Skip to content

Age isn’t just a number when you’re a fetus

March 1, 2011


It's a pro-life Christian calling. Are you home to take her call?

At the risk of sounding insensitive about a difficult subject, I find the current attempt to eliminate women’s rights to an abortion entirely misguided and downright evil. Based on the desperate hope of right-wing Christians pushing their pro-life agenda, the latest manipulative tool is the power of the human heartbeat. Apparently, if only you could hear a fetal heartbeat, you’d change your mind and decide against abortion.

I would have to write from now until tomorrow to explain all the reasons why this isn’t realistic, but pro-life right-wing Christians won’t be listening. They won’t hear me any more than they believe we won’t hear fetuses’ heartbeats, because right wing Christians all have medical insurance, socks that match their underwear, a husband who pays the bills, and a house in the burbs, where everyone is happy and no one ever raises their voice, except to call Jimmy and Sally in to dinner. Their surety that their way is best is what allows them to judge everyone else, but they don’t see it that way, cause planks of wood in your eye tend to obscure your vision.

Reality for most women: raising this kid on her own

Tomorrow in Ohio, “The Heartbeat Bill,” with pathos intended to prevent as many abortions as possible, goes before their House of Representatives for review. It’s endorsed by over half their legislature, which isn’t as interesting to me as the fact that these same representatives are going to be sitting there, in chambers, listening to the testimony of two witnesses, neither of whom can sit up on their own yet: fetuses.

Their tiny little heartbeats will be used to prove that the fetus is old enough to be considered alive, which will probably be nice for their mothers to know. The fetuses, presumably, don’t want to be aborted, and their mothers probably don’t want them to be, either, since they’re bringing them to court and all. They’re there to speak up for 9 week-and-older fetuses everywhere:

For the first time in a committee hearing, legislators will be able to see and hear the beating heart of a baby in the womb. Two in-utero babies will appear live before the committee by an ultrasound projector which is able to not only show that baby’s moving arms and legs, but also display–in color–the baby’s beating heart. “When passed, the Heartbeat Bill will insure that once that heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected,” said Janet (Folger) Porter, President of Faith2Action, and former Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life, where she helped pass the nation’s first ban on Partial Birth Abortion. —

It seems that if you’re a fetus nowadays, how old you are is pretty significant, since your age can determine whether or not anyone listens to you or takes your plight seriously. I have complete empathy with fetuses, since when you’re aging, it can be just as hard to be taken seriously. Aging women seem to be underrepresented, just like fetuses. Who knew we had so much in common?

If you give in to the pathos of the fetal heartbeat, better make sure there's a real family to back you up

Age isn’t just a number, not if where you are in the life cycle determines whether you’re taken seriously or not. Aging women, just like fetuses, have the devil of a time being heard, since rights depend very much on someone else’s will determining our outcome. Age has very real material and political consequences, and even though I don’t agree with right-to-life proponents, I feel for fetuses. Just not enough to change my politics.

There are too many young women who are being forced to have children they don’t really want due to social pressure, and that’s on an easy day. On a hard day, a young girl gives up part of her childhood to do this; on a bad day, a girl has been raped, and on a really bad day, a young girl has been raped by someone she knows, like a deranged family member.

Yes, fetuses have heartbeats, yes, they’re alive. They have a fluttery little heartbeat very early on, at approximately 2 weeks. But think about this “fetal heartbeat” plea carefully. It could be the future of the loss of women’s rights in this country, since it’s damned difficult to ignore a baby’s cry before it’s even born. It’s not possible to ignore it once it has been born, and my hope is that if you’re going to insist we all start having every child we become pregnant with, you’d better have some way to support these children, wanted or not. This will require improved social services. Who’s paying for these services?

This stuff makes me feel even older than I did before I got started writing it. If my knees worked, I’d be protesting on my feet, but I don’t live in Ohio, thank God, so they won’t be seeing me in front of any legislative building tomorrow. I sure hope somebody will be out there, though, standing up for the rights of everyone else involved in this sad story—the rest of the women in the country who don’t want to be mothers, not now, and maybe not ever. Surely that one choice can still be ours? Can anyone hear me, an old lady who still has a heartbeat?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Terrance H. permalink
    March 2, 2011 6:38 AM

    How utterly preposterous that an individual who supports the murder of unborn children proposes to explain to us knuckle-draggers what is and what is not evil.

    You thoughts aren’t worth the free blog they appear on.

    Get an education, would ya? Stop being so ignorant.

    • March 2, 2011 9:23 AM

      Your screen name includes the word ‘libertarian’ in it: “American Libertarian”. What, precisely, does the word ‘libertarian’ mean to you? The philosophy underlying libertarianism implies free will. That tends to mean that you believe that people should have options. Options imply choice. But you also say you’re a conservative, so I’m confused, and perhaps you are too? It’s my understanding, however, that conservatives don’t like spending money on social services. So when you decide if you’re a libertarian or a conservative, perhaps you’ll know what it is you’re willing to pay for.

  2. March 2, 2011 9:56 AM

    I thought Ron had gone to the big ranch in the sky! But, boy, isn’t he making a big comeback. Gov Scott Walker, I am looking at you . . .

    What is also so irritating about getting older, and you have many fine points to make on this subject, is that no matter how far we think we have come, regardless of what progress has been made, the argument for “family values” continues to provide a cloak of cover for the truly wretched.

    • March 2, 2011 10:29 AM

      I just wish “family values” meant the same thing for disadvantaged, underage poor girls, that it does for those who have everything they need and want. “Family values” is a utopian vision, but you can understand the appeal of reverting to a 50s-era morality. Our idea of the 50s makes their lives look so simple, when ours are so complex. The problem is that the 50s begat the 60s, and the emergence of feminism, development of the birth control pill, and divorce all followed in its wake. Those things didn’t come about because the 50s made people happy, they came about because people wanted more choices, not to live their lives in the boxes the 50s forced you into. The pill, the women’s rights movement, the rise of divorce, all were a reaction to the social strictures of the Post-WWII era. Then you add America’s reaction to the war in Viet Nam, continually burgeoning options for women in the workplace, and other rifts and changes in expectations about women’s roles, and hey presto, you get to abortion rights.

      As for Reagan, he will, apparently, never fade away, even though I checked every day on C-SPAN after he was laid to rest at the Capitol Rotunda, and sure enough, yep, he was dead. It would be nice if he’d stay that way.

  3. March 2, 2011 11:22 AM

    You mean the 60’s was the popping of the pussiest pimple that was the 50’s??? Judging from my own family, I wondered for years at what must have been in the water supply at that time in the 50’s. My mother was pregnant at her wedding (’49) and with one unplanned pregnancy after another, and rolling post-natal depression, we were one big happy Catholic family! Offering it up and smiling, of sorts, for the camera! Every photo of my mother you can see the fear in her eyes, they never smiled.

    As for Newt Gingrich (born 1943), I am about to get started on him. Some people just have no shame and rumours have it that he is thinking of running in 2012! Make for an interesting campaign if nothing else.

    • March 2, 2011 11:41 AM

      It’s awfully hard to kill off the fantasy of the 50s and the ideal of the perfect family, but people forget that the 50s were a response to world war. My dad was a Marine veteran of WWII, who fought on Okinawa. He begat 4 children, and adopted me when he married my mother; a second marriage for both. The 50s had its own problems, and it’s important that we not forget them.

      I’d sure like for us to get away from hiring a new president every four years. It’s time for a new paradigm, one that is not based on the model of antiquated monarchy and its assumption of Divine Right to Rule.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: