Content warning: Sexual Assault, Abortion
I used to avoid the news like the plague, but that’s similar to avoiding getting COVID in a worldwide pandemic, no matter how hard you try. I still know people who are getting Swine Flu after all these years.
If you’re living in the USA, you’d know that there had been a serious turn of events of Roe v. Wade. In American history, Roe v. Wade is a law that decriminalized abortion, arguing that that only criminalizing the termination of an unwonted pregnancy would be unconstitutional for women.
This blog post comes at the perfect time, when human rights are being challenged more than ever. But let’s be real, when are they not being challenged? So it seems, at least. Who better than profound author, Jodi Picoult, would provide a stunningly perfect commentary on this overturn on women’s rights. She thusly wrote an audible book called Choice, and I’m going to spoil it right now: a cisgender lawyer MALE gets pregnant, and he goes through every injustice that a cisgender, nonbinary, and transgender female goes through when they are pregnant. You’re probably thinking, that’s biologically impossible. It is impossible; this is a book we’re talking about, though. Literary commentary. The power of voice. Jodi Picoult ever so accurately depicts a lawyer named James who discovers he is, in fact, pregnant in a fictional world where no cisgender, nonbinary, nor transgender woman could get pregnant. Instead, it’s men who have to suffer the severe injustices that come with pregnancy. Unfortunately, in his state, there is nothing that medics can do about it because of the new law that overturned what is presumably Roe v. Wade.
One poignant scene, that traveled through my ears via Audible, was the scene in which James is passed up for the promotion that was promised to him months prior, but was given to his female colleague, instead. What was ironic, was that James had supposedly seen women get passed up for promotions. It reminded me of the time when my mother said that she had to go back to work just six weeks after giving birth to my older brother in 1987. “I went through every injustice a female executive went through,” said my mother over dinner.
I would argue what every woman argues on social media, “if you don’t have a uterus, you do NOT get to comment/make laws about a woman’s body.” Period. End of sentence. But here’s another argument that I make, in light of Picoult’s prominent story: imagine if it were you suffering your own consequences. As someone who worked in Title IX, I can easily argue that both men and women, regardless of how you identify, can both be victims of sexual assault and abuse, no doubt. That’s one of the reasons why I was conflicted about the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard case, while some people had stronger opinions on it. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t care. I did. I’m no lawyer, but I can easily argue both sides of a case.
When it comes to pregnancy, I can say that I’ve never been pregnant. But as Jodi Picoult said wrote in Choices, “[it’s a] twenty-first century Scarlet Letter, and a man will think twice before entering his victim’s bedroom at night.”
Cisgender lawmakers, if you’re reading this, I hope you will listen to Choices and think twice about your own choices, not just based on what your political party ostensibly believes.
If you, or any one you know is a victim of sexual assault, please direct yourself or them to: https://www.rainn.org/resources and/or dial 800.656.HOPE (4673).