Fetus “Rights” Means No Human Rights for Women

Tea Pottyers, Libertarians, and other “patriots” worried about “freedom” should be vehemently supporting freedom for women by fighting to repeal the Hyde Amendment, the Stupak Amendment, and all the “Conscience Clause” and “fetal personhood” laws that have caused women across this country to be denied their birth control prescriptions by pharmacists because of the pharmacists’ “moral” or religious beliefs, and women rape victims being denied emergency contraception in the ER as part of the standard rape kit.

Compulsory pregnancy and childbirth puts women in harms way. Why are there NO laws against forced reproduction? Oh, that’s right. It only harms women — disposable walking incubators that aren’t human enough for harm against us to matter.

Pregnant women whose pregnancies turn into life-threatening complications are slapped with a death sentence because of these specious “fetal personhood” and “conscience clause” laws which allow healthcare providers to deny pregnant/miscarrying women their right to life by denying care that disagrees with “pro-life” policies protected under the “conscience clause” laws, and transfer to another hospital 80 miles away while hemorrhaging is NOT a reasonable nor feasible solution to this pro-forced birth phantasmagoria.

80% of US women have no access to affordable, reliable contraception or early term abortion in the event of contraceptive failure, even in the event of rape.

87% of all US counties have no abortion provider.

When half of the population is cruelly deprived of the right to have control over their own bodies and lives because of misogynistic policies draped in the habiliments of “morality”, then that half of the citizenry is NOT free. You don’t have a free country when only half of the citizens get to enjoy freedom while the other half is forcibly conscripted into childbirth chattel slavery at peril to their health, well-being and lives as well as at the expense of their liberty — because of a web of policies and laws effecting forced pregnancy and forced childbirth.

Forced childbirth against women’s will at peril to women’s wellbeing, liberty, health or lives — is ASSAULT. And imposing the conditions for fetal personhood effecting forced childbirth on a woman that results in the woman’s death is MURDER.

And since we all have the right to self-defense because self-preservation is the first law of nature, I, as a pre-menopausal woman, have EVERY right to defend myself against harm, including that of a nonconsensual pregnancy.

Consent to sex does not equal consent to pregnancy and childbirth.

Consent to pregnancy does not equal consent to death from unexpected health complications made worse or untreatable due to the pregnancy.

You cannot force someone else to risk their life or their health for you. This is why you cannot be forced by law to undergo risky surgery to give up a kidney or bone marrow to save someone else’s life, not even for your own child if he/she needed it.

If that were not so, the even more valid and stronger case could be made to force all men to get vasectomies and freeze their sperm and go through a licensing procedure, including adequate proof of a fully consenting woman willing to be impregnated with it, in order to procreate.

Childbirth does a really bad number on women’s bodies and health, and imposes some very debilitating and limiting physical conditions, often with very negative permanent results. Childbirth is one of the most, if not THE most, excruciatingly painful experience anyone can go through. Sometimes it even causes death from cardiac arrest or “stroking out” while giving birth.

Do we debate whether or not it’s OK to beat someone until they have an equivalent amount of physical damage, which would send them to the hospital? So why should it even be up for debate when it comes to the imposition of something even more traumatic with permanent damaging effects on women?

The risk of death associated with childbirth, even with access to good medical care, is about 11 times as high as that associated with safe, legal abortion. Women, even in the USA, are TEN TIMES as likely to die due to pregnancy related causes as someone in the military is to die in combat.

Only women are deemed as undeserving of self-determination, including OUR right to life because of these debates on whether or not we’re entitled to equal human rights. No heterosexual woman should be given the choice between living in utter terror of unwanted pregnancy making them a nervous wreck over sex, or having to live a life of loneliness in total celibacy from menarche to menopause since it’s impossible to have a healthy and full intimate adult relationship without sex.

Pro-forced birthers raising the “human rights for fetuses” argument who claim that pregnancy and childbirth is a “beautiful” and “empowering” that no natural woman would want to forego, pay nothing but lip-service to their value of women — especially mothers.

And it’s no accident that most virulent anti-abortion clinic terrorists are men, and that many are affiliated with white male supremacist “homegrown” terrorist groups. They enjoy seeing women suffer and forcing women to suffer. They’re too self-centered and egotistical to put a woman’s life, health and well-being above their own narcissism of begetting a genetic xerox copy of themselves to “carry on the [male] legacy” that requires the use of someone else’s body to get it. And they truly hate women and hate ALL aspects of our sexuality that they cannot oppress, dominate and control — by any means necessary.

For all the talk about valuing life and motherhood, and how “beautiful” and “empowering” that the pain/anxiety fest of pregnancy and (frequently) traumatic childbirth is, why are college girls who “bare all” at Daytona Beach during Spring Break Week admired while not-so-gorgeous-looking nursing mothers who discreetly breastfeed their babies in public get ejected from venues where women and children normally have a right to be?

Why is it that post-partum women are never promoted as the standard of “sexy” and “attractive-looking” and why do middle and upper-middle class men dump the women whose bodies get ruined from giving birth to their spawn, or push their wives into getting vaginal rejuvenation and labiaplasty after their lady parts got messed up and stretched out “down there”, making vaginal sex like “throwing a hot dog down a hallway” from giving birth?

We never see those with permanent lingering pregnancy fat, stretch marks, varicose veins, loose wrinkly stomach pouches and saggy deflated looking boobs on pin-up calendars and in magazine centerfolds or as the heroines of “reality” TV shows. While nubile young college girls are encouraged to show off their beauty, nursing moms are routinely publicly and loudly humiliated, and told to “cover up” if they don’t want to be ejected from restaurants, airlines, or even courthouses.

And it is highly doubtful that two middle class American women with “good” pregnancies and deliveries, Claudia Mejia and Katy Hayes, would classify their childbirth experiences as “beautiful.” Each of these women got an invasive Strep-A flesh-eating bacterial infection from childbirth, resulting in having to choose between death or the amputation of both arms and both legs. Both Mejia and Hayes had partners that stood by them, despite their horrific permanent disability and disfigurement that was a direct result of pregnancy and childbirth. One can only imagine how much more tragic it would have been for them if they were abandoned by the co-conceivers and been rendered permanently helpless and horrifically maimed as a result of UNWANTED pregnancies.

Meanwhile, poor women from the underclass of all ages are America’s most disposable and hated group. Whatever we have had to suffer never mattered — our conditions of deprivation are always somehow our fault. Job discrimination, lack of access to advanced education, lack of health and dental care, lack of any real safety net, and an invisible economic caste system in our “free country” couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. Tragic outcomes in difficult pregnancies and childbirths, whether planned or wanted or not, are never reported for poor women who aren’t “important” enough to make the news. (Poor women should have “kept their legs shut.”)

As hard as these anti-woman/anti-abortion “moralists” push for “fetal personhood” and “conscience clause” laws that take away women’s personhood rights — such as the right to self-determination and bodily integrity — I have yet to see ANY “pro-lifer” push as vehemently for a generous compensation package including a generous pension for motherhood, which is an unrewarded and undervalued permanent sacrifice, a hazardous 24/7 occupation with permanent negative consequences for women’s bodies, decreased earning capacity and job opportunities, risk of abandonment by the co-conceiver/partner, psychological trauma (childbirth-induced PTSD), and potentially diminished sexual attractiveness and reduced sexual enjoyment.

Anti-abortionists promoting “fetal personhood” which imposes de facto childbirth chattel slavery upon women without regard to how the reproductive “livestock” feels about it, or if the “breeder chattel” survives the ordeal of pregnancy and childbirth, use misogyny cloaked under “fetus rights” as a convenient tool for ensuring that women remain poor and oppressed — and in misery from long-term debilitating effects on their bodies from pregnancy and childbirth.

Pregnancy and childbirth is the number one cause for women having to forego an education, and for removing women from the workplace and impoverishing them. This works out very nice for the beneficiaries of unearned privilege who don’t want to have to compete with poor women for university seats and jobs in post Welfare Reform AmeriKKKa.

With the full gamut of common and permanent risks and side effects of the reproductive process, if pregnancy and childbirth was a drug, the FDA would have taken it off the shelf eons ago. And if you think a fetus is more important than a woman, try getting a fetus to wash the shit stains out of your underwear for no pay and no pension.

Let’s be honest, shall we. Depriving women of our fundamental human right to have ownership and control over our own bodies and self-determination is not about ethical concerns over the “human rights” of fetuses — it’s about unethically depriving women of personal freedom and sexual autonomy. It’s about legalized enslavement of women. It’s about the legal torture and killing of women with forced childbirth and pregnancy complications. And it’s about legalized rape.

Jacqueline S. Homan is the author of four nonfiction books: Divine Right: the Truth is a Lie, Eyes of a Monster, Classism For Dimwits, and Nothing You Can Possess.


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12 Responses to “Fetus “Rights” Means No Human Rights for Women”

  1. Sharon Presley Says:

    Thank you for this excellent hard-hitting article. I have posted a link to it on the Facebook page of the Association of Libertarian Feminists as well as my personal page. ALF has had an official pro-choice stand since 1976. See our pro-choice article on both our FB page and our website.

    Sharon Presley
    National Coordinator

  2. Tweets that mention Fetus “Rights” Means No Human Rights for Women « Feminism — The Other "F" Word -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by missinthropic, Adoption Critic. Adoption Critic said: https://godlessfeminist.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/fetus-%E2%80%9Crights%E2%80%9D-means-no-human-rights-for-women/ […]

  3. suetiggers Says:

    well said
    but I was taken aback by seeing such a smart, strong response by a woman who presents herself in a way that can detract from being taken seriously. You may consider the critique as prudish but I do not regard it that way…I have no problem with nudity, breasts exposed,etc. when a female either doesn’t care about having ones’ ideas considered, but in this country where females are regarding way too much by how sexy they are, their body,etc. isn’t this counterproductive ? Or is the writer attempting to use her body to get some kind of advantage with the male readers?
    I don’t get it.

  4. Bob Says:

    What I would love to see, which would never happen of course, is that all these anti-abortion types have the child assigned to them. As in be legally and fiscally responsible for raising this child who’s fetus-hood they so vehemently defend. Talk about dropping things like a hot rock

    • Jacqueline S. Homan Says:

      I think they ought to be forced to pay ALL pregnant women and mothers a living wage plus health benefit and pension compensation package, since pregnancy and childbirth takes a hell of a toll on women’s bodies and lifestyles, and since child-raising IS vital work without which our society could not thrive.

      If motherhood was fairly compensated for all it takes from women at great personal cost and risk to us, and for all of the benefits, advantages and privileges it grants men — which really amounts to a significant amount of transfer payments from women to men (and the larger society as a whole), these anti-abortion wackjobs would be in favor of abortions being given out for free with every Happy Meal.

  5. Summerspeaker Says:

    A powerful piece that anyone who identity as pro-life should read. (But would any of them care?) I do disagree with your assertion about the impossibility of a healthy and full intimate adult relationship without sex. I assume you mean traditional piv straight intercourse. Presenting that as required constitutes a profoundly pernicious narrative. Countless other options exist. Furthermore, plenty of asexual folks develop intimate relationship. No sex acts required. As Shulamith Firestone wrote, the fairy tale of monogamous heterosexual love has so distorted our psychology.

    • Jacqueline S. Homan Says:

      And how old are YOU? Maybe hetero pre-menopausal women shouldn’t have be deprived of our basic human rights, like the right to have control over OUR bodies, and the right to fucking have sex without being forced to die from pregnancy complications. Ever think about THAT? Why should sex be a right for males, but not women?

  6. Victoria Says:

    I would looooooooooove a prolife bastard to come to my thirld world country (Argentina) and adopt a couple of thousands of poor, starving children. And see what happens.

    Some years ago, a 14 year old girl with down syndrome was raped by her auncle or father (dont remember, it was disgusting either way) and they waited, and waited for the judge´s response (in Argentina abortion is illegal, if the woman´s life is in danger, then, doctors and of course, judges can make exceptions, or not) and they waited soooo much that when the “permission” to abort finally arrived she was 6 months pregnant. Sooo….yeah, no abortion for miss down syndrome.

    Anyway…i think she had the kid, and then i have no idea what happened.

    But yeah, it works like this. And up in the north (of my country) children die from starvation. Their mothers give them hot water for breakfast. REALLY.

    Give me a fucking break, i had an abortion when i was 16 because i paid a lot of money for it. And because my mom knows some doctors…otherwise my life would be ruined.

    Thank you prolifers. I´ll see you all in HELL.

    • Jacqueline S. Homan Says:


      thank you for sharing this and adding your voice. We women will not get rights over our own bodies, health, and lives unless we get militant. In my country (US), Congress is passing a law that would deny access to abortion even if continuing the pregnancy KILLS the woman. These rich white men in positions of privilege and power simply hate women, and want to use their “moral beliefs” as a license to hurt and kill women.

    • leiapeison@yahoo.com Says:

      please keep telling your story to the americans here. please write into our legislatures. they need to know what their laws are leading to. thank you.

  7. Anti-Rape Says:

    Thank you Jacqueline! You are my hero I am a big fan of yours.
    Thank you for fighting for us raped penniless girls around America and the world, you give us a voice.

    I grew up in rural deep south, went to christian home school, my grandfather was a southern baptist preacher, my father was a deacon and sunday school teacher at our church. They were consumed with wifely submission (there favorite topic), and loved for women and girls to be pregnant. My father told me in our churchyard when I was thirteen that women belonged barefoot and pregnant. You would know that Christian porn would manifest it self in a sadomasochistic way, such as pregnancy and birth. What these cretins or you could call them christians are telling women, little girls, pregnant women, pregnant little girls, raped women, and raped little girls is they are just “CUNTS”.

    Christians think they have the right to take custody of women’s and little girls vaginas and force them, serve them up to have extreme unwanted genital pain against their will.

    Women have the right to say no to marriage, no to sex, and no to forced childbirth.
    But christians want to force women and little girls into being what christians think women and little girls are and want women and little girls to be, and that is nothing but submissive cunts.

    The pro-lifers with their pornographic pregnancy and birth fetish made me an atheist.

    Christianity is so misogynistic and sadomasochistic to women, little girls, pregnant women, pregnant little girls, and pregnant rape victims it makes me want to cut myself.

    Nothing and no one has the right to be in my body against my will, nothing and no one has the right to use my body against my will, nothing and no one has the right to terrorize me for nine months with great fear and dread of extreme genital pain against my will, nothing and no one has the right to life if it gives them the right to cause me extreme unwanted genital-vaginal pain. Me and every other woman and little girl in the world has the right to say “NO” in regards to what happens to our own vaginas. No ones right to life gives them the right to sexually torture us.

    Could say so much more but will stop here for now, much love from a new atheist.

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