Let’s play a game.
What do the following words have in common?
Cow. Pig. Woman. Sheep. Goat.
If you said mammals, then I guess I have to give you partial credit for knowing basic biology. But according to Georgia state Rep. Terry England, the correct answer is that all of the above choices should be forced to carry a stillborn fetus until the body decides to remove it naturally.
Not the connection you were expecting? Me neither.
England’s remarks went even further while he was stating his support for HB 954, a controversial bill that makes it illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks — shortened from 26 weeks — even if she knows she is carrying a stillborn fetus.
“Life gives us many experiences … I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it,” England said as he addressed the chamber. By the way, his remarks were quoted widely and are also available in his own voice on YouTube.
Besides the demeaning comparisons of females to livestock in England’s speech, the proposal is just downright dangerous mentally and physically for the mother.
The issue here is not whether abortion is right or wrong. (Trust me, that’s not an argument I want to touch.) It’s why the sudden rise in anti- women’s health legislation that is regressive at best and controlling at worst.
Georgia’s proposed bill is not an isolated incident. Take Arizona’s HB 2625, a bill that would give employers the same rights as churches and faith-based organizations to refuse to allow coverage of prescribed contraceptives on their health insurance plans. Try Tennessee’s latest piece of legislation, HB 3808, which requires the publication of abortion data.
Arizona’s bill may cross a line on government infringement, but it’s Tennessee’s bill that reminds me a bit of a certain book from AP English, “The Scarlet Letter,” in which a woman was forced to wear a red “A” on her chest after having a baby out of wedlock. By releasing the information of women who get an abortion, prior to an amendment, county-by-county, the bill is essentially branding these women with a methaphoric “A” by using public knowledge as a detertent.
When a government demands the publication of private data like age, race, education and prior abortion history, that’s more than just pushing limits. It’s downright scary.
So why are so many state governments attempting to exert control over the female body? Fear? Anger? Power grab? “Mommy issues?” Your guess is as good as mine.
This attempt to turn back the clock on women’s rights, at least in legislation, has taken a turn for the worst. Multiple proposed bills in multiple states is not a coincidence, it’s a trend.
A trend that personally, I would like to see end.
When bills propose subjecting women to medically dangerous situations and possible “abortion shaming,” society loses its civilized traits.
As a country that prides itself on “freedom of choice,” these bills are preventing that freedom for the women it would affect. But why would that matter if a woman’s life is valued no more than a cow’s.
Hypocritcally, those same men that sponsored the proposed legislation have no limitations that affect what they can lawfully do to their body in a medical situation. Those same men can purchase Viagra without being socially ostracized. Because you know, that seems completely fair.
Let’s hope that the barnyard is more receptive and appreciative of England’s efforts since this legislation is fit for one place: the slop pail.
Managing Editor Autumn Allison is a sophomore journalism major.