Tennessee Republican men are doing what they do best. Oppressing women.
State Sen. Mark Pody, (R-Lebanon) and Rep. Jerry Sexton, (R-Bean Station) have introduced a bill that would give a man veto power over a woman's abortion if he is the one who impregnated her. Pody was moved, apparently, after a constituent (male, of course) expressed concern that fathers don't get to force women to give birth.
"I believe a father should have a right to say what's gonna be happening to that child," Pody said. "And if somebody is going to kill that child, he should be able to say, 'No, I don't want that child to be killed. I want to able to raise that child and love that child.'"
Shall we talk about the issue of establishing paternity? The man would have to prove he is the biological father. The judge decides if there is enough evidence to prove it. And get this...according to the piece in The Tennessean: "For unmarried couples, the father would have to voluntarily establish his paternity, but can do so without the woman's consent."
Um...HOW is paternity established, and how exactly can it be done without a woman's consent? I'll TELL you. At least I'll tell you how paternity is established.
The LEAST invasive way to establish paternity while a woman is pregnant is through a blood test. THE WOMAN takes the blood test, mind you — the man only needs a f*cking cheek swab. So, is this bill proposing that we force a pregnant woman to submit to blood testing against her will? Without her consent?
There are other more invasive and dangerous ways, like an amniocentesis, which has risks of its own, and my favorite, the Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS.) That test is 99% accurate, but 1 in 100 result in miscarriage. In those tests, the doctor uses a needle or tube inserted into the pregnant woman's vagina to collect small tissue samples from the uterine wall. Doesn't that sound like fun? Imagine a judge saying you had to do THAT against your will because Four-Teeth McGee thinks he's the daddy and don't want his woman having no abortions!
Nah, I'm just joking, the judge will only force her to take the blood test against her will, probably.
Now, let's talk about rape and/or incest. Does the bill make an exception for rape and/or incest? NO, IT DOES NOT.
But don't worry, Pody doesn't think a rapist would come forward anyhow, because he'd just be sent to jail, right? For the rape? Rape is so honestly and fairly prosecuted (ESPECIALLY IN TENNESSEE,) and rape victims aren't stigmatized, NO SIR, and the women always feel comfortable coming forward to say they've been raped, right? No chance a man might rape his girlfriend in an abusive relationship, and intimidate her into hiding that fact, that just NEVER happens!
This is Tennessee, where they passed a law restricting abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, (usually around six to eight weeks into the pregnancy,) and forcing the mother to look at photos of the ultrasound, and listening to the heartbeat before having the procedure done. They're a great example of their cousin-state, South Carolina.
Just yesterday, South Carolina passed a similar bill, called the “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” banning most abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Gov. Henry McMaster said the bill was "a long time coming."
“If there is not a right to life,” said the male governor, who surprisingly, finds himself without a uterus or birth canal on his OWN body, “then what rights exist if not the elementary, fundamental, profound right to life? So we are here to protect that.” This bill does make an exception in the cases of rape, incest, and if the mother's life is in jeopardy. But otherwise, it's a felony for doctors who perform the procedure! Yay!
I used to say that when men are able to have a uterus and go through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, then they might have some standing to assert an opinion that merited consideration on a woman's decision to carry a pregnancy to term. But there are a number of flaws with that reasoning.
The first one is that if men were able to carry fetuses and birth babies, support systems for childbirth and new parents would be so much more comprehensive and humane than the ones we have in place now, because MEN need them in order to function and get back to work!
The second is that if men could and did give birth, they would have a much stronger understanding of the mechanics and biology the process, not to mention the emotions involved in making the decision to either have an abortion or carry a pregnancy to term. Especially if their health, social life, love life, economic life, and professional life would be affected by the decision. So, perhaps they'd not be so quick to assume that only reasons women have abortions are selfish, rather than survival-related. (Not that I am against having abortions for selfish reasons, too. That's just fine by me. You go, girl.)
The third flaw with that reasoning is that if men had the ability to get pregnant and give birth, abortions would be easier to get than guns. Abortions would be available at the school nurse's office and the local Starbucks. Lauren Boebert would have jars of all of her aborted fetuses lined up on her bookshelf instead of her loaded AR-15s. Men would brag about how many abortions they have had as a way of keeping score of the number of people they slept with before they turned 16.
Or maybe, and stay with me on this one, access to birth control might be easier.
But men CAN'T experience pregnancy or birth a child. And I guaran-damn-tee you that Sen. Pody doesn't relish his annual prostate exams, let alone the thought of an 8-pound child coming out of a similar-sized opening on his body. Abortions would be f*cking sacrosanct if men could experience pregnancy and childbirth, let alone navigate the world with monthly menstruation and its accompanying delights.
So rather than take the "Gee, I've never experienced it, perhaps I'll listen to the people who do, and defer to their expertise" approach, Tennessee Republicans are going for the much more common, "I'm a man, so allow me to tell you what to do with your body" approach. They're just throwing in a few forced blood tests as an added bonus.