When I read the headline ‘Some states are trying to force women to have funerals for foetuses’ I had to fight an overpowering urge to break something. It reminded me of another viscerally unpleasant recent media sound bite: Donald Trump talking about “babies” being “ripped” from wombs in the last Presidential Debate. I wanted burn all the things when I heard that one too. The desire to go on a destructive, fiery, feminist rampage over so-called “pro-life” men making ill-informed proclamations about abortion is becoming quite a common feeling for me these days.
Luckily for me, and for the friends who’d have to bail me out of jail, I’m not particularly given to law-breaking. I am, however, horrified at the idea of a woman being forced to have a funeral for a foetus she has just aborted. While I can certainly acknowledge that some women who have made the difficult and very personal decision to terminate their pregnancies late-term due to severe foetal abnormalities or risk to their own health may want to hold services for the very wanted child that they were unfortunately unable to carry to term, creating a government mandate for all terminations to require the involvement of a funeral director seems better suited to be a plot feature in a dystopian sci-fi novel than an actual proposed regulation in some American states.
Like Indiana, home of staunchly anti-abortion Mike Pence (otherwise known as the not-orange one in the Trump circus). Thankfully, a federal judge blocked Indiana’s vile new abortion law, which would’ve required women to pay for funeral services to dispose of her aborted foetus, but the battle is far from over. In mid-September the Texas Health and Human Services Commission issued a proposed list of rules that would mandate the burial or cremation of foetuses, which could come into effect at any time. While aborted foetuses, most of which are smaller than a peapod, are usually disposed of as any other medical waste, the new laws would add a whole new layer of drama to the termination process.
Why? To forward the “pro-life” movement’s agenda. While the states may not be able to give foetuses personhood while they’re in utero, they seem to be trying to do just that after the fact. It’s a move that is informed by ideology rather than medicine or concern for women. Frankly, it’s a new low for a movement built upon preying on pregnant women.
It’s yet another reason why Hillary Clinton must win the election next week. America needs a Supreme Court that can stand up for women’s rights when the states go off on insulting ideological witch hunts, and a president who will staunchly support a woman’s right to agency over her own healthcare decisions.
We can only hope America will make the right choice when November the 8th rolls around.