Janet Porter wants me to die

That’s the message she rallied her supporters to send to the Ohio legislature today. And Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Mike Huckabee all agree with her.

Trigger Warning: difficult pregnancy, death

I used to live in Ohio. If I were still there, this bill would scare me out of my wits. I have a disability which means that trying to carry a pregnancy to term would kill me, probably long before a fetus became viable outside the womb. As a result, I did the smart thing: I had my tubes tied.

Tubal ligation is the most reliable form of contraception available for women, but it’s still not perfect. There’s a minute chance that I could get pregnant. If I do, with my tubes tied, it will be an ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancies are a medical emergency; they cannot be carried to term. The only treatment is to end the pregnancy, medically if possible, surgically if necessary. If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy will cause the woman to have severe internal bleeding. She will likely die.

I would likely die – because Porter’s “heartbeat bill” and the “personhood amendments” would make it illegal to treat ectopic pregnancies, as well as ban in vitro fertilization and certain kinds of birth control. When Porter and the politicians who support her argue for these pieces of legislating, they are arguing that if I, or any other woman, ends up in that situation, she should be left to die.

This is worse than the occasional audience member yelling “Let him die!” when the Republican debate turned to the topic of helping the uninsured. That’s bad enough, but this is worse. This isn’t just about not providing financial support. This is about making it a criminal act to give me the necessary health care to save my life.

Don’t be fooled by the slick language and the “heartbeat” schlock. If this bill passes it will not only be a tremendous setback for women’s rights, it will put women’s lives in danger. Maybe your mother’s, maybe your sister’s, maybe your daughter’s. Maybe yours. Definitely mine.

NARAL was right when they called on politicians to “stop the war on women” by supporting Planned Parenthood earlier this year. This is another front in the same war, a war I was conscripted into when I was born, by virtue of having a uterus and a disability. Janet Porter and her supporters want to strip away the little bit of protection that modern medicine has been able to devise to keep this accidental confluence from killing me. If they do, by the vagaries of chance, I still might dodge that bullet. But not everyone will.

By the way, Janet Porter is in with the Christian Dominionists up to her eyeballs. So when they talk about praying for a “culture of life” in the US (a dogwhistle for outlawing abortion and probably most birth control), they’re talking about wanting to let me die. My opposition to Christian Dominionists isn’t just religious: it’s about protecting my own life and the lives of others. When these folks have support from and influence with several of the contenders for the Republican nomination for president, I can’t sit back and ignore them any more.

About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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4 Responses to Janet Porter wants me to die

  1. inquisitiveraven says:

    *sigh* So has anyone explained to these nimnuls that with an ectopic pregnancy the baby ain’t gonna survive no matter what you do? Not that it matters I suppose. It’s yet another case of punishing the women.

    • Literata says:

      If they think about it at all, I think they might want me to just pray that I’m the one-in-however-many-zillion whose extra-uterine pregnancy survives. Yes, there’s two or three cases of that in the medical journals. They’re in the journals for a reason. (Note that although these do exist, they’re not ectopic pregnancies like what I would have.) Asking women to hope and pray for that while they die is approximately equivalent to telling people that they shouldn’t treat their HIV or get rabies shots after being bitten by a foaming-at-the-mouth wild animal. Yup, there are cases of people surviving those without the primary treatment as well. All handful of them in the entire world. I don’t feel that lucky, and I’m not counting on their god to fix it for me. Sorry, I wanted to address that in the post, but it would have been such a long diversion that I decided to skip it.

      This is why I want to get my story out there – this isn’t about me selfishly deciding not to delay treatment for cancer or whatever. This can’t be reframed in a way that centers on a future baby, because an ectopic pregnancy never develops into a baby, even if there is a beating heart for a while. The forced-birthers are very, very good at erasing women from their own stories by reframing that way. This one they can’t, so they basically ignore it.

      So, yeah, pretty much it’s “Sucks to be you. Go pray about it.”

  2. robotxorange says:

    Would you happen to have a link somewhere that shows the specifics of this ‘heartbeat bill’? I’m having trouble finding information on it, even from the conservative websites supporting.

    Thanks.

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