My Uterus is Personal
With a "Personhood" bill almost certain to pass in Oklahoma, I have to say something in defense of my uterus. It doesn't belong to the Oklahoma State Legislature. And my daughters' reproductive body parts don't either.
What do we women have to put up with in order for one male legislator to make a political point? Are we really ready for this legislation to intrude in so many areas of our lives? And in such personal ways?
Years ago, I was pregnant with twins. My husband and I had planned this pregnancy. We were in our late 20s and ready to have a child. In my fourth month, I was on a regular visit to my gynecologist, and she did a routine ultrasound. I could tell by the look on her face that something wasn't right. She left the room as I lay on the table worrying, my heart pounding. Her partner, the doctor who dealt with high risk pregnancies, came in and looked at the ultrasound. I knew that couldn't be good. I was pregnant with twins and there was no heartbeat. I would most certainly have a miscarriage if I continued with the pregnancy and my doctor, being a compassionate person, recommended a D&C (dilation and curettage). If you've ever had a miscarriage (which I have had in a subsequent pregnancy), it isn't pretty. It's not something anyone would choose to go through. My doctor, I'm sure, knew that it would be difficult for me, but she left the decision up to me. I could have the D&C or wait for the inevitable. I went home and thought about it. I discussed it with my husband. I chose the D&C.
Because my hospital of choice was Catholic and, therefore, didn't allow this "abortion" procedure, I had to go to an unfamiliar hospital, adding to an already miserable and heartbreaking experience. I guess, technically, I was having an abortion, even though the pregnancy was not viable. Under the "Personhood" bill, I would probably have had to wait until I miscarried rather than have a D&C. I don't know. A miscarriage is a difficult and emotionally draining experience -- one that the man who wrote this bill will never have. And what about other types of pregnancies that may be life-threatening to a woman? Would women and their doctors be forced to turn away from medically sound practices and risk the life of a woman?
I also think of the heartbreaking desire of couples who desperately want to have a child, but cannot. Invetro Fertilization gives them a chance. The "Personhood" bill would take this opportunity away from Oklahoma couples.
When I was in graduate school, I had a friend who had been repeatedly raped by her own father. Under this bill, would she have been put in jail if a pregnancy had resulted and she wanted to take the "morning after" pill?
What would you do if your daughter were raped? I know what I would do if either of my daughters were raped. Knowing what is involved in going through a pregnancy and delivery, both emotionally and physically, I would not want them to remain pregnant with a rapist's child.
I know there are many people who don't agree with me. That's ok. But what's not ok with me is that a handful of mostly male legislators is making the decision for all the women in Oklahoma.