If I were in charge of lay-out for the New York Times, I would have printed these articles on facing pages:
Our ‘Mommy’ Problem
Motherhood. Is it a private relationship between a parent and child, or something that gives just about anyone the right to participate, direct, comment upon, or otherwise influence the way you interact with your child or children, and to reduce your meaning in the world as only that interaction and relationship?
I’m not a mommy, and won’t ever be one, and yet there are people, mostly men but not always, who will address me as such at random times and in random places. I’m even a little guilty of it when I assume, when talking to women about politics, that I should bring up education as an issue that will no doubt be important to them. Because mommy.
Pregnant, and No Civil Rights
As states try (and try and try, and sometimes succeed) to enact personhood laws, women are not only reduced to their potential role as mommy, but they are legally shown to be less valuable, less worthy of civil rights or humane treatment, than even a fetus which exists entirely within their own bodies.
How does this play out? Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.
In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.”
The organization National Advocates for Pregnant Women is a critical part of the reproductive justice movement, expanding our notion of what it means and whether it really is possible to choose whether, when, and how to parent. They’re documenting a disturbing new reality:
Last year, we published a peer-reviewed study documenting 413 arrests or equivalent actions depriving pregnant women of their physical liberty during the 32 years between 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided, and 2005 . . . Since 2005, we have identified an additional 380 cases, with more arrests occurring every week.
What on earth is wrong with this country that in 2014, we still cannot handle women as fully actualized humans worth of respect and civil rights completely apart from any propensity to procreate?