By Dani Langevin – Septmber, 2019
I have three grown children. My oldest, a daughter, recently gave birth to my first grandchild, a boy. How lucky he is to be a white male born into this world. At no time will he be discriminated against because he is white or male. He will not be denied a job, housing or opportunity because he is white or male.
He will certainly not be forced, by law, to alter his body because of an adolescent mistake or the violent assault by another person. And despite all of these wonderful children in my life, I support upholding and protecting Roe v. Wade, a policy put into place half a century ago, but will set us back centuries, if it is overturned.
Why is it that policy makers, the majority being white men, believe it is their right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body? Most likely, it is because the chances of them being raped are next to nothing and they have a ZERO chance of ever getting pregnant. Their justification is that they are protecting the rights of the unborn child. How about protecting the rights of the victimized mother and lives of the children already born into our society before adding more? Pro-lifers are so concerned about the unborn child that they forget that there over 31 million children living in poverty (Columbia University).
What are they doing about that? And what about school shootings? We’ve lost almost 300 students to those and yet the pro-life advocates are also the ones that support the NRA. What’s being done to keep our living children alive, fed, and housed? If Roe v. Wade is reversed, these statistics will rise including crime and healthcare issues. The majority of women who rely on Planned Parenthood and have abortions are living in poverty. Take these support systems away and you’ll see more children born into that very life.
Roe v. Wade was passed in 1975, however, there were several states that legalized abortion in 1970. Fast forward 18 years and these states saw a measurable drop in crime; in some instances, by 50% (escholarships.com). Five years later, after the passing of Roe v. Wade, those same statistics were seen across the country. Why? “Women who have abortions are those most at risk to give birth to children who would engage in criminal activity. Teenagers, unmarried women, and the economically disadvantaged are all subsequently more likely to seek abortions.” (Levine et al. 1996).
Planned Parenthood saw the value in giving women choices and support. It does not only provide abortions to those who are victims of poverty or violent crime, it provides STD testing and treatment, birth control, wellness exams and advocation for reproductive rights. That’s why it’s called Planned Parenthood. Isn’t that what everyone wants, a “planned parenthood” where every child is wanted and can be provided for? So, why destroy a system that assists with exactly that?
The reversal of this 50-year-old Supreme Court decision will force women and girls of all economic levels to carry a child they do not want. This is cruel, sadistic, and detrimental to their physical, mental, and emotional health. It is the legal re-raping of women. Don’t tell me that I’m over reacting. I’m a woman and I know exactly how I would feel, if I were to be raped, impregnated and then forced to go to full term. My country’s legal system will be raping me again. No female should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to full term especially if it is a result of rape or incest. (Recently I heard the term “un-consensual intercourse”.
A disgusting, male generated, term to euphemize rape.) If this comes to fruition, will the government cover the costs of medical care necessary to make sure that each fetus comes into this world healthy? What about the hospital bill for the birth? Is the young mother (say a girl of 15ish who is the victim of a rape, sorry, the engager of un-consensual sex) responsible for paying the costs of her forced pregnancy? And what will the father’s role be in all of this? What consequences will he be legally forced to endure that will have the same physical and emotional ramifications that the young mother will be subjected to?
Why is so much effort being put into the unborn child? I know two reasons are that they can’t speak for themselves and children are our number one precious commodity. Who could argue with that? If that’s the case, wouldn’t you think America would do well to take care of the very people responsible for bringing that precious commodity into our world? America is the “superpower” of the world. We are supposed to set an example of being free, compassionate and protective and, yet, we leave our new parents and their children without the financial and emotional support necessary to begin a new family. The U.S. falls embarrassingly short in protecting the very institution it claims this country was built upon-family. They’re hell bent on protecting the unborn child until it’s born, but not its parents. If a mother works at a company with 50 or more employees, hurray, she gets up to 12 weeks of UNPAID leave. Congratulations! You just provided us with our most precious link to the future. Take some time off to recover, but you won’t be able to pay your bills. Countries like Bulgaria, Estonia and even South Korea have better maternity leave. These countries offer 58.6, 87, and 16 weeks of paid maternity leave respectively (NPR; Pewresearch.com). Oh! This leave is equivalent for new fathers, too. Fathers in the U.S. get no paternity leave-AT ALL. Okay, this is the ONE instance where men may experience discrimination.
If young women of poverty are forced to give birth to a child they don’t want and don’t want to carry, will they get time off to recover after doing so? I understand that they won’t need the amount of time a new parent who keeps their child need, but what time will she have? What services will be provided? Will she be paid for her time off? We all know the answer to that. Let us not forget, that many of these “women” who will be forced to carry to term, will be children themselves: girls under 18 who made a stupid decision or were victims of crime and now the child they carry is more important than they, themselves, are.
According to a study done by the CDC this year, 3 million U.S. females have experienced a rape-related pregnancy. Is the government going to force 3 million females to carry to term? Why does anyone think this is acceptable? There are over 135,000 adoptable children (I don’t know what makes one child adoptable and another not) and over 400,000 in foster care. Let’s place these children into loving homes before introducing more into the fray. Oh, but these are children already born, the pro-lifers don’t seem concerned for those children. Former Massachusetts Representative, Barney Frank, has been quoted as saying, “Republicans think that life begins at conception and ends at birth.” How right he is.
If Roe v. Wade is repealed, then a quid pro quo policy should be put into place. Boys, of a certain age, should be required to get a vasectomy AND attend sensitivity courses to understand their part in unwanted pregnancies. The vasectomy part is not my idea. I heard it somewhere, probably social media and thought, “What a great idea.” Vasectomies are non-invasive, quick, simple, and best of all, reversable. Well, the best part is they, more often than not, prevent unwanted pregnancies. If people have a problem with this, why don’t they have a problem with forced full-term pregnancy or the re-raping of women? How is it different? I’ll tell you, because it’s the controlling of men’s bodies not women. ◊