1. 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.
The above case happened in 1987, and is brought into this story, partly, to point out the direction this is country heading regarding laws against women - backwards.
One of the biggest fears many women have had leading up to the 2014 Midterm Elections, and after, was the fear of losing the Senate, and ultimately losing more reproductive rights. In actuality, Obama's vetoing power will keep Republicans in Congress from having as much power as those lawmakers would like. Ironically, the GOP will get a bitter taste of their own obstruction. What many activists, including myself, failed to focus on while writing blogs, making memes, and creating FB pages, was how much more damage
the GOP lawmakers can, and will, cause women on a state level
This NY Times piece stunningly exposes the legal injustices carried out against women in different states. The authors, Lynn M. Paltro and Jeanne Flavin point out these are not isolated cases.
2. 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.”
3. In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.
4. In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.
5. In Florida a woman was held prisoner at a hospital to prevent her from going home while she appeared to be experiencing a miscarriage. She was forced to undergo a cesarean. Neither the detention nor the surgery prevented the pregnancy loss, but they did keep this mother from caring for her two small children at home. While a state court later found the detention unlawful, the opinion suggested that if the hospital had taken her prisoner later in her pregnancy, its actions might have been permissible.
Paltro and Flavin conducted and published additional research last year, which gives more details about the cases above, as well as outlining many other similar cases.
How do we fight this? What are the solutions? Towards the end of the NY Times piece, the authors suggest we stop focusing only
on abortion and start working to protect the personhood of pregnant women. I agree. I would like to add, the focus has never been only about abortion, itself. The pro-choice focus has been on a woman's right to choose to have and/or not have children. If abortions become illegal, if we lose that reproductive choice, we will not only see more injustices against pregnant women - we will see more deaths. And those deaths will be dark, cruel, and horrific as they were for the generations of our mothers, grandmothers and all those who came before them. Without the right to abortion, women will be forced to have children, unable to work, and many will be forced into poverty. And when their children are born, especially if the newborns are girls, they will mean nothing to these anti-choice, anti-women Republican lawmakers. Pro-Life? What about the life of a mother? What about the life of a child, once born?
Benedictine nun, author, and speaker, Sister Joan Chittister, said:
"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking. If all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed and why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
This is an ongoing battle many of may never see end in our lifetimes. We do it for our daughters and granddaughters, because our mothers, grandmothers and many pro-choice supporters did it for us. Here are 10 large and small organizations/Facebook groups to join/support: (Some you may have to request in order to join.)
NAF/National Abortion Federation
Fight Laws Against Women
Abigail Adams Brigade
The Guttmacher Institute is an excellent source of current reproductive rights legislation.
If you have ever thought about running for office, look into it, and do it. Start now. Until more women are represented in government, we will maintain the same status quo or laws will get worse. And if you've ever thought about blogging, taking to the streets in protest, petitioning, and boycotting, look into it, and do it
. Start now. Together we will change the direction of this country.
Read the full NY Times story here.
Correction: Originally stated, 'the authors suggest we stop focusing on abortion and start working to protect the personhood of pregnant women,' should have read, 'the authors suggest we 'stop focusing only on abortion and start working to protect the personhood of pregnant women.' NAPW has been a longstanding and staunch supporter of pregnant women, including those who seek to end a pregnancy, or continue a pregnancy to term. http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org
Thank you, Daily Kos members; Inclusive heart, Fcvaguy, Tamar, and all those who made suggestions and contributed feedback and links regarding the 1987 Washington DC Angela Carder case. Here is the Wikipedia link as well as another link by the National Advocacy for Pregnant Women. Also, thank you Rachael Christine for sharing the story with me.
Lastly, very special thanks to the Lynn M. Paltro and Jeanne Flavin for this great informative, eye-opening, NY Times article.