There are days when they are so many topics that I want to write about, my head feels like there is a swarm of bees buzzing around inside it, never settling on one idea, but travelling from one to another in an unchoreographed frenzy.
It’s 2019 and there are still so many injustices and atrocities in the world. I look around at my surroundings on a beautiful, sunny day in May and all I want to do is enjoy it. Yet I can’t fully relax because I know, and I feel in every fibre of my being that I have to do something, no matter how big or how small, to help make positive change in the world, even if the only thing I can do at the moment is to bring awareness to some of the things happening that many may not be aware of.
At the this moment, the topic I want to discuss is the proposed abortion bans and very strict bills that are being passed in some states. Whether you approve of abortion or not, I want you to understand that “Heartbeat Bill” and other bills like it do not simply ban abortions. There is much more to them than that. Each state is a bit different but here are some very important things to note.
1- abortions will be banned after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
To help you understand why this is frustrating for women I will explain to you how pregnancy and gestation is calculated. When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she is usually a week or two late on her period. Her doctor will ask her when the first day of her last period was. Let’s say it was May first, for example and she finds out she is pregnant after being about a week late for her next period (June 8, in this example) so technically that would make her 5 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The reality is that she probably didn’t conceive until midway during her cycle, which is when women are most fertile, which would have been approximately two weeks before her expected period.
If you’re confused by this, what I am trying to explain is that gestation is counted from before the moment you actually conceived! It’s counted from the first day of you last period (and you’re obviously not pregnant during your period), so when they say abortion is banned after 6 weeks of pregnancy, really a woman has only had the embryo inside of her for 2-3 weeks.
2- you may not realize it, but many pregnancies self terminate (miscarry) because the body can detect when there is something not quite right about the pregnancy or sometimes, the pregnancy just doesn’t take. Under this bill, women who miscarry will be subject to criminal investigation to determine whether the woman is at fault in some way for the miscarriage. For example, if she didn’t know she was pregnant and she attended a family gathering and happened to enjoy a couple of alcoholic beverages, and a court determines that that was the cause of her miscarriage, she could be charged with second degree murder and go to jail!
3- there are no exceptions to the abortion ban even if a women (or girl as young as 11 or 12) has been raped, coerced, has been subjected to incest or is in danger of losing her own life from carrying a pregnancy to term. This includes itellectually disabled women who may have been raped or taken advantage of as well.
4- any birth control that prevents a fertilized embryo from implanting in the uterus will be considered an abortion and will also be banned. This includes birth control pills and IUD’s
5- if a woman attempts or is suspected to be attempting to leave her state to obtain a legal abortion elsewhere, she will be charged with conspiracy to commit murder and so will anyone who tries to help her. Anyone involved in the planning of the trip will also face jail time.
6- if a woman is raped and takes her rapist to court but can’t prove that he raped her, not only will he walk free but she with then be charged with falsely accusing him and possibly face jail time
7- women who are raped and are forced to carry their rapists child can be sued by their rapist for custody and child support!
8- if a woman has a life threatening ectopic pregnancy (which is when the embryo implants in the falopian tube instead of making its way to the uterus) she still cannot have an abortion. Instead she will be expected to have an operation to move the embryo to her uterus and carry on the pregnancy anyway. I do not know the stats on the success rate of such an operation but I can’t imagine they’re very high.
9- women who go to urgent care will not be treated for their emergency until a pregnancy test is done. If she is found to be pregnant, the doctor will decide on whether or not to treat her based on how it will affect the fetus. For example, if I were in a car accident with my husband, he would be treated for his injuries immediately while I was forced to wait until the pregnancy test results came in. These are precious moments that could be the difference between me living or dying.
These points are very unsettling to me. If these laws were in place in my province, myself and many women I know would be in jail right now.
Is this the beginning of Gilead?