The attack on women’s rights continues post election for failed Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Yes, just when we hoped he’d “go quietly into that good night” like Mitt Romney, he has resurfaced to co-sponsor yet another personhood bill for fetuses designed to eradicate abortion (his favorite cause) by defining life not as the Bible does (at first breath), but at conception; neither of which is here nor there.
The problem with this bill, The Sanctity of Human Life Act, is that it would essentially endow a rapist the right to sue his victim to prevent an abortion. Since when do we reward a criminal and allow him/her the ability to re-victimize his victim? Further, it seeks to de-legitimize a federally legal medical procedure.
Abortion is a touchy issue and it is by no means an easy decision for any woman to make. Yet her body belongs to her and as host, she should have the right to decide whether or not to reproduce. The reasons why or why not should be between the woman, her doctor, and her God if she so believes. A small group of male legislators should never have a say in this decision as society decided and the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade.
But Paul Ryan thinks he knows better. Paul Ryan and his fellow bill sponsors want to take that decision completely out of the hands of the women it will affect. The bill specifically states “(B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood;”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who introduced the bill, wants to go a step further and declare all women’s unfertilized eggs as “persons” endowing those eggs with the exact same rights and privileges as fully grown humans. Would this mean they might declare a discarded egg at the end of a non-successful menstrual cycle as murder? What about masturbatory ejaculated sperm or premature ejaculation? Is that not the reckless disregard for thousands of potential children? The GOP continued attack on the rights of women for eminent domain over their bodies is incredibly ridiculous, insulting, and an indicating symptom of a much deeper issue; misogyny. Would that they would value the lives of children already living (and wanted) as much as they do an unfertilized egg. Perhaps then we’d have more comprehensive gun control laws already in place.
However, the battle continues for control over reproduction. Women cannot let their guard down. If this bill had any chance of succeeding into law (which it won’t have any chance of getting past the senate and was already defeated once in 2011 when first introduced), women everywhere would begin to truly understand a small portion of what life would be like under theological governing rule much in the same way experienced by our sisters in Middle Eastern countries who virtually have no rights at all.
Rape is a disgusting crime that traumatizes a woman for life. Instead of continuing that trauma through forced retention of an unwanted pregnancy, the GOP should funnel their exuberance into actual helpful legislation to promote education on the subject of rape, provide counseling for women (instead of defunding organizations like Planned Parenthood that do just that), promote self-defense courses for young ladies and women so they can protect themselves, and employ sensitivity training and education for men so we can create a world where these men respect women and get help for their control issues. It wouldn’t hurt to make punishment for the crime of rape far stricter than what it currently is either. We need to change the way society views the crime of rape. As it stands now, the victim is always considered “questionable”, that she “asked for it”. No woman ever asks to be raped. We need to eliminate the sense of shame put upon victims and start treating the criminals as exactly what they are, criminals!
You may think this is a non-issue now, but there is already bad legislation in place in red states that inhibit women from making their own choices regarding ending a pregnancy. Worse, Paul Ryan reportedly has 2016 presidential ambitions. It’s time to act by both making your voice heard to your state representatives, and by voting out those who would chip away at the hard-won rights all women are currently taking for granted.
Rape is never the fault of the victim, and she should not be punished for it.
If you are a victim of rape, there is help to be found in San Antonio. Follow this link to find the closest counseling center near you.
If you are a victim of rape outside of the state of Texas, click here for help.
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M. Gwynn has authored two books, Harvest and The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer on Amazon.com .
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