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Georgia On My Womb

by on June 24, 2022

Georgia On My Womb

by Tamila Kianfard

Tamila Kianfard is an Outstanding Scholar who has been actively engaged with United Nations committees and non-governmental organizations. She has previously contributed to this site. She authored and published this piece in June of 2019.

All comments are welcome and will receive a reply. All previous posts are open for comment.

The politics of Georgia have become much like the weather of Georgia— unpredictable and absurd. Let’s not even get started on the other Southern states. Alabama, Mississippi—I’m talking about you.

If Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill (HB 481 2019-2020) wasn’t so terrifying and sinister in nature—it would actually be comical. Especially when one considers who is making all the final decisions.

Picture this: A hastily casual meeting of medieval minds, tired and slouching at an outdated round table, matching the outdated conversation. With horrible lighting overhead, coffee, tea, and stale biscuits; they make swift and steady decisions about issues that don’t—and never will—pertain to them. Yes, imagine that for a second, and let it sink in, deep. At best, that’s how these decisions are made.

I for one, hope to one day adopt (either a child or a pet, I haven’t decided), if just for the fear of possible genetic repercussions (I was a terror child and if my mother’s prayers work, my children will be worse). Either way, the choice is mine, and it should always be mine. It’s our divine right as women— for the price we pay as mothers, and the sacrifices our bodies make—that no male counterpart will ever understand.

However, Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill is in violation of the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment—the right to privacy—the right our countrymen, and women, died for us to have. To infringe on this right, is to infringe on their memories. There is no honor in that.

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we?

(Ahem)

Abortion is not a governmental claim; it should not be a religious claim; and above all—it will never be a man’s claim.

It is a womb-an’s personal claim (see what I did there?).

As a woman, even I find myself fretting over how to appropriately tip-toe around the issue. Which is why I find it almost satirical, and highly offensive, when anyone, especially male counterparts, feel so entitled to their invalid opinions about a choice that isn’t theirs to make in the first place.

Nevertheless, there are some holes in the round table debates regarding HB 481 2019-2020, that I would solely like to note:

1. Oh the irony!          

Isn’t it ironic? The ones who want to cut, lessen, take away the amount of federal funding, feeding into the federal aid system (Medicaid, food stamps, etc.) are the same ones who have made a decision that will now be, open-endedly, populating it? 

Let’s just try to ignore the initial, nonsensical reasoning behind the name of the bill— because, frankly, that’s another issue. (More importantly, I’m not medically-certified to expand on this… For this same reason, the GOP shouldn’t either.)

I’m a proud Georgia girl, born and bred, but this is not our finest hour. Frankly, and disturbingly, I find the GOP’s vote on HB 481 to be more, odd, than anything else. As if the GOP is acting in spite of itself, and all of Georgia too.

The redtape on Republican tax dollars would make one think the GOP would be rooting for abortions, if it meant reducing federal aid by default. The obvious lag in logic is truly alarming.

For those who missed it: More people in unstable situations means increased federal aid dependency. (Also, friendly reminder for those who think abortions are a government handout; abortions are not free in most states—and Georgia is no exception. Medicaid does not cover abortions in Georgia. Most people pay out-of-pocket, anywhere between $400-$1,000, give or take.)

Not to add insult to injury, but as luck would have it, the Peach State is also home to an ever-growing movie industry. Georgia provides space for Hollywood films and popular tv shows, and with them comes lots of staunch pro-choice Hollywood actors (they don’t call it the “liberal arts for nothing). So, imagine our surprise, as Georgians, in our beloved Peach State, when the GOP not only went ahead and voted “Yes” for the “heartbeat” bill, but did so knowing it would mean expelling the Blues, and the greens. The GOP didn’t stop at losing millions of dollars in all the above mentioned, but now we will enter loss in the billions, as productions have already begun pulling out of Georgia. Nice one, guys.

2. Oh, the hypocrisy!

I have always found it rather peculiar that, somehow, religion is always at the top of the list for considerations against abortion. This begs the question: If abortion is considered a sin—isn’t pre-marital sex, a sin too? But that didn’t stop anyone from doing it. So why didn’t the rules apply there, religiously?

The real hypocrisy is that we can preach about an unborn fetus, but overlook the millions of children in the world without homes. You want to do your due diligence to the world? Let’s talk about the children who are already here.

I remember the first time I spoke on a panel discussing the Status of Women. I was nervous; more worried about what would come up, and who I was going to offend. Then, lo and behold! The question I fervently try to avoid, came up, and was addressed to me. The inquirers: Three strong, young, brave, Catholic girls from Mexico City. The question: “Do you believe in abortion?”

While the girls were sweet, and their courage made me proud—I was doomed. I loathed this topic. I completely froze, but I wasn’t about to lie either. Remarkably composed, I finally retorted: “I believe in adoption.”

The girls beamed with delight, and I thanked the Lord I came out of that alive, and with my dignity still fully intact.

So, I figure, if these [fiercely] devout Catholic girls from Mexico City could accept my response as a valid clause (diverting compromise?), then so can anyone else. Furthermore, if one is truly that worried about an unborn child, perhaps one should be that worried, and doing more, about the children [already] here. With the same enthusiasm and zest for life.

[On a side note: Kudos to the parents who choose to love their babies from the heart—regardless of the womb. Ya’ll are the real MVPs.]

Applause.

3. Oh, the idiocracy!

Let’s just call a spade, a spade. Some people just shouldn’t be parents. Correction: A lot, a lot of people shouldn’t be parents. I mean no offense (kindly refer to line 13, where I couldn’t decide between a pet or a child… proof that I myself should not be a parent).

Forcing individuals to become parents before they are ready, is the single worst thing that can be done. That innocent “life” you felt the need to protect, is now doomed, from the start. It is irresponsible (and cruel) to bring children into unstable households, and will cause more harm than anything else.

Alongside increased medical corruption…

Criminalizing abortion also means: More children ending up in unstable situations; more teenagers ending up in damaging cycles; more adults ending up in jail. How is this at all considered righteous? How can anyone proclaim this to be the moral thing to do? There’s nothing honorable about bringing a child into a situation where they don’t have everything they need to survive, much less thrive. Life is already difficult as it is, without any guarantees. Therefore, it’s shameful to knowingly, bring an unknowing child into a messy existence that would be an uphill battle from the start—that’s not what being a parent is about.

Pause.

It may be a woman’s choice, but the person who is ultimately most affected is the child. So, when chanting, “my body, my choice,” remember who else that choice truly affects. Having children necessitates a kind of selflessness that very few people, in fact, have. If one can’t comprehend this side of the discussion, perhaps one should not be a parent. Period. It’s selfish and we can do better, World.

Call, write, visit your local representatives and tell them how you feel. Remember, they are here for us; without us, they would not be here.

Also, to provide some perspective:

One Georgia State House Representative, Republican Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, who is actually against abortion and usually votes pro-life, actually voted against HB 481, believing it would “criminalize the practice of medicine,” according the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  As a woman from Georgia, I see the heroism here, kudos and thank you to state Rep. Chuck Martin of District 49, for being objective enough to put aside his personal beliefs for the greater good.

The balance in irony:

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there were four Georgia State members who were absent, and excused, from voting. One Republican State Senator, and three Democrat State Senators. All women, with the exception of one. All Democrat, with the exception of one. I found this to be intriguing, but this one is open for interpretation.

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8 Comments
  1. Thank you, Tamila. Your candor is exceptional, and brave. And, I see the contradictions you point out. Yesterday I saw an interview on CNN with an OB/GYN. She was one of the many physicians nationwide who are expressing dismay over the Supreme Court ruling. I was most surprised as she said, and repeated, “This is Fascism”. I was surprised as it is my experience that many, perhaps mst Americans simply do not recognize Fascism when it being delivered to their doorstep.

    I do hope your article is widely read and that people take part in the discussion opportunity they have here. Marco

    Like

    • I appreciate it. I know it is a pretty blunt delivery and controversial topic but one I still am very passionate about it. Where we are today as a nation makes no sense. I don’t disagree that we are dancing comfortably with Fascism, but I have yet to understand why and how we got here as a freedom-loving nation. We are living in such strange times. I can’t believe we are digressing this way.

      Like

  2. Dana permalink

    Tamila, kudos and a hearty round of applause for this bold, brilliant essay. You managed to educate, inform, and even entertain while discussing a serious topic. There are so many unanswered questions and mounting anxieties. Is it unreasonable to be gravely concerned for women publicly opposing or questioning this unimaginable set of circumstances? Did you think we would be where we are so soon after you wrote this? Much like the COVID19 pandemic, even though we might have sensed certain events approaching, life as we know it today seems surreal to me and sometimes almost unrecognizable.

    Decades ago as a young teenager I personally experienced a number of plot themes resembling ones Margaret Atwood fictionalized in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” As early as eight years old I was taught that my future, my greatest aspirations, my sole value could be found only in becoming a “virtuous woman,” wife, mother, and “homemaker.” Any chances and options for a reasonably successful, financially independent future were overlooked, dismissed, ignored. I was left with few to no choices for my own outcome. I was a wife at seventeen years old, an at-home mother by twenty-one, and an uneducated, unemployed, poverty-stricken single parent of two children before my twenty-sixth birthday.

    I read Atwood’s book around a decade after it was published, feeling the worst was behind me. I was finally free to make most of my own choices, and for the most part I did just that. Today I feel fortunate my reproductive years and decisions are behind me. But it is still my responsibility to fight for others. We can’t give up.

    I’m stunned that as a so-called “developed country” we have so rapidly regressed. Should I bother to repeat the mantra, “It gets better?” I’m caught between despair and determination. Experience and reality tells us that it also gets different. Sometimes it gets worse. Shouldn’t developed countries lead by example, provide promise for those less fortunate, assist those with fewer resources and far less freedom? Those used to be core values at this country’s foundation.

    It seems life has been reduced to, “What’s next?” Combined with personal challenges and issues most humans experience, the blizzard seems never-ending. Much like being trapped in an actual snowstorm, it can be tempting to give in, give up, and drift into deep, numbing sleep. Unfortunately, succumbing to sleep in the midst of a blizzard may result in hypothermia and even death. Perhaps the lesson here is to find our way out without too much damage.

    What can I add to your essay? At the moment I’m really concerned for the Millennial generation – a collective sadly disparaged and mocked by those who probably don’t really know who Millennials are or care about what they have inherited. There are many who are adamant they do not want children. My children are 27 and 29 and do not want children of their own. I applaud that decision, although would obviously support a change of mind as well. That is not my decision to make. Yet as we know, younger people are typically denied the ability to opt for more permanent solutions to prevent pregnancy Without existing offspring and under a certain age, even before this turn of events procedures like vasectomies and tubal ligations are difficult to procure. Now we have to worry about other methods of contraception too?

    It’s bizarre that anyone would want to increase the likelihood of bringing more humans into the world we know today. We just barely put a deadly pandemic down for a nap. Ir isn’t over, and we can almost guarantee the next might be even worse. I shudder at the thought of more humans being dragged into this mess.

    The data from women being denied choices and options will be alarming and telling. I imagine there will be an increase in suicide rates when that is the only way out. I’m sad and worried but my petition hand is strong, and signing the many efforts that reach my email Inbox sonewhat helps me. But I’m not the one who needs it. I hope somehow our efforts help the countless others who desperately need it.

    Well, I’ve said enough. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here! I really hope we’ll hear more from you.

    Like

    • Dana, firstly, thank you so much for taking the time here to share your incredible stance. You are so brave. I cannot even imagine being a mother today, let alone in my early twenties. Honestly; the thought makes my palms sweat and brings an uncomfortable sense of heat that is foreign to my entire being. You are so very brave. I cannot imagine being told I could only live in, breathe in a certain block, specifically created for and bestowed upon women. Your daughters and I have the same idea— I myself have decided early on that I didn’t want children— it absolutely terrified me. I’m 32 and made the decision in my early-mid twenties. I have a feeling it comes from the same sentiment— seeing how the world was for our brave mothers, who had to fight for the rights we thankfully now have—and those being taken away—knowing they did not have a chance to live up to their lives’ full potential and chase their dreams and desires because they were told they needed to stay at home and raise children— it’s simply gut wrenching. You are so brave, and I cannot express that enough. The sliver of silver lining though, in a way, I think, and I can confidently speak for your daughters as well when I say we are so proud of our mothers and grateful for them to have paved the way for us to make our own choices and decisions. HOWEVER, to have that taken away from us in 2022 is just barbaric, to say the least.

      However, I find hope in the strength of women like you. Who bravely speak on such conditions and from such profound experiences. No one can convince you that it’s not true, because you lived it. And I hope you carry that confidence with you everywhere and always speak out because your voice is so powerful. Thank you for sharing it here, not only with me, but everyone. There is strength in numbers and this gives me so much hope in a time where it is being taken away, brick by brick— at every corner. Thank you!

      Like

    • Also, I wanted to add that I am so humbled by your gracious comment and having someone like you, a mother of daughters, sharing this with me is a feeling beyond compare. To be honest, mothers are the ones I am most worried about offending because they sacrifice the most and they are such a quiet and enduring, powerful force— I am truly honored and moved in a way I cannot express in words. It’s a feeling. Thank you for encouraging me in this way. Please NEVER stop sharing your incredible experiences. Your story moved me in such a way. A single mother of two at 26 and married as a teenager—I cannot even imagine. My mother was also the same age when she had my two older sisters fleeing a war-torn Iran in the early 1980s. Like I tell my mother: It’s because of you, that your daughters are who they are and can become whoever they want to be. Your sacrifices made it possible and I hope you hold your head up in the highest degree knowing this. It’s so precious and so powerful.

      Like

      • Dana permalink

        Tamila, thank you for your replies and your candor. I always wonder if I should discuss my adult children here.
        They are forces of nature and I really try not to take the credit for that. I’m also trying not to blame myself for what goes wrong in their lives. I have that tendency since they are a product of divorce. But I am proud of them, and not because of anything I did. They could have chosen views that conflict with mine. I’m relieved they didn’t, although I did try to teach them how to think instead of what to think. That wasn’t and still isn’t easy.

        There isn’t an unselfish reason for choosing to have biological children – a statement which seems to cause discomfort in others, but one that feels difficult to challenge. Today I’m grateful I could make some choices despite my young age after living under religious abuse and mind/body control for well over a decade.

        Truthfully, I have learned from my children and continue to do so as much as they might have learned from me. Perhaps more. When humans consciously decide to reproduce, it is our offspring forced to make sacrifices we can’t always foresee. They inherit our genes, our challenges, but most of all a future no one can possibly predict. I cannot imagine the outcome of their lives if they were infants or young children right now. With the recent SCOTUS upheaval I’m not quite as worried for my son as I am for my daughter, and for good reason. Thankfully she lives in California, although I trust nothing about American life anymore. It is far too precarious to become complacent strictly because of geography.

        Like

    • Ray Rivers permalink

      I sped-read the book for something to do while sailing on the Great Lakes and few years ago – and absolutely hated it – thinking it was child-like in its fiction and an outlier from her other great writings. I never once thought something like what Attwood described would ever come to pass until last week. Clearly your unelected Supreme Court has become the dominant arm of government and a major threat to your democracy, let alone the right of a woman to choose.

      Like

  3. Dana permalink

    But Ray, all of the situations in the book had already happened to women at some point, or were happening. That was the point of the story, and it is quite different from her other works. I read others as well, but barely recall any of them. The Handmaid’s Tale always stood out in detail in my mind.

    Like

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