A Shuttering Week To Be A Woman
There are dozens of platforms that are discussing women’s rights this week.
In today’s world, it appears as though history doesn’t just repeat itself, but it regresses with a vengeance.
Iowa just passed the most restrictive abortion bill to date, and it is terrifyingly likely that Governor Kim Reynolds will sign it into law.
This bill will ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and keep in mind that most women don’t know they are pregnant until four to seven weeks after conception.
That means that this bill will practically stop the majority of women from having legal, safe abortions.
This doesn’t even begin to recognize the tremendous difficulty that comes with choosing whether or not to have a child.
But this bill removes a woman’s right to really think about what she wants.
In a lot of cases, it will give her a week at most to make an incredibly overwhelming choice.
But I suppose that’s the point, to prevent her from having said choice.
This bill is a direct attack on Roe v Wade and on the well-being and freedoms of women.
Let’s be perfectly clear, access to a safe abortion is being taken away, but abortions are going to happen one way or the other.
As I sat in my living room and read the news, I thought of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958).
It is a British novel written when abortions were still illegal prior to the Abortion Act of 1967, which legalized the practice in the United Kingdom.
There is a character in the story, Brenda who ends up terminating her pregnancy by sitting in boiling water and drinking an entire bottle of gin.
I read this book during my semester abroad in London, and couldn’t help but scoff at how crazy it is that this character had to do something like this instead of receiving medical help.
But this wasn’t just a plot line in a novel, this really happened to women.
Pro-life advocates would argue that she should have brought the pregnancy to term.
But what they wont tell you, is that as soon as that child is born it really doesn’t matter to them what its quality of life will be.
I know that’s a biting accusation, but lets specify that statement with some statistics.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 16.9 million women lived in poverty in 2015.
Now, let’s look at the children: “14.5 million kids lived in poverty in 2015”, and guess what, 1 in 3 single mother families lived in poverty in 2015.
So now that we have focused in on the issue, let’s back up to this bill today.
Anti-abortionists think terminating pregnancy is immoral, but somehow, an inability for women to care for a child doesn’t influence the debate at all.
Those are the numbers with legal abortions, do we really want to see what happens if this bill passes?
This is a law for Iowa, so let’s just look at their numbers.
The Iowa Data Center published that in 2016, 36.6 percent of single women with children under the age of 18 live below the poverty line, and that their median annual income sits around $26,532.
The average child in a lower class home costs $12,350.
So every year, a single mother is allotted $14,182 to spend on astronomically high health insurance costs, rent, food, clothes, transportation, etc.
And that is if she only has one child.
This is not a bill fighting for human rights and morals, if it were the solution would be clear, give women free and safe access to birth control, pay them more, and let them decide for themselves if they want to have a child.
Brenda, in Sillitoe’s novel takes dangerous measures to save herself and a future child from a life ridden with problems, and millions of women without access to safe abortions could die every year because they are trying to save two individuals from a horrible life and are not given access to medical abortions.
A life matters, we can all agree on that, but we need to reach a consensus on the part of the word ‘life’ we are protecting here.
Measuring life by a heartbeat causes millions of children in one of the largest economies in the world to go starving on a daily basis.
Measuring life based on a family’s ability to provide for everyone in a healthy and livable way determines whether or not we are a country of immense struggle, or one with a unified ideal to give each American a decent quality of living.
So let’s do like Brenda and toss this bill in some boiling water and drink a bottle of gin to forget that there are people out there who care more about a fetus than a walking, talking child.
Cover Photo Credit: Steve Rainwater