It’s Mother’s Day…and I Have Thoughts
Three years ago today, our son and his wife suggested a Mother’s Day Skype call. It was a lovely treat, with our son sending us (on my phone) selected photos from their recent trip to Japan. The fifth photo he sent me was not Japan at all. It was a sonogram. It was their clever way of telling us that we were to become grandparents for the first time. The Skype call made it possible for them to watch me gape wordlessly (“largemouth bass” would be an appropriate image) at the completely unexpected image. ‘Unexpected’ because they had not shared their procreation plans with us and we had not asked because of course it was None of Our Damn Business.
We now have a glorious two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter and we are so grateful. But here’s the thing: it turned out to be a high-risk pregnancy for our daughter-in-law. Hidden health issues were revealed that will never go away. A second pregnancy could be life-threatening for her. Would I trade away a potential second grandchild to save the mother of my first? In a heartbeat, I would.
Of course, it wouldn’t be my call. It would be — should be — a decision made by the only people directly involved (and their medical advisor). What sort of monster believes that someone else — particularly a legislature or governor — should at all be a part of such a decision?
It’s hard to believe that anyone has truly thought through the horrific implications of such an intrusion into women’s lives and women’s autonomy. How it poisons the relationship between women and their healthcare providers. How it turns women from human beings into… mere incubation vessels. How clearly it declares that their lives don’t matter.
I chose to become a mother. I chose it three times, and only three times. [And even then, my employer complained about my “poor timing” for the third child and my maternity leave was a barbaric two weeks (I was a college instructor at the time).]
That anyone would have denied me any of the choices I made for myself and for my family was unimaginable to me. And yet here we are. Staring at the unimaginable.
What’s the point of claiming sanctity for an embryo while completely disregarding the sanctity of the actual lives of actual people?
Here’s a Thought Experiment for you: what if your state (that bastion of democracy) took the opposite tack? What if they decided that children with any genetic anomaly or disability were too big a drain on the economy? What if they decided it was too expensive to make tools and sporting equipment for left-handed people? What if [fill in the blank with Someone’s Version of Unwanted: black, white, brown, colorblind, male, female, possibly gay, possibly trans, possibly whatever]? What if women carrying any of those potential people were required to abort? What if your Choice to carry-and-deliver-and-raise was taken from you? Would you be willing to defer to the State then?
Because once we make it okay to deprive some Americans of a right, we make it okay to deprive all Americans of a right. Any right. All rights.
Don’t forget: If they’ll do it for you, they’ll do it to you.
And when they come for you and the rights you now think you have? Well, maybe by then they won’t even be pretending to care about life.