Yes, you heard me right. I just read that two fetuses were called as witnesses in an Ohio courtroom. It sounds laughable, doesn’t it? I mean, seriously. How can a fetus be a witness?
But this is no laughing matter.
These fetuses little heart beats offered “expert testimony” before the Health Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives last Wednesday. They were shown to legislators in a crowded courtroom via ultrasound projector so everyone could see and hear their beating hearts as testimony for what they are calling “The Heartbeat Bill,” or HB 125.
HB 125, a blatant attempt to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, would ban abortion as soon as a heartbeat could be detected (which usually happens at about 5 ½ weeks of gestation, only 3 ½ weeks after conception actually occurs). Many people don’t even know they’re pregnant at this point, since they may only be a few days late for their period.
This bill is just the latest in a slew of Republican-driven attempts to undermine a woman’s right to choose. I also read about another bill, HR 3 (the “No Taxpayer Paying For Funding Of Abortion” bill) threatens to pull all public funding for abortion, including having Medicaid pay for pregnancy termination (if a woman keeps the baby, however, Medicaid will cover her much more expensive pregnancy.)
The scariest part of HR 3 is that it makes an exception for women who have been forcibly raped. Date rape doesn’t count. Neither does statutory rape, even if you’re twelve and some 25 year old dude knocked you up. But if you’ve been drugged, bound, and held at gunpoint while whipped, you can get your abortion.
Since when did we start redefining rape in such demeaning ways?
What Is Happening to Women’s Rights?
When I read about things like this, I feel sort of lost. In fact, it makes me want to defect and move to Canada. What is the matter with us? Why do we feel the need to question a woman’s right to choose in this way?
If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one. Period. But DO NOT make me live in a country where the government gets to decide whether I keep my baby, even if I’ve been non-forcibly raped. Do not make me live in a country where fetuses are called as witnesses in court. Do not force me to raise my daughter in a society that devalues her, that diminishes her right to make choices about her own body, that wants to control her just because she has a uterus.
I’ve told you before how conflicted I feel about abortion, as an OB/GYN and as a woman. I’ve told you how I’ve made peace with my own values regarding this issue. So I won’t repeat myself.
But suffice it to say that we must, simply MUST, keep the government from making choices about whether a woman must become a mother. Nobody has the right to make that decision but the woman herself. Nobody.
What do you think? Does this rile you up? Do you agree with these bills? How will you vote?
Standing for women everywhere,
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.