Political Opinion by Richard Bleil
Not long ago, a bill was introduced in Ohio requiring eggs from ectopic pregnancies to be transplanted. An ectopic pregnancy is one where the fertilized egg is in the Fallopian tube rather than in the uterus. Such fertilizations do not go to full term (except in very rare instances), and if left untreated is far more likely to cause a very painful death for the mother. Additionally, the technology to transplant the egg does not exist. And yet, the bill was introduced.
More recently, a bill in Pennsylvania was introduced to require full funeral sources for fertilized eggs that do not implant into the uterus. This is another ridiculous and uninformed proposed piece of legislature that is really just as bad. It’s been estimated that about half of the fertilized eggs never implant. Often they dissolve in the body, but even if they don’t they’re washed out of the woman’s body with the uterine lining during the woman’s period. That means that, for this law to be enacted, it would require period effluent to be tested routinely, and should a fertilized egg be found, further Pennsylvania law requires a death certificate for the required burial should this law be passed, and again by Pennsylvania law, an autopsy would be required for each death certificate issued. Yup, this law would require an autopsy on every period effluent of every woman in the state.
If you’re laughing by now, I don’t blame you. But beyond laughably ill-informed actions, there is a serious side to this as well that should concern everybody.
In my opinion, this is an attempt to chip away at women’s rights. It might seem harmless and laughable, but these types of proposals are becoming routine which suggests a larger organized effort.
As late as the 1990’s, women’s rights were severely limited. Women didn’t have the right to legal abortions until Roe v Wade in 1973. What’s more, women could be fired for getting pregnant until 1978.There was no protection from workplace sexual harassment until 1986. It wasn’t until 1994 that the concept of a husband raping his wife wasn’t recognized as a crime. That’s right, in 1993, rape was simply an internal family affair.
Now, I remember the ‘70’s, and if I remember them, you can rest assured that the old white men in positions of elected authority remember them. They likely remember them as the “good old days”, meaning good for white men. What white men really want is a return to the time when they could do nothing wrong. About a month ago, a runner in Georgia slapped a sideline reporter on her posterior as he ran past her. In his mind, this was a “harmless” action, but in reality, he objectified and sexualized her while doing it. After all, he never would have done that to a male reporter. And, here’s a spoiler for everybody who didn’t already know or guess it, yes, the runner was an older white male.
There was a time that white men could do pretty much anything they wanted without reprimand. They didn’t have to compete for jobs with women or people who are not white, they could touch women and make them afraid with inappropriate comments, and they could make jokes based on gender, race, physical challenges, and even hair color without worrying about how it might make others feel. That’s right; absolute authority with no consequences of any kind.
Today, these same white males are struggling to learn the new rules. In principle, they’re pretty simple. Just don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do to a large angry man that could beat the crap out of you. Slap a professional athlete on the ass? You’d better know him well enough to know that he will be okay with you, specifically, doing it. The rule is the same when running past a female reporter. But still, for the first time, many men have to actually start thinking about their actions, and how those actions will impact others.
With so many rights finally achieved by a millennia of struggle and effort in such a short period of time, it’s no wonder that those who enjoyed such extreme liberties are uncomfortable in giving them up. In my personal opinion, legislation targeting womens’ reproductive rights are an attempt to begin to chip away at some of these new rights. It might be a far cry from allowing domestic abuse to be viewed as “family matters” and actions based on race, but it’s a scaling back of rights for one specific demographic, namely, women. It’s really no different than permitting a baker discriminate against sexual orientation. It starts with these groups, but how long until these same legislatures begin to take on the bigger groups?
This is a major election year. It’s time to start actually listening to candidates and looking at their past actions. If you want a return to these days where nobody has rights but white men, well, okay, vote your conscience. I believe in the basic goodness of people that if we all started thinking about what candidates represent our own personal values then we will finally start seeing politicians who actually want to change the social landscape of this great nation.