On Wednesday, a trio of anti-abortion measures continued to wend their way through the Texas State Legislature, buoyed by Republicans’ expectations for a more conservative Supreme Court. A Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing included testimony from NARAL Texas legislative intern Maggie Hennessy, whose speech decrying SB 415 ended abruptly when Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) smashed his gavel quite hard on the glass table, which was later shown to have cracked. Seems like ridiculously bad optics for a guy trying to crack down on women’s reproductive rights, but what do I know?
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The rescue of hundreds of Nigerian women and girls from terrorist group Boko Haram received more press coverage than the human rights of women and girls are generally allocated. But what wasn’t included in that coverage is how the U.S. is actively denying those same women and girls the medical care they desperately need.
Many of those rescued were raped and forcibly impregnated while being held captive. This is becoming an all too common tactic of war, employed by Boko Haram and other groups such as the so-called Islamic State. The governor of Borno State in Nigeria, where Boko Haram is most active, told reporters, “The sect leaders make a very conscious effort to impregnate the women…Some of them, I was told, even pray before mating, offering supplications for God to make the products of what they are doing become children that will inherit their ideology.”
In Iraq and Syria, one humanitarian aid worker described the Islamic State’s strategy of systematic rape and forced pregnancy as having the goal of breaking “their spirits so they would become compliant mothers to children of the Islamic caliphate.” Continue reading…
This is just one example of how the abortion, reproductive health and reproductive justice debates are not nearly as black and white as debating politicians would like people to believe. Each and every one of these decisions is deeply personal and deeply felt and definitely not something women need overbearing “help” with.
The deepest grief I ever experienced was over the loss of a life that I, myself, ended. I was so traumatized by the entire experience that I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
I had all the symptoms: flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks. I would obsessively replay the scene in the abortion clinic over and over again in my mind, desperately wanting it to un-happen. I would have sacrificed a limb instead, if I could have. But that wasn’t the choice I was given.
My options were to lose a pregnancy or lose my life, and… well, I guess you could say I chose life.
I had been overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant. I thought there might be a little trouble at first because I suffer from a number of chronic health problems that would no doubt be difficult to treat without medication, but I figured they would all be manageable. Continue reading…
The latest landslide of anti-choice legislation coming through in Texas has been justified by one supporting legislator: “Suffering is part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.”
Isn’t the point of laws, the point of creating a civilized society, to minimize suffering? Isn’t it our legislators’ jobs to see to it that we create a world where dignified life for everyone is possible? And as far as sin, well, we’ve been saying from the beginning of the great reproductive justice debate – legal and medical matters (especially of the masses) should not be influenced by a single person’s understanding of a god.
Why is this so difficult to understand? When the religious arguments of the anti-choice movement are stripped away – as they should be, because we have this glorious thing called separation of church and state and thus the right to not have someone else’s religion dictate parts of your life – what’s left is medical science, and each individual’s personal choices. Those choices are rarely easy either, and if people who identify as pro-life were really that, they would be spending more time educating people about how their bodies work, passing out contraceptives and setting up connections and funds for families who find themselves in difficult spots rather than shaming women and preaching.