Today I turn 53 years old. I do not want to celebrate. I will politely thank the people who post their kind wishes on my Facebook wall, but I will not have a “great day.”
This birthday, I and my siblings and my friends and my children and their partners/future partners and potential future grandchildren face fewer rights and more danger than what has been the case in this country for the past 50 years.
My head is still swimming. I alternate between rage and more rage. There is so much harm from medical misinformation regarding “abortion.” It is difficult to know where to start. But I will start.
In many states, women have completely lost their rights to privacy and bodily autonomy.
Women will die.
Doctors’ jobs of saving the lives of their patients have been criminalized. Women are already being denied appropriate, life-saving medical care. Sepsis kills. A miscarriage in process but not completed is a set-up for life-threatening infection. Doctors now have to wait and watch until fetal cardiac activity ceases or the mother has already gone into shock (and has a far smaller chance of survival) to do what needs to be done.
Women will be forced to bring to term, deliver, and watch the prolonged suffocation deaths of their children with horrible chromosomal and other congenital defects – they will be forced to allow the brain of the fetus to develop maximally so that it will have the greatest ability to suffer as it is born and dies over hours or days or weeks due to lethally underformed lungs.
Couples will be denied fertility treatment. In vitro fertilization (IVF) will no longer be an option.
Women who are pregnant when they are diagnosed with hormone-sensitive cancers will be forced to allow those cancers to grow and take hold and spread.
Couples who are carriers of lethal genetic diseases will not have the choice to do IVF and implant embryos without the lethal diseases. They will have the choice only of not having children or of risking the intolerable.
Those impregnated with twins who develop twin-twin transfusions will be unable to choose to save one. They will both be condemned to death.
Women who have miscarriages have already been investigated and charged. There will be more of this.
The religious zealotry of the few is being imposed on those who do not share in that empowered minority’s beliefs. Politicians who have no idea what they’re talking about are forcing their medically ignorant, religiously-based lay-opinions on others.
That the intrusion into privacy, that intrusion into a doctor’s office, that intrusion into the health and well-being of others trying to make the best decisions possible for themselves and their families in unthinkable situations, is infuriating and unconscionable.
And even if the act is illegal, as my eldest has pointed out, rape is now, in effect, in several states, a legitimate means to reproduction.
Yes, there are states that protect against this. But many are working their hardest to make their states as intrusive and controlling and harmful to women as possible. And there are folks openly working to make this hateful, harmful, intrusive, controlling repression national policy.
It is not a “happy birthday.”
My college roommate knew not to wish me a “wonderful day.” Instead, she hoped that I would be surrounded by people I love and that I could enjoy the beautiful weather. I am indeed surrounded by people I love, and I appreciate the blue sky, cooler temperature, and gentle breeze.
I will absorb the energy of that love, of that sunshine, and of that wind, and I will let it fuel me as I fight alongside the vast sea of others for my own basic rights and the basic rights of the people in every state in our great nation.
Today I do not want to celebrate, but I will use the symbolism of today to vow to make my presence on this planet a presence that makes this world a better place.