When I was growing up, birth was considered a significant event. When a girl got pregnant, it wasn’t assumed that the fetus would have a normal, uneventful life as it grew, got an education and a good job, got married, created their own group of fetuses, contributed to society for several decades, and then had a long, fulfilling retirement. In fact, for two of the three parties involved in the process, birth can be very traumatic. According to one articleA, 60 to 80% of all naturally conceived embryos never make that milestone. And of those who did make it, I don’t know of a single one of you that didn’t do a lot of crying about it. Similarly, in 2015 over 300,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirthA. In the United States, 18.5 women die for every 100,000 birthsA. That is twice the rate of Saudi Arabia, three times that of the United Kingdom, and (strangely enough) 250% as many as died in this country in 1987 (yes, the problem is actually getting worse here). In my mind, this is something we should be concerned about.
And then there’s the dad (or shall we say “sperm donor”). Of the two events, the conception is the only one he has to show up for, and for many (mostly Republican) men in Congress, it is apparently the only one that has any meaning – probably the only one he brags about or bothers to put on his calendar (and to save time and space, I’m guessing he doesn’t even bother to jot down the mother’s name). Some legislators have tried to pass laws making the mother personally responsible for everything that happens after that point. I’m surprised that they haven’t passed a law replacing your birth date with the date of conception on your driver’s license and all other official documents (Oops! sorry, my bad; it just occurred to me that the reason they haven’t done that yet is probably only because they haven’t thought of it. The good news is that nobody reads this blog anyway, so we are probably safe for now).
Call To Action?
If you are proud of your birthday, well actually the picture doesn’t look that rosy. The nineteenth amendment to the Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, was ratified 96 years ago and what a waste of time that was. Their major failures during my lifetime have been the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.), the Hyde AmendmentD – which says the government can only spend money on men’s health issues, not women’s (OK, I’m paraphrasing (maybe even exaggerating) here), and most recently any law that says women will get the same pay as men for the same work. Are my biases causing me to miss anything? Help me out, because I can’t think of a single success they can point to (if you remind me of such a success, I will publish it). I’m really afraid that until women finally grow the balls to exercise their rights, we are all screwed. Is that how you see it? Back in the late 1970’s I had a notion that the National Organization for Women (N.O.W. – which is now 50 years old) was apparently not the right group to lead the charge on the E.R.A. My thinking was that maybe a men’s group with a name like “Fathers Without Sons” (or something with a nicer acronym) would be required to really get the balls rolling. Is that really what’s needed to protect us? Somebody please step up to the plate. In the mean time, the rest of you could start small with a vote for Senator Clinton for President next time you get a chance. Thank you.