Maternal mortality is one of the most compelling indicators that America runs on racism. Here’s what we need to do to overcome this legacy and current reality.
Long before a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed that by summer Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned, only pregnant people bore the burden of pregnancy—not just physically, but also financially. “Impregnators” have always had the choice to walk away. Sure, they could be on the hook for child support after birth—but what if they could be held responsible for their actions before, from the moment of conception, just as the pregnant person is?
That question led two Pennsylvania state representatives to begin drafting a law to hold impregnators accountable.
Women throughout the country reported showing up to their vaccine appointments only to be subjected to off-cuff, discriminatory treatment by professionals providing the vaccine, even as evidence mounted that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and recommended for pregnant women, while COVID-19 was proving particularly dangerous in pregnancy, increasing the rate of severe complications including stillbirth. Some providers singled pregnant women out, requiring doctor’s notes; others refused to vaccinate them altogether.
As individual rights to deny medical care on religious or moral grounds expand, no one is safe from discrimination in medical care—not even the “unborn.” We should all understand our right to be free from gender-based discrimination in medical settings.
Hostile state or federal laws that ban or restrict abortion and criminalize pregnancy outcomes could have yet another devastating impact: threatening eligibility for legal immigration status and undermining efforts to create more equitable and humane immigration laws.
The politics of immigration and the politics of choice will continue to collide as extreme lawmakers cynically trade the reproductive health of immigrant and non-citizen women for political gain.
Abortion bans force pregnant women to endure the dangerous work of pregnancy, labor and childbirth against their will. Abortion bans place pregnant women seeking abortion under state control and require them to perform involuntary labor. This is a violation of the 13th Amendment.
One of the visionaries behind Title IX—the federal legislation passed in 1972 that mandates gender equality in education—was a fierce and fearless congresswoman from Hawaii, Patsy Takemoto Mink. As Congress’s first woman of color and a 1972 presidential aspirant, Mink served 24 years in Congress, from 1965–1977 and then again from 1990–2002. Mink broke traditional gender boundaries, championed peace, the environment, equality and social justice, and never wavered as an advocate and ally for social change.
This Mother’s Day, we must recognize how politics has excluded mothers and work to create an inclusive politics where mothers’ voices can be heard.
Last week, the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed a decision from the state’s Department of Child Safety (DCS) to place Lindsay R.—an Arizona woman whom the state branded a child abuser because she used medical marijuana while she was pregnant—on its child abuse and neglect registry for 25 years.
The criminalization of pregnant women using marijuana is part of a broader trend, according to National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which has documented more than 1,000 arrests for drug use during pregnancy.
In an opinion issued on Wednesday, Jan. 26, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) helped clear the way for the Equal Rights Amendment. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), responded to the newly issued OLC memo by saying that the ERA has already been ratified and should be recognized as the 28th Amendment.
“Abortion migration” is when pregnant people travel long distances and cross internal and national borders to access abortion care. While the news out of Texas is extraordinarily alarming, both Texas women and pregnant people across the globe have long been traveling to places like Albuquerque to legally terminate pregnancies. Various forms of state and state-sanctioned power combine to coerce our movement in ways that threaten our dignity and equal standing.