Uterine Justice

Uterine Justice

Adrienne BoettingerThursday,7 April 2016

No, it’s not an idea for a band name (though that would be awesome). Uterine Justice refers to the latest and not-so-greatest attempts to mansplain how us ladies need to be better baby-ovens and stop trying to assert rights to our own bodies based on things like medicine and science.

When I was burgeoning into young womanhood (described in my middle school textbooks as “Becoming a Person”) my dear yet medically ill-informed mother told me that if I used a tampon I would die and possibly go to hell or at least purgatory. Her statement confused more than alarmed me because as she hadn’t really used tampons herself and her other medical beliefs included walking outside in the rain to cure “walking” pneumonia, I figured she might not be totally correct in the “tampon leads to death & damnation” idea.

What a pity state legislators and governors don’t share a healthy respect for having people with actual medical expertise make medical recommendations when it comes to women’s health. I guess that’s because they’re so worried about all the blood in our uteruses taking the blood from our brains and making us less capable of thinking for ourselves. That must be why they ignore things like evidence and medical expertise when shaping laws to restrict a woman’s right to choose to the point where abortion becomes less and less legal, safe, affordable or even possible.

1. Pennsylvanian legislators want to pass some of the most restrictive abortion regulations in the country. They would move the ban on abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks of gestation and prohibit procedures doctors say are safer for women in their second trimester (but anti-abortionists call by the medically inaccurate term of “dismemberment” to vilify women who choose the procedure, claiming the measure will prevent fetuses from feeling pain).

2. In Utah, women seeking abortions after 20 weeks of gestation must give the fetuses anesthesia — also to prevent pain. This is mandated, despite doctors indicating fetuses can’t feel pain until 28 weeks at the earliest and even though anesthesia can make the procedures more dangerous for the women involved.

3. In several states, like Texas and Oklahoma, physicians providing abortions are legally bound to provide the women seeking them with medically inaccurate and false information.

Thankfully women are striking back. To point out the insanity of Indiana’s state laws restricting abortions that can make miscarriages illegal (see my 2015 post, Concealed Miscarry Permit, about the Indiana woman still serving jail time), some feisty Hoosier ladies are putting their trust in the all-knowing gynecological wisdom of the state’s governor, Mike Pence, and Casey Cox, the state rep who authored the latest testosteronic bill dictating uterine laws. Since the law also requires all miscarried fetuses be interred or cremated, and it is very possible for women to miscarry without even knowing they were pregnant, women are calling Governor Pence and Representative Cox with their menstrual statuses to ensure full compliance with the law. It only makes sense since these two elected officials are so concerned with women’s health. They want, no they NEED to know what’s going on in Vah-jay-jay Town when Aunt Flo comes to visit. They want to keep the men in menstruation.

This may be some of the best protesting I’ve heard of since the women who freebled outside of Parliament to protest British lawmakers’ belief that tampons are “luxury” items and should be taxed as such. I guess we should just be grateful asshats like Mike Pence and Casey Cox aren’t as open with their misogyny and idiocy over women’s health issues as Donald Trump is since they don’t want to punish all women who have an abortion…yet.

P.S. Even if your state wasn’t mentioned above, don’t think you’re in the clear. Many insurance policies won’t cover abortions and many hospitals won’t allow them to be performed within their walls (especially a problem for the states that have declared war on medical clinics where abortions had been legally and safely conducted). Check the laws and proposals in your state and if you don’t like them, let your elected officials know.

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Image Credit: Kate Ausburn on Flickr

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