My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Friday, July 12, 2013

War on Women

I can not believe that politicians in government today, who were most likely either of my parents generation, or of my own generation, have become so hateful towards women.  It's also incredible how some women are buying into the misogyny and doing their best to further it.

Steubenville rape culture, abortion restrictions hidden in bills about motorcycles or Sharia law, prescribed medicines being denied by health insurance because it's linked to the desire to have the naughty sex.  I don't wanna be all feminazi or anything, but things are seriously getting ridiculous.

Just a quick history lesson before I continue for those of you who don't understand what life is like when women's rights aren't fiercely protected.

  • During the depression, prior to the legalization of abortion, my grandmothers best friend got pregnant.  A married woman, with children already, she and her husband made the decision that they simply could not feed another baby and in desperation, she went to a back alley abortionist.  She died.  Regardless of your opinion on the matter, that's the reality of what happens when people are desperate, they die.  Personally, I don't think alcohol brings anything positive to our culture, but when we tried to outlaw it, all that happened was it went underground and became the foundation of organized crime.  If people want something, or are desperate enough to believe they need it, they will risk their lives for it.
  • When my parents got married in the mid 1960's, my mother attempted to go on the pill.  She was not legally allowed to be prescribed birth control without the written consent of her husband.  Think about that.  She could not legally prevent a pregnancy without her husband's (owner's is more like it) approval.  What if she were single and needed the pill to treat something other than prevent a pregnancy?  What if she were diabetic and a pregnancy might kill her, but her husband was an asshole who wanted her knocked up?
  • When my parents tried to buy a house, my father was in law school and my mother was working as a teacher supporting the household.  But no bank would allow her to take out a mortgage, her husband had to do it.  She was prevented from owning property because she lacked a penis.

Obviously a lot of this is about the abortion debate and the closing of womens health clinics all across this nation, but what spurred me to finally get pissed off enough to write this post was this article about how the Iowa Supreme Court decided that it was perfectly legal for a dentist to fire a good employee because he found her attractive.  That's right ladies, you can now legally be fired because some man finds you attractive.

This is so insulting to both men and women and is the foundation of rape culture.  Rape culture is founded on the assumption that men are unable to control their lust so women must do what they can to ensure that they don't arouse men lest they get raped.  Remember Brandon from Survivor?  He was the very essence of the mindset of rape culture.  He hated one of his tribemates because she wore a bikini in the blaring heat and he found her attractive.  That was his reaction, he was aroused by her simply for existing and therefore she was evil.  It's the reason why women in other cultures are forced to wear burkas - show skin and some man won't be able to control themselves and will simply have to rape you, but it will be your fault for arousing them!  This kind of thinking is now becoming legislated.  A woman lost her job, her livelihood, simply because a man found her attractive and considered her a threat to his marriage even though she showed no interest in him whatsoever.

I'm also so sick of rape victims being scolded for drinking.  Apparently women are not allowed to drink in this country because it gives a man consent to penetrate her body.  A drink or two, oh she was tipsy and flirty so he had sex with her.  She gets drunk, well she was drunk!  Of course a man gets to have sex with her!  She's fucking passed out, and the rapist defense acts as if she somehow forced his penis inside of her by being passed out!  Why are we constantly blaming a woman for being vulnerable instead of blaming a man for attacking the vulnerable?

I'm married to a man.  He's perfectly capable of controlling his penis.  Is he really extraordinary in that regard?  As an actor, he's had to kiss canoodle some very attractive women, I assume he's seen them scantily clad during costume changes backstage, he has been to plenty of cast parties where these same very attractive women have had plenty to drink and were very flirty and touchy feely, and yet somehow, some way, he has managed not to rape any of them.  These women are far more attractive than the one he shares his bed with every night, and yet he's still been capable of choosing to bring his penis home to the one person who issues him an invitation to use it.

When it comes to the abortion debate, yeah, I'm a flaming liberal.  I believe that every person has a right control their own body, even if exercising that right means death for another person.  In this country, the law agrees with me on that.  Oh I'm not talking about laws about abortion, but there are other laws that define bodily autonomy as one of our countries utmost privileges.  Huh?  Ok, give me a moment to explain.

How many of you have been tested and put into the database for kidney donation?  Probably not many of you.  There are people in this country desperately hoping that a match will turn up, and their lives are depending on it.  But even though every single person in this country is a potential match, owns perhaps the only kidney in the world that will keep someone alive, we are under no obligation to have one taken from our bodies in order for that other person to live.  Some are very generous and volunteer to be matched and to donate, and good for them!  But we are under no obligation to do so.  Many of us have signed our drivers licenses to be organ donors upon our deaths.  Why did we have to put down a signature to give that permission?  Because even our dead bodies can not be harvested to save countless lives without our consent.

Give that a moment to sink in.  Dead bodies have more permission to decide what is done with their internal organs than a living, breathing female who gets pregnant.

Given my history of infertility and my failed attempts to adopt, my life would have been a lot different if there were millions of unwanted babies looking for families in this country.  But that doesn't mean that a woman is obligated to have her body used by a fetus for 9 months if she doesn't want it to.  When people use the excuse that there are plenty of people who would want the baby, that's like saying I'm obligated to go skiing every winter because I live near snowy mountains and others who desperately want to ski can't because they live in the desert.

Let's also look at the situation I was in a couple of years ago.  There are laws being proposed that abortion be made illegal even if the pregnancy harms the health of the mother (but her life may be spared).  Ok, so when I was in that hospital, debating with the doctors on whether or not there was any way to save the babies, I was not convinced to abort to save my own life.  Dying meant nothing to me.  But then my doctor told me that there was a chance I would survive until the babies died naturally, but by the time that happened, my entire reproductive system would have been ravaged by infection and at that point it would have had to be removed in order to save my life.  I had hours to make that decision.  Now what if I would have needed a lawyer to fight for my right to an abortion and there was a debate on just how dire my situation was?  First, I would have had to get in touch with a lawyer, very difficult to do at 3am on a Saturday morning.  Then I would have had to get that lawyer in front of a judge which takes who knows how long.  And then the actual debate of medical experts debating on whether or not my life was in danger, or just my overall health.  I would have been dead for weeks by the time someone with a law degree rather than a medical degree decided that my situation was indeed dire enough to legally allow me to abort.

I don't think abortion is a wonderful thing.  Personally, I think adoption is a much better option.  But my opinion on the matter means exactly jack shit to every other woman in the world.  Only 3 opinions have any value - the pregnant woman, her partner, and her doctor.  And while 2 of those opinions have value, the opinion on the pregnant woman trumps every other opinion in the world.  Her reasons are not relevant.  If she does not want her body used by another person, be it a rapist or a fetus, she has the right to not have her body used against her consent!

For those who believe that a baby is a baby from the moment the sperm meets the egg and should be allowed to live, I respect that opinion.  I really do.  You believe that the rights of the fetus trump the rights of the mother, and I understand and respect that opinion, even though I disagree.  I still believe that until science can allow a fetus to survive outside of the womb, or until that fetus can be transferred to a womb whose owner would be happy to have it there, a woman has the right to impose a death sentence on that fetus for any reason, just as she has the right to retain use of her own kidney even though doing so is a death sentence for someone else.  I hope someday science will advance to be able to transfer a fetus to a willing host.  Society will be a much better place when that's possible.  But until then, every woman has the right to make decisions about her own body.

But then many people say that abortion is ok in cases of rape or incest.  Yeah, that's where you lose my respect.  If you really believe that the fetus is innocent and has a right to live, you simply can not be ok with those caveats because in those cases, the fetus is just as innocent, it's the father that's the criminal.  If you're ok with that, but not ok with abortion as birth control, you are a hypocrite.  You don't give a shit about the innocent little babies, you just want to punish the naughty naughty sexy girls by forcing them to carry a baby they don't want.

Even the GOP doesn't believe the rhetoric it's spewing regarding abortion.  One of the writers of the Texas abortion bill argued earlier that health care should not extend to a fetus because they aren't born yet and therefore don't have any rights.  It goes to prove that it's all about control.  For some, it's men who want control over women, and for the politicians, it's about employers being able to control employees and keep as much money for themselves as possible.  The whole debate about religious employers being able to deny healthcare that goes against their personal beliefs - I think a lot of employers will suddenly become Christian Scientists so they can say that all healthcare is against their religion and save a shit ton of money.  Rick Perry is also about the money, his sister and largest campaign contributor will profit by forcing any doctor who would perform abortions to have admitting privileges at an ambulatory surgical center even though abortion is a safer procedure than surgeries performed at a dentist office.

It really is getting the point where if you tell me you're a Republican, I assume you're either an asshole, or an idiot.  You either believe I should have died a couple of years ago, or you've been duped to believe that these laws are about peoples well-being.  Our bodies do not have ways of "shutting that stuff down" when we're raped.  Our bodies are not "cleaned out" by rape kits at hospitals.  And a person who consents to let one person enter her body (a sexual partner) is not obligated to allow another person (a fetus) to occupy her body as well.

I don't want to raise my daughters in the country that the GOP is trying to create.  I don't want to teach them to make sure they are attractive enough to be hired, but not too attractive or they might get fired.  I don't want to teach them to view every man as a rapist just waiting for them to take a sip of alcohol to justify their attack.  I don't want them to choose their outfits based on how a rapist might use it against them in a court of law.  I don't want to teach them that if you get pregnant, you should calculate your travel time to a hospital across the border in Canada because the hospital 10 minutes away might not be legally permitted to save your life if something goes wrong.  I don't want information about their bodies to be so misinformed by the government that we have to fight to learn what's medically true.

I want to teach my daughters that they are the authors of their own destiny.  I want to encourage them to make choices that will reduce their risk of being hurt.  I want to teach them that they have the right to enjoy life and to protect their bodies from some of the physical harm that could come their way when they take those risks.  I want them to marry the person they want as their lifelong partner.  I want them to raise as many or as few children as they choose to raise.  I want them to have the power to support themselves so they are never financially trapped in a situation that hurts them.

I want to raise my daughters in the country that my parents fought to give to me.  I don't want to raise them in the country my parents fought so hard to escape that the GOP is trying to impose upon us again.  It was a swell world for rich white guys, but it really sucked for women, minorities, and the less than rich.

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic post. Read every word and agree with you the whole way through.

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  2. I think everyone who has a daughter should read this. I couldn't agree with you more.

    I loved my children when they were only embryos a few days old. But all of us who go through IVF know all too well, a group of cells, even when the pin-dot sized heart has started to beat, is a long, LONG way from being a baby. If only every woman in this country who wanted a child could, and that every child was wanted, it would be a better place. I think you're on to something with the fetus transplant idea. I think a womb tank would be useful too. Abortion would be legal right quick if every man who opposed it had to take an unwanted fetus home.

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  3. Just wanted to say--amen!

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  4. Excellent!
    -Carolyn

    And I read your most recent post. Hoping things improve. You are in a tough spot right now. The girls are alot of work and having your husband down for the count is miserable.

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