I am More Than a Uterus


Guys, one of the worst possible things you could ever accuse a woman of, if she voices an opinion, is having PMS. Taking a woman’s opinion and telling her that she only has it because she happens to bleed (in most cases) once a month is kind of like saying that a man only has a differing opinion because he isn’t getting any or because he’s been kicked in the balls. That doesn’t seem fair or right to you, does it? Well, why the fuck do you think it is okay to suggest that a woman’s opinion exists because of her sex organs?

It is bad enough that ignorant individuals like this exist, but it is even worse when I see this kind of misogyny at a more powerful and influential level.  There are constant reminders that women don’t know how to take care of themselves.  There are reminders that women are considered to be less than’s.  One of the ways that women can be torn down is through laws regarding their reproductive decisions.

Abortion laws are generally written by men.  Of the 28 bills that have been proposed in the state senate for Alabama for the 2012 Regular Session, five are related to abortion. While that might seem normal for a southern state, and probably on some level is normal for Alabama, it is also alarming.  It is more alarming when you look at the men who are writing these bills.  None have degrees in medicine or science or psychology.  These are not men who, for the most part, are educated in anything more than business.  (One is a lawyer, but represents corporations.)  Three are Baptists, which generally means (in Alabama) that a person is going to advocate for limited rights for women.  One is a member of the Church of Christ, which also has a history of advocating fewer rights for women in this state, and the other just says he is a Christian.  (It is unlikely that there are any members of the legislature in this state that are not, in name, Christians.) One has only attended a community college, which doesn’t mean that he is lacking in intellect, but should be an indicator that he might not possess the background that would be necessary to make informed political decisions that impact things like abortion.

State Senator Phil Williams proposed the following in SB 5:

This bill would define the term “persons” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb.

State Senator Gerald Allen proposed Senate Bill 6, which is summarized as:

This bill would establish the Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act. This bill would provide legislative findings and purposes. This bill would make it unlawful to administer any abortion-inducing drug to a woman without her receiving an exam by a physician.

This bill would provide a physician with guidelines to follow in administering an abortion-inducing drug. This bill provides for criminal and civil penalties. Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.

The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment.

Senate Bill 10, proposed by State Senator Greg Reed, is summarized as:

Currently, the new federal health care reform law requires individual states to operate and maintain “health insurance exchanges.” Health insurance plans offering abortion coverage are allowed to participate in a state’s exchange and to receive federal subsidies unless the Legislature affirmatively opts out of offering these plans.

This bill would specifically provide that the State of Alabama affirmatively opts out of allowing abortion coverage by exchange participating health plans.

State Senator Clay Scofield proposed in SB 12:

This bill would establish the Right to Know and See Act. This bill would require a physician to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion. This bill would not apply to an abortion performed in the case of a medical emergency.

This bill would provide criminal penalties and civil remedies for violations. This bill would provide for anonymity for women in court proceedings. Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.

The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment.

State Senator Shadrack McGill (yes, that is his real name) proposed in SB 20:

This bill would be known as the Abortion Coverage Prohibition Act.

This bill would prohibit health insurance coverage of elective abortions unless the insured has paid additional monies for a rider.

State Senator Williams has determined the definition of personhood, which might seem fair to some people (particularly of some religious backgrounds) but the definition would actually violate the beliefs on personhood by other religions, including Judaism. (You are not a person until you breathe outside of the womb.)

State Senator Allen’s bill assumes that women would seek abortion-inducing medication from a non medical entity, which is odd. As it is a drug that is only provided via prescription, it would generally be necessary for a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner to make the prescription out. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a valid prescription and would, in that case, be against the law to begin with. It also requires that she must be examined by a physician. Well, that’s not really fair. At my gynecologist, I have been examined by a nurse practitioner. She has prescribed medicine for me in the past, including progesterone-only pills and metformin. If she can make those prescriptions, why couldn’t she prescribe mifepristone (RU-486)? Hell, I’ve seen physician’s assistants give prescriptions for Adderall, which is a a controlled substance. If they can give prescriptions for a speed-like drug, then why can’t they prescribe a drug for a medication abortion?

State Senator Reed’s bill takes on the belief that the state should not provide abortions via health care policies provided either to state employees or to persons on public assistance. While that might seem reasonable, it is allowing people who have no medical background to make the decision of what medical care can be provided to women throughout the state. Imagine that State Senator Reed wanted to ban people from using penicillin because he had some religious or moral opposition to its usage. That would be considered crazy of him. Well, the same should apply with abortions. Yes, it is the ending of a life, but so is taking a pill that ends the life of a bacteria (anti-biotics) or a virus (anti-viral) or spraying stuff on athlete’s foot (anti-fungal). Yes, we view human life as being more important and more worthy of respect than any other life that exists, but should we? Is it really okay to say that a person matters more than anything else out there? And is it okay to say that the life within another person is deserving of more legal protection than its “incubator”? What does that tell women? Oh, you’re only good to have kids and make dinner. Really? Are we that stupid in this world?

State Senator Scofield’s bill is infuriating. It shows that a politician believes that a woman should have to see her unborn child before she aborts it, which would mean that she would have to look at that ultrasound and make a decision that might make her feel even more guilty than she might already feel. Abortions are not something that women plan to have. They are not things that we all grow up thinking that it looks fun and we want to try to have one at some point in our lives. From the second that we learn what could happen from sex, we always have to have (in the back of our minds) the fear of what we might do if we get pregnant. This fear is not something that is really talked about in public because women are sometimes told that if they don’t want to get pregnant, then they should have kept their legs closed. Women are automatically told that it is their fault that they are pregnant, even though pregnancy requires bodily functions from two people not one.

State Senator Shadrack McGill’s bill is even worse than that of Reed’s. Instead of just denying coverage of abortions under insurance to people working for the state, he goes one further and tells every woman in the state that unless she gets special abortion coverage that she can’t have insurance that covers her abortion. So, in order to have your abortion covered, you have to anticipate that one day you might need one. It’s kind of like getting flood insurance, except that where flood insurance is something you might actually be able to anticipate needing, a person doesn’t usually think that they will end up having to have an abortion.

Maybe, if we had people who didn’t continuously pass or suggest the passing of bills that classify women in a subhuman ranking, then people like Chris wouldn’t think it was okay to be asshats towards women who speak their minds. We live in a society where we have a continuous message to young girls that they should accept a sexualized role in the world, should only work if they have to, should always be ready to cook dinner for their significant others, should always accept what men say to be the best thing since sliced bread, and should understand that their only real purpose in life is to carry young for the male of the species. That’s it. A woman is reduced to being just a walking, talking uterus, and generally it is preferred that she doesn’t speak up.

What kind of message is this? What good does it do? It turns ignorance and bias against women into the kind of thing that is acceptable on sites like Facebook.  It makes the following message okay:

Chris continues talking shit

We have taught children that this is the kind of behavior that is acceptable.  We have taught women that they have to keep their mouths shut or they get asked if they are PMS-ing, have taken their Midol, are a bitch, or are retarded.  We have taught men that if a woman speaks up that she is asking to  be treated in that manner.  We have made it okay to question a person’s morality based on their sex organs and then to back it up with a comment that could be construed as racist.  This is what the ignorance that we have allowed has brought our society.


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.