I’m still in shock. I don’t know why I should be, but I am. When I heard that Roe v Wade was overturned today, I immediately wanted to go protest, somewhere, anywhere.
For years, I have been mystified by the idea of “separation of church and state” because in my lifetime, I do not think it has existed.
We go to churches to cast our votes. Religion is brought into marriage and to our bedrooms. And now, the men who run this country have brought it to our vaginas, hiding it under the guise of “not protected under our constitution.”
I’m no scholar, but I do know that the constitution guarantees our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And if I get pregnant with a child that I did not plan to have or did not want, it infringes on all of those rights if I am forced to have said child. It changes my life forever, it takes away any liberty I had to decide my own future and my own fate, and it can forever take away my happiness. And that goes for anyone put in a situation to be forced to have a child.
I understand that there is a whole group of people who hold on to their bibles and their beliefs until their knuckles are white, but where is the separation of church and state in this matter?
I get it that there is the religious and moral “dilemma” of when a ball of cells becomes a “person,” but I also know what it was like to have a baby at 17 and then again at 18. I know what it was like crying myself to sleep at night because I couldn’t afford to live like a decent human. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to empty the dozen mouse traps I was listening to click, click, click, their way through my slumlord run apartment and dumping the bodies out my hallway window to the cats below waiting outside for a warm meal. I remember trying to give my kids Christmas by ordering them a computer from Rent-A-Center because it was all I could afford. A little $35 down payment for a gift they would cherish. I remember my kids crying a few months later when they came to take the Christmas present away that Santa got them because I couldn’t afford it. I remember heating water up on a stove to bathe my kids because the water heater was electric and my power was off. And that all happened in the same year, there were many just like before that year and after.
And I chose that. I chose that; not knowing how hard it would be. I chose that; determined to be a better mother than my mother was. I chose that; until I ended up pregnant again quite a few years later and decided I couldn’t do it again. I couldn’t have another baby. I couldn’t keep struggling. Yes, I knew what was causing the pregnancies, but so did the man who knocked me up. And for some reason, the state I lived in was not able to give me an abortion. So as poor as I already was, I had to figure out who would watch my kids, how I would pay for gas to cross the border to New York, how I would get the money to get an abortion, how I would get to New York since I didn’t even own a car and the city bus probably wasn’t going to get me that far. A young girl in her early 20’s, scared, poor, alone, pregnant, without enough money to even be sedated during the procedure, laying on the cold table, naked from the waist down, feeling the suction between my legs, not knowing if I would regret it or not, but knowing I couldn’t have another baby.
And I know that is not my story alone. So many women who have kids or don’t will be forced to have them despite their health, despite the health of the baby, whether they want to or not. And it makes me angry. Angry that in a country that is supposed to be “free” that freedoms keep being taken away, especially from women. Male sterilization seems like a simpler answer, but men will not give up their “masculinity.” And I see no funds being set up to help women who are forced to have these babies to help take care of them. Is she supposed to rely on the state? I highly doubt the state that forced her into motherhood will be supporting her through motherhood the next 18 years. They probably won’t even help with her schooling or forgive her student loan debt. Instead she will be burdened with an extra $13,000 a year debt to raise a child that she cannot afford and nobody is coming to help her.
“Give it up for adoption,” they say, but that’s easier said than done once you feel a baby growing inside you, once you bond with the baby, once you go through the pain of having a baby. After you’ve done all the work for 9 months, giving it up is harder than feeling it being sucked out of you at 6 weeks.
I don’t care what the religious folk think about when a “baby” becomes a “baby” or when a ball of cells gets a soul. What I care about is the fact that we are allowing the bible to write our laws for us. We are using words that might as well be written by Stephen King, a long book of fiction, to decide what women can and cannot do with our bodies. And what happens when they start patrolling borders to decide if women are allowed to cross into states where abortion is legal? Will they be giving pregnancy tests at the border? Will we have to have our “husbands” permission to cross state lines alone if we are pregnant? Where does it end if we allow it to start?
I know they used the Constitution for their “logic” but I think we all know they are really using the bible and their own “moral” compass, even though most politicians, especially those with a penis don’t actually HAVE a moral compass. Their compass is more like “love your neighbor, just don’t get caught.”
It’s not actually anybody’s business but the woman’s whose body is in question whether a baby is the end product or not. I don’t know why we, as Americans, think we have any right to decide what other people do. What you do is between you and your God. And what I do is between me and mine.
Maybe Margaret Atwood wasn’t so far off.