Ten states have recently passed abortion bills adding measures and limitations to woman seeking the service. Wisconsin joined this week bringing the count to eleven. Reading these bills, particularly given this is Woman’s History Month, where is the male equality? Let’s not argue about the human status of a fetus, how close to forty weeks is too close, or the ethical value/harm. Instead, let’s look at gender equality.
Generally speaking a fetus/baby is dependent on a mother’s body for life. In our culture we legislate that dependence. We legislate and limit women’s ability to decide if their body should be used to sustain the life of another. To sustain the life of their child. Let’s re-frame this idea.
Jim is a father. Jim’s son is Al. Al is playing with his new bike Jim gave him for his birthday. Al crashes, hard. His head is bleeding, badly. Jim finds him and Al is pale. His lips are blue. Al is bleeding out. He’s rushed to the hospital. The doctors tell Jim Al needs a blood transfusion. Jim’s a match. Without it Al will die. For personal reasons Jim is against giving blood. The doctors petition him assuring him there are no other options. His son will die unless he rolls up his sleeve and makes a fist. Jim holds fast to his beliefs. Al dies. Jim remains intact and autonomous.
Al has a kidney disease. It’s fatal. The doctors tell Jim he’s a match. They tell him there are no other options for Al. He must give his kidney or Al will die slowly and painfully. Jim finds it morally disagreeable to remove part of himself and put it in another. He holds fast to his beliefs. Al dies, painfully. Jim remains intact and autonomous.
Jim has become despondent. Al frustrates and depresses him. He sees no future for himself or his son. He puts Al in the back of his car. He drives out to the country to a favorite look out point. He wipes the streaming tears from his eyes. He adjusts the mirror to see Al playing with two action figures in the back seat. He wipes his eyes again and focuses on the edge of the look out. Jim breathes out, undoes his seat belt, and mashes his foot on the accelerator. The car spits dirt and lurches forward. The distance closes. Fifty feet to the ledge. Forty feet. Thirty feet. Twenty feet. Ten feet. The RPM’s peg as the tires lose traction in the air. The car falls over the edge like a stunned prize fighter. Jim’s eyes squeeze tight. Al’s eyes go wide still clinching a hero and villain in each hand. The car lands inverted, top flattened. Jim’s dead. His head, utterly crushed. Al is alive when the paramedics arrive, but he has severe damage to his chest. His heart, damaged beyond repair. The doctors find Jim’s heart is a viable replacement. Al can live. Al isn’t doomed to the fate his father intended after all. The doctors find Jim isn’t an organ donor. Jim wants to be buried intact. Al dies. His father murdered him. Twice. Jim is buried, heart intact. Personal autonomy intact.
Why is it acceptable to legislate a mother’s responsibility to a fetus? Our laws don’t do the same to either gender once the child is viable. It’s time to look at reproductive autonomy as human rights issue rather than a women’s right issue. If you think abortion should be limited, birth compulsory, and vote for legislation to intact laws assuring this, then you must fight for legislation requiring parent lose physical autonomy in the same way when their viable child is in mortal danger.
Who wouldn’t save their child is the obvious response. No one wants an abortion in the same way no one wants their child to need a blood transfusion. Abortion is a worse case scenario response. The difference: Law. Examine if you would vote for legislation requiring all parents to lose personal autonomy. Examine how that relates to women’s reproductive autonomy. If you still seek to limit/remove abortion, write your law makers to introduce a Parental Personal Autonomy Reduction Bill. If you feel people should have autonomy to guide their bodies, parents or not, alive or dead, then you must accept abortion. A corpse has more rights over his body’s organs than a woman does her uterus. On her body. Shame on us.
Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.