I’m sure many Feministe readers have been closely following the story of Beatriz, a young Salvadoran mother with lupus who was pregnant with an anencephalic fetus. The pregnancy, which was doomed because the fetus had only a brainstem but no brain, was killing her. Her kidneys were shutting down, and the longer they were under stress, the higher the likelihood that if she didn’t die, she would need to be on dialysis for the rest of her life — a major hardship and almost definitely a life-shortener for a woman living in rural El Salvador with very limited access to health care. Doctors said Beatriz needed an abortion, but El Salvador has some of the strictest pro-life laws in the world, and their courts refused her the procedure under the logic that her life wasn’t imminently threatened (apparently since she would die in a few days or weeks, not minutes) and that it’s never ok to prioritize a woman’s life over a fetus’s life. Doctors in El Salvador got around the law by waiting until the 26th week of pregnancy and then performing a Cesarean section — a procedure everyone knew would result in the death of the fetus (which it did) but which can be construed as a “birth” instead of an abortion, even though the end result is the same. Of course, a C-section is significantly more dangerous than an abortion (and especially more dangerous than an earlier abortion, which Beatriz could have had two months ago if she didn’t live in a “pro-life” nation). C-sections are invasive surgical procedures, which are significantly more complicated than early abortions, and pose much higher risks of infection or complication, especially when performed on someone whose health is already compromised by lupus and potential organ failure. They take longer to recover from, and they’re more expensive. Beatriz, thankfully, seems to be doing fine. But she was still legally compelled to undergo a more dangerous, invasive and complicated procedure — and forced to have her body suffer through declining health — so that ideologues could feel better about the intent of a more dangerous procedure that everyone knew would have the exact same outcome as an earlier, safer one....read more
Stories of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace are all too common, and that’s why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was introduced in Congress today.
Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act over 30 years ago, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, some employers continue to deny pregnant women the minor job modifications that could protect not only a woman’s pregnancy but also a family’s economic security, forcing pregnant women out of their jobs.
The PWFA would make it crystal clear to employers that they can’t treat pregnant women worse than other workers who have certain job limitations and instead must make reasonable accommodations if doing so doesn’t pose an undue hardship on the business....read more
So we know that Beyonce’s numerous sins include dressing sexy, being married, and saying that girls run the world when that isn’t technically true. But did you also know she’s singlehandedly responsible for luring young girls into sexual exploitation?...read more
This is a guest post by Lenora M. Lapidus, Director, ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and Ariela Migdal, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Women’s Rights Project. The ACLU Women’s Rights Project (WRP) is dedicated to ensuring that all women can lead lives of dignity free from violence and discrimination, including discrimination based on gender stereotypes....read more
An investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died in an Irish hospital after being refused a medically necessary abortion, has confirmed that Ms. Halappanavar and her husband were indeed told that her pregnancy could not be terminated because Ireland is a Catholic country....read more
An ad campaign by the NYC Human Resources Administration would like you to know that your kids hate you for being a teen mom. Or, more accurately, that your future kids will hate you if you become a teen mom, much like the kids of current teen moms hate them. Because Daddy left, and now he’s absent and stuck with child support, and Mommy’s alone and poor, and the kid will never make anything of herself, and why did you not just keep your legs together, Mom?...read more
The National Women’s Law Center pulls together real women’s stories to explain why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which makes sure that all pregnant workers are able to get the minor workplace adjustments they need to continue working during their pregnancies. These aren’t major changes in job duties; they’re reasonable and small accommodations that make all the difference for pregnant people. A few examples:...read more
Teri James was fired from her job as a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College for being unmarried and pregnant. Clarification: She was fired because the pregnancy was evidence that she had “engaged in activity outside the scope of the Handbook and Community Covenant that does not build up the college’s mission” — namely, premarital sex....read more
This entire story about a surrogate mother, Chrystal Kelley, pregnant with a fetus with severe abnormalities, is disturbing and heartbreaking. A low-income woman, desperate for money, agreed to be a surrogate for a wealthier family, something she had done before. Everyone was excited. Then, an ultrasound showed the fetus had several abnormalities — heart problems, organ problems. The parents, who had given birth to two premature babies before and knew the difficulties of raising children with health issues, wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Kelley did not....read more
Did you know that All Moms judge you if you’re a mom and consider abortion? Or that All Moms think you’re a whiny selfish narcissist who reminds them of their kindergartner if you haven’t had babies yet? No? Well, these moms, who speak for All Moms On The Internet, would like you to know that they’re judging you. Especially if you’re one of their “close friends” who confides in them, and especially if they are so selfless (being MOMS) that they naturally hear about 1/2 of what you’re saying and then make everything else about them....read more
There are so very many things to say about this article and so little time to say them. But: I do think it’s valuable to discuss the reality of fertility and age-related health issues. Certainly an uptick in diagnoses of things like ADHD, autism, etc have contributed to their soaring rates, but there may also be environmental factors, including fertility treatments and older parents. And we know that chromosomal abnormalities are significantly more common in pregnancies conceived by older people. It is important to talk about all of that. At the same time, there are myriad benefits to having children later. Children of older parents tend to do better in school. Older parents tend to spend more time (and more quality time) with their kids. Children born to older parents are more likely to be raised in economically stable households with lower divorce rates. Those are all good things, and unsurprising — on average, adults make better parents than people who are barely adults, whose brains haven’t finished fully developing, who lack life experience, and who lack stability in their job, relationship and finances....read more
Yes, we are all very disgusted that Scott DeJarlais, a “pro-life” Republican Tea Party Congressman and doctor, slept with a patient, got her pregnant and then pushed her to have an abortion. Pro-life! Except when a pregnancy is inconvenient for him personally....read more