For example, consider stigmas related to pregnancy.
In 2014 America, families and communities still shame the woman, not the man, for getting pregnant and giving birth to “a bastard.” The father is rarely held legally responsible for the “bastard’s” care. Existing laws, if enforced, do require the biological father to pay child support in certain circumstances. However, with DNA and paternity tests now available, laws should include provisions requiring pregnant women to receive financial assistance from the father of the child, unborn or born, and legal penalties associated with non-compliant fathers.
Consider violence associated with pregnancy.
In 2014 America, homicide committed by boyfriends and husbands is the leading cause of death among pregnant women. Known as Femicide, NIH claims maternal mortality rates are often unreported (and therefore underreported).
More than half of all abortions are coerced by parents, employers, boyfriends, or husbands. Women are beaten, injected with cocaine and antifreeze, or pushed down stairs to miscarry. Others are gagged, raped, stabbed, held at gunpoint, or pinned down why their assailant uses an instrument or his hands to literally grab the baby out of the uterus.
Sadly, pregnant minors aren’t being protected. Little girls (as young as eleven) who have had abortions at Planned Parenthood facilities have been endangered by its employees who chose not to notify law enforcement about the girls’ sexual abuse or rape. Instead, the children are given birth control and released to their predators.
Evasion tactics also ignore pregnancy-related suicide and death; consider abortion-related psychological risks. Studies published by numerous medical journals suggest that women who’ve had abortions are more likely to suffer grief, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, poor bonding with and parenting of later children, and psychiatric hospitalization. In fact, the suicide rate among women who have had abortions is nearly three times higher than women who have given birth. Studies have also found maternal deaths are higher among women who have had abortions.
The CDC claims it is “investigating” abortion-related maternal deaths. However, acquiring accurate data may prove impossible for several reasons. Medicaid no longer covers abortions in 35 states (thus eliminating required state data reporting). No uniform abortion reporting method or law exists among all 50 states, and not all states collect data or provide reports (i.e. New Hampshire and Maryland collect no abortion data at all). Likewise, any reports provided by freestanding clinics (that perform the majority of abortions) are voluntary, limited, incomplete, and untimely. As a result, any nation-wide abortion-related data is inconclusive.
Finally, evasion tactics ignore perhaps the most harmful reality of all—the lucrative business of dehumanization. Consider the “reproductive tourism enterprise,” otherwise known as the unregulated $4 billion fertility (“assisted reproduction”) industry.
An entire medical and scientific community is manufacturing children for profit, dehumanizing human rights in the process. Scientists test the most “effective” method to produce a greater volume of babies using “cheaper techniques.” And the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, among others, are seeking to legally dehumanize people through legislation labeling the surrogate mother (“the carrier”), the father (“the sperm donor”), and the child (“the product”). The terminology may sound banal, but it’s quite significant when determining basic human rights.
To date, laws don’t delineate whether or not a sperm donor is a father who can claim a parental right to the child his sperm helped create. Likewise, it’s unclear if the embryo/zygote/fetus created on demand in a test-tube has rights. Studies reveal that IVF babies not only experience “test-tube trauma” but also that “Intracytoplasmatic Sperm Injection” (ICSI) is correlated with Angelmann Syndrome, a severe condition that causes children to move like robots, unable to talk. Indeed, some states are enacting fetal pain laws. Yet, it remains to be determined what rights, if any, “the carrier,” “sperm donor,” or “product” has.
Evasion tactics avoid addressing the dehumanization of choice—especially the consumer’s choice to purchase chromosome gender selection. This option is quite similar to China’s gendercide policy, although it occurs at a different stage of the reproductive process. However, the consequences are profoundly dire. Researchers have proven that China’s policy has not only eliminated an entire generation of girls, but it is detrimentally impacting the entire South-East Asian region, increasing sex and drug trafficking, prostitution, slavery, and numerous other crimes.
Sadly, discussion about reproductive rights is significantly limited to the non-issue of access to sexist and lethal female birth control. But, women do have a terrific opportunity to influence radical change that advances the protection of human rights at all stages of life. This may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but it possible, as each landmine, one by one, is deactivated.