Keiko Zoll, an infertility advocate, recently blogged about women’s rights and what’s going on in our country right now. Basically the government is trying to govern what we do with our bodies and while legislation is predominantly related to anti-abortion, they are rolling in a bunch of other crazy stuff that would affect women’s basic reproductive rights and affect those undergoing infertility treatments.
Example #1 – Banning contraception and your freedom to decide what to with your embryos in Iowa
For example, in Iowa, HF 153 not only threatens the reproductive rights of women, it also thwarts the ability of those who suffer from infertility to seek treatment appropriate for their disease. A few things this bill would do: 1. ban the birth control pill and 2. define abortion from the moment of conception, thus denying parents the freedom to decide what happens to their embryos.
This lovely little gem seeks to define that life begins at conception thus rendering abortion illegal in the state of Iowa. Why does this matter to infertility patients? Oh, you were able to fertilize all 8 of your eggs for your IVF cycle? Congrats! Oh, some of them weren’t so high grade and aren’t worth saving? Tough cookies, it’s now illegal to dispose of them. I’ve seen so many of your beautiful blasties out there and it’s kind of awesome (in the truest sense of the word) to know that those little blasties are your future children – but calling it murder to get rid of them? Come on. And yet amazingly, HF 153 actually passed an Iowa House subcomittee. What boggles the mind: the bill was authored by Rep. Kim Pearson (R-IA). Kim: you’ve got lady bits. Use your head, woman! Even the ASRM and SART said enough was enough, and issued a public letter in opposition of the bill to Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen.
Example #2 – Miscarriages as felonies in Georgia and Utah?
I almost lost it when I read this.
In Georgia, House Republican Bobby Franklin proposed a bill, H1, that would essentially make it necessary for a woman to prove her miscarriage was from natural causes or else face felony charges? Are you freaking kidding me? Investigating miscarriages? What a ignorant misogynist! How can this be happening? After going through the undescribable heartache of a miscarriage, that is the last thing that grieving parents need to do. Also, I wish I had a REASON for my repeated miscarriages, you heartless jerk, but I don’t!!!!! My doctors have no idea.
And, a similar bill was passed by the Utah House and Senate this week and is currently pending the governor’s signature. It basically makes any sort of “induced” miscarriage a crime. Ok, I get that, but their definition of induced could mean falling down the steps by accident. THIS IS INSANE!!!! If you are in Utah, please call or email Gov. Gary Herbert to express your outrage. [Learn more here.]
Example #3 – House vote to defund Planned Parenthood
The House voted on 2/18/11 to defund Planned Parenthood. This is much more than just about abortion rights: now we’re just talking about restricting access to basic reproductive care. Planned Parenthood does a lot more than abortions: they provide routine pap smears, access to birth control and emergency contraception, and routine care for STDs. By taking away these services, these women now have an increased risk of infertility because they won’t be able to access the reproductive care they need. [Go here to lend support.]
Example #4 – Attempt to ban surrogacy in Maryland?
In Maryland, HB 120/SB 71 would create a Commission to study the medical practice of surrogacy and gestational carriers. While normally this would be good, this Commission would not necessarily include stakeholders who understand the value of surrogacy to people with infertility, including women who battled cervical or uterine cancer when they were younger. Finally, one of the sponsors of the bill has publicly stated her intention to use the Commission to ban surrogacy in Maryland.
As Keiko says:
We, as an infertility community, need to care about anti-abortion legislation, regardless of our own personal views. This is why we need to act, to speak up, to speak out, tell our neighbors, our friends, our families and most importantly: the people who govern, as most of them do not have uteruses (uterii?), but have an awful lot to say about what goes on in them.
Amen, sister! There’s lots of stuff happening right now. Make sure you are aware of what our legislators are deciding for us. Share this news, post it to Facebook, write to your congressmen.
Stand up for yourself! Stand up for other women!