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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

More evidence that it's not about babies

It's about keeping women under control. While I wish babies could be born healthy as often as possible, that's not even remotely the point behind these fetal protection laws. The ugliness of these laws regarding the "protection" of pregnant women is that they are intended to do no such thing. These laws are generally used to punish women for drug abuse during pregnancy, but there have been experimental cases seeing if these laws can be used to force women to adhere to state-mandated prenatal care. I imagine that ideally the "fetal protection" movement would like to be able to lock women up for the whole of their pregnancies so they can be under constant survelliance for unmotherly behavior.
The overall intention of course is a long term plan to redefine women by their wombs and the contents therein. I'm sure they intend to get women back to accepting their "natural" role as mothers and wives and other support system roles for men's goals. But in some respects, it's going to backfire. If every stillbirth or sickly baby starts an investigation into a woman's health habits, more women will be scared off accepting the role of "mother" altogether. I doubt that all mothers now could get a 100% on their health habits during pregnancy.
If our government was really dedicated to delivering as many healthy babies as possible, it would take constructive steps, like making sure that every pregnant woman had sufficient access to prenatal care and nutrition, no matter how poor she is. Under these laws, poor women who need prenatal care will be scared off seeking it, knowing that they will be under a microscope to see if they are potential "fetal assault" suspects. There is a sort of irony to the fact that when you reduce women to wombs, the quality of those wombs actually suffers.


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