Lawmakers, leave my body alone

Liz Anastasiadis ‘21 is an English creative writing major with a concentration in narrative journalism from Warren, Ohio.

LIZ ANASTASIADIS, Managing Editor — Let’s discuss the history of women’s rights in the United States and how the country’s lawmakers have long been putting themselves in the business of others’ rights when it shouldn’t be a question.

The first women’s suffrage law in the U.S. was passed in Wyoming in 1869. The state became the first to grant women the right to vote in all elections in 1890, and in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified it granted women the right to vote in elections throughout the country.

Let’s not get started on how during World War II women took over traditionally male-dominated jobs in the workforce such as factory jobs, welders, and pilots, but also 350,000 women served in uniform and some were killed on the front lines.

“At the war’s end, even though a majority of women surveyed reported wanted to keep their jobs, many were forced out by men returning home and by the downturn in demand for war materials,” quoted National WWII Museum of New Orleans.

As for women’s autonomy on family planning, Margaret Sanger challenged New York’s anti-contraception laws at the beginning of the 20th century by forming one of the first birth-control organizations. In 1918, Sanger and her allies won a court case that allowed doctors to advise married patients about contraception.

This led to the eventual landmark court case in 1973, Roe v. Wade that ruled criminalizing abortion as unconstitutional.  

So, to see the recent signing of the heartbeat bills in my home state of Ohio, and in Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia is another example of people who don’t know what they’re talking about scientifically, wanting to make laws about concerning the entire population.

If you aren’t aware, the heartbeat bills that are being passed in these states rule, as articulated in the Washington Post, a “ban on abortion after a doctor can detect what they call ‘a fetal heartbeat in the womb,’ usually at about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.”

In most cases, the bill does include an exception to save the life of the woman, but no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Lawmakers in a growing number of states are racing to amend state constitutions to provide a backstop for the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade.

On that note, as the Managing Editor of this publication, I like to remain unbiased in how I allow content to be posted in the newspaper, giving, as the phrase goes, “free and just press for all.” Let me continue, though, to discuss how there is a line that was crossed in the opinion article written by Nathaniel Beach, “Why I’m pro-life.” I believe that men should be allowed to voice their opinion on the subject of aborting their own child, but in those situations, ultimately, it should be the decision of the person who is impregnated what they do with their own bodies. I think it would be hypocritical to not give them some voice on it. Their opinions should be considered and thought about in regard to their own child, but not made into law to decide for everyone. And this is what Beach’s article is essentially stating: that someone is not allowed to have the opportunity to abortion. When the penalty for abortion is the death penalty for a woman, but the penalty for rape is to question “How would it be determined if the woman was raped? In order to get an abortion does the rapist have to be convicted?” how is that constructive, and how is this fair to judge?

Reading and editing Beach’s article was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Mostly because since I disagree with most everything stated in his argument except for the right for free birth control I still am perplexed at what he wanted to gain from the article. A dialogue? Maybe. But, it’s hard to compete with a dialogue that utilizes trigger words such as “Republican” and “pro-life” and “anti-abortion” and throws around words like “these leftists” while not being inclusive toward differing identities (non-binary and transgender people). He tells it from the perspective that he has been surrounded by his entire life. But who does this bill primarily impact? Poor, colored and other marginalized communities. To me, he’s just asking for people to get upset. To me, all he wants to do is make enemies and Tweet about how he has been given the short end of the stick.

So, in giving him a platform for his opinion does not mean that I or the whole of The Denisonian staff agree with him, but it means that no matter how much I disagree his opinion exists and is mirroring the opinions of those who are signing these bills. He might as well be holding the pen himself. His opinion article mirrors the complete reality of the situation; that his opinion and ones like it exist, and have existed throughout history. So does the opinions of the lawmakers. That’s frightening, and we (allies and people affected) need to combat these beliefs in protest and dialogue. Hopefully, in people reacting to and reading his article on Facebook and through the website, this can be a learning opportunity for him to not follow in the steps of American history and that was my reason for allowing it to be published.

There needs to be a line drawn while considering the rights of the people as a whole in lawmakers. America is known as “the land of the free” but how can we continue to restrict its people by not allowing them a say in how they choose for themselves? I think there should be a middle ground where we consider how legislation cannot be made to restrict others decisions, but to give an open decision for all. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean you would personally want an abortion, but it means that you would rather have someone decide what they do with their own body, as it should be. Americans should not dictate what other Americans do with their bodies. Let’s not repeat history. Let’s break history.

Liz Anastasiadis ‘21 is an English creative writing major with a concentration in narrative journalism from Warren, Ohio.

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