, Arizona passed similar legislation, and March 31, Governor Doug Ducey signed the law into effect.
Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod, said during discussions, “this bill strikes an appropriate balance for the health and safety of the mother as well as the life of the unborn child.”
This is not okay.
Whether a woman considers the fetus a living child, should be up to thier discretion. To live with a baby in their belly for months that they did not want, nor ask for, is a violation of morality and crosses the line of humanity. Having offspring induced by a rape, and having no option out of having the child even in the second trimester, is not okay. Between 16 weeks and 20 weeks, a woman can feel a baby moving. There is most likely a small time frame between 14 and 16 weeks where a woman may feel nothing at all.
So why does it matter? It’s the beginning of the second trimester, when a baby may not be fully developed. Usually, a woman may be able to see the gender as early as 14 weeks by ultrasound, as during the first trimester, the baby’s body structure and organs begin to develop. However, it is still early enough to where, quite honestly, it should be a woman’s choice whether they want the development to continue to give birth to a living, breathing life.
Even after giving birth, a woman may give up that child, and it instead ends up in a system designed to fail them. According to imprintnews.org, an independent daily news outlet focused on the nation’s child welfare and youth justice systems, more than 38,000 kids moved through the foster care system last year, 82% of whom are Black or Latino. Many of these children that are put in the system were most likely born in poverty ridden areas, or from parents that were financially, emotionally, or psychologically unable to take care of them at the time. Again, in a system that is embedded and structured in failing different minority groups, these numbers are concerning.
We need to stop bringing children into this world, if we are not ready to properly care for them. It’s hard to do that, when there are now so many restrictions on birth control, and now the ability to even obtain a safe abortion. Eventually, women may not be able to even take preventive measures such as birth control to prevent pregnancies they may not want, as restrictions become worse and worse. At the end of the day, it is always the woman’s choice of what they want to do with their body, and their future.
The institution that was built to give everyone a voice, continues to silence those who do not fit the mold of the typical white, cisgender man. The way we can continue change, is by peaceful protesting, by educating those who do not understand, and by demanding justice for those who have been silenced. It is time for change, and as more legislation is being enacted, now is the time to act.