Who Owns my Uterus? Rights, Responsibilities, and the Realities of a Romney Presidency

This week, the Romney/Ryan campaign showed their true colors clearer than I’ve seen them before in this campaign. Under their leadership, the Supreme Court could change in ways that would plummet a woman’s rights back to pre-Roe v. Wade era, an embryo would have all of the rights accorded to a living being at fertilization, and it is very likely that marriage would be only defined as a right of heterosexuals, obliterating any progress that states have made in legalizing same-sex marriage.

Any woman would be crazy to vote for Mitt Romney. Any man who loves a woman or has a daughter would be voting against women to cast his vote for Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney, the surrogate for the Tea Party’s regressive, misogynistic and racist group of haters and elitists would cause a downward spiral for woman that would be irreparable for many generations. A Romney win would ensure the appointment of 1-4 possible Supreme Court Justices who would most surely repeal Roe v. Wade, a woman’s right to an abortion!

To begin with, it is unconscionable to support such ludicrous reasoning for eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood. If  women do not have access to the free services that PP offers, there is no doubt that the number of unwanted pregnancies would rise due to lack of contraception. If women do not have access to routine procedures that could prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, aid in healthy pregnancies, screen for early detection of cancer, provide for abortions, and many other services that are offered, the strain on our health care system through emergency room care would be monumental, or, women would suffer without these services altogether.

For a party that seems so concerned with the rights of the unborn child, where is the concern for those who are alive and needing assistance? Where is the outrage for the child that was not aborted, yet has a life-threatening illness but has parents with no insurance or way to pay for care? Are these Republicans really so short-sighted that their reasoning ends when the sperm meets the egg? Do these extreme Republicans really believe that if these babies could talk that they would say that a life of hunger, poverty, no resources for basic health care, and in many cases, physical, mental and verbal abuse  is worth it or preferable?

As a lesbian, my kids were not created by accident. They were planned for and invited into our lives with much forethought and hard work. While I understand that heterosexuals aren’t always that careful or strategic with the choice to have kids, I do know that many people take this responsibility very seriously and would not want to be surprised by an unwanted pregnancy.

In New York City,  53 high schools now offer female students Plan B, which is a compound that prevents ovulation or fertilization if used within 72 hours of unprotected sex. 7000 girls between the ages of 15-17 get pregnant in the NYC school system annually. Imagine, if we could prevent these unwanted pregnancies, the subsequent need for abortions, and the unnecessary birth of more unwanted children which often comes with even more societal repercussions! Seriously, abstinence programs don’t work. Kids are going to experiment or be forced into sex whether we as parents like it or not. Let’s protect our girls and give them a chance to grow up with as many advantages as the boys get to have.

As a business owner for many years, I know that I have paid up the wazoo for insurance in my former business. I had health insurance for my staff, insurance for participants who used the facility, unemployment insurance, liability insurance, and even insurance in case I forgot to pay the premiums on my insurance! It’s a protection that I never took lightly, especially liability insurance. It didn’t just stop there with my premiums though…I fixed safety issues immediately, maintained all of my equipment when there were problems, kept icy areas safe and plowed, put cones up outside wet bathroom floors, posted signs about safety issues, filed accident reports and dealt with insurance companies when there were issues. I knew my responsibilities  and acted accordingly, yet I don’t see that same thing happening with the issue on the liability when it comes to unexpected pregnancies.

It may not be my area of expertise, but I surely know that to make a baby in the “conventional” way, a man is required. Yet all of the talk of abortion and a woman’s right to choose seems to miss the most important precursor to pregnancy in the first place. Put into a perspective that I can relate to very well, I’d say that there is a liability to having intercourse in the first place, yet I hear very little talk about the male’s part in this responsibility.

Imagine a society where every sexual encounter comes with an implied legal responsibility. Why are both parties not responsible for proving and providing the same level of contraception to protect against an unwanted pregnancy. It is an impossibility for the man to get pregnant, yet it seems to be predominantly men who are writing the laws that would either take away a woman’s right to choose what she can and can’t do with her body if she gets pregnant. According to the most recent statistics in the U.S. almost half of the 6.7 million pregnancies are unintended. That’s 3.2 million! And according to these same statistics, 19% of them are unwanted. Most of them, as you can read for yourself, concern minority and low-income women. The choice to have an abortion, if you ask any woman who has had one, is personal, difficult, and wrought with much emotion, and involves factors much more complicated than a simple “it’s against GOD’s will” approach.

The  Right-Wing Conservative Tea Party has a clear inability to separate the issues of Church & State. As Paul Ryan clearly stated in the VP debate this past week, he can not separate his religion from his political views when it comes to abortion. He supports the platform that abortion should be illegal except for in cases of “rape, incest, and (lo and behold he’s put it back in to his speech…) the life of the mother.”  Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic as well as Ryan, knows that his religious views, although similar, SHOULD NOT be and WILL NOT be imposed on anyone else’s choice for what is right for their body.

So who is responsible for these unwanted children? Whose liability is it? Seems to me that it falls predominantly on the women. And why is it that the healthcare system does not cover this under the Republican Right-Wing agenda either through contraception or abortion services? Because women are not seen as having equal rights. Apparently, women do not have the ability to decide what is right for them and their bodies because men seem to know what is best?

As a mother of 4 girls, it scares the hell out of me to think that we may have a President Romney. This is not a choice that should be difficult if you are a woman and a mother. If Romney gets elected, your rights will dissolve. There is no place for religion in politics and that was settled long ago.

What will be next- eliminating the right of women to vote?

Magical Thinking

I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming. Too much, I’m sure, and if I had some magical daydream calculator, I’d likely chastise myself for wasting so much of my life…

Lately, I’ve caught myself imagining more of a nightmare world where Republicans have the Presidency along with the majority of the House and Senate, and although “daydreaming” sounds all fluffy and cloud-like, these thoughts are dark and ominous and full of thunderclouds!

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a bit of a news junkie with “news” leaning almost exclusively towards national politics these last few months. I’ve watched  the Republican Convention with curiosity, disgust, and anger as they lie, and deceive the public, while rights that women have owned over their  bodies  for decades dangle precariously by a thread from the wretched hands of the rich and “powerful” men who want to take over our country.

I was watching Rachel Maddow last night discuss the abortion views of prominent Republicans and I continue to be saddened and distraught about their consistent message of not tolerating abortion. “Period,” they say, as if we need more enunciation and might stop asking them about their stance!  Some of them will allow for the “exceptions in the case of rape or incest”, and others will include “for the life of the mother,” but eventually, they just want to repeal Roe vs. Wade. If Romney gets elected, just one Supreme Court appointee may devolve us to that point when back alley abortions were the only options for women and when we’ll see many, many women die needlessly.  This is NOT a test. This is the real deal!

I know that I don’t have to spell this out to y’all, as you are likely educated, mostly women, and keep abreast of these issues yourselves, but since I have daughters and a son who haven’t ever lived through a time when women were treated with so little respect and rights over their own lives, I have had to spell it out to them.

When I was a teenager, I knew I was a lesbian. I had a girlfriend in High School for most of that time. I never dated guys, never had to deal with the idea of accidental pregnancy, or think about what I’d do if I did get pregnant. Some of my friends and relatives who did have to worry about it, were forced to make some hard decisions when they got pregnant. Luckily, they had a legal choice to get an abortion, and in most cases, a parent was not even required to be notified, but before 1973, that was not the case.

Even Mitt Romney, who has vacillated on his views over the years since he ran for Governor in MA has now stated that even though he’s voiced a support for a women’s right to choose, (vehemently, I may add), he is now against abortion, and it’s unclear  whether he would allow it in cases of rape, incest, and the “health and life of the mother. Isn’t “life” a part of “health?” So he’s now taken another stance and redefined his previous stance to say that he “mis-spoke.” What?!

Ok, here’s what I don’t get…First of all, I understand that “pro-life” means to choose life of the child over death – “death” being the state of the child/fetus as a result of abortion. I also understand that a woman who is pregnant is considered “alive,” at least that’s what they told me in my early science classes, and her heart is still beating.  So if by choosing the life of the baby over the health and life of the mother, wouldn’t that be the opposite of pro-life?  I sure I’m not the only one who sees the hypocrisy in this.

Now I know I may be getting paranoid here, but is it so outrageous to imagine that  if this absurd doctrine is ever allowed to pass, there might come a time that the Republicans will enact another clause that allows for the life of the mother over the baby if the baby is a girl, but the life of the baby over the mother if the baby is a boy? Crazy, maybe, but it sounds to me like a WAR ON WOMEN if they would even consider allowing a woman to die in order to give birth to a child in ANY circumstance!

I saw a short clip of a new documentary by Al Jazeera called “The Abortion War” in which Jim Buchy, a Representative from Ohio who has proposed the so-called “Hearbeat Bill” defining life as “beginning at the onset of a baby’s heartbeat,” was asked, “what do you think makes a woman want  an abortion?” He couldn’t answer the question and seemed stumped as he fumbled through an answer, and finally said “I’m not a woman…It’s a question  I’ve never even thought about.”   Wow! So, basically, women are only considered vessels to carry babies. We have no rights to personal liberties and men will choose what we can and can’t do with our bodies without even THINKING about how it might feel and WHY a woman would feel the need to do it?

If we imagine a law that requires these children to be born, shouldn’t  the Republicans be required to fund their upbringing, care, schooling, etc? And for all of the mothers who don’t want these children but feel obligated to keep them, do we want more babies in this world who are not loved, or well-cared for, may have to live in poverty, may suffer abuse?  Maybe these Republican dictators should really take the time to THINK about these things?!

Women have had time to think about it. It’s one of the hardest, most private and personal decisions that women do have to think about, and they should be allowed to make that decision based on who they are and what they are willing to do for this unborn child. By forcing any girl or woman to carry a baby to term is a form of enslavement and can not be tolerated.

My dream for this election, is that more and more women will come to realize what this agenda really means for them, their women friends, and their loved ones and take some action. My dream also includes many supportive, sane men in this country to stand with women and actually THINK about what this might mean for women. Seriously, women don’t get pregnant all by themselves!  This is the time for all people, especially women to energize and come together with a tornado of force that together, no closed-minded, backwards-thinking, domineering, heavy-handed, discriminatory, and sick agenda by the Republican Right-Wing Tea Partiers can reckon with!

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