A Word In Edgewise: Some Things Don’t Bear Repeating


Some things should never arise in the first place, and, having seen the light of day, should be quashed as they resurface. Take Texas Representative Matt Schaefer’s (R – Tyler) recent amendment.

Schaefer’s amendment made it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after twenty weeks, even if the fetus “has a severe and irreversible abnormality.” Schaefer would force every mother, already in jeopardy, to be forced by the state to live with and carry to term a dead fetus with no consideration for her health or her obstetrician’s advice.

Schaefer brushed aside the acute physical and emotional suffering that such a law would impose, peremptorily dismissing current medical evidence that carrying a nonviable fetus to term can lead to sepsis and the mother’s death along with the fetus. Suffering, he intoned, “is part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.”

In Schaefer’s belief system, his misogynistic, fundamentalist religious views have the moral right to trump both his constituents’ needs and modern medical science.

His amendment actually passed, but there was a hue and cry from his fellow legislators, and Schaefer removed it for “full committee review” after Trey Martinez Fischer, House member from San Antonio, filed a legislative point of order.

Schaefer’s words, unfortunately, are not new or only from his own narrow mind, but echo those of Georgia Representative Terry England who in 2012 wanted to impose the same strictures on pregnant women. I wrote then that England, also a farmer, lumped women with livestock explaining, “Life gives us many experiences…I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.” In England’s mind there was no acknowledgment that a woman, cognizant of the tragedy and danger of carrying her already dead child, might be in any way different from a pregnant cow or pig.

Representative Schaffer’s need to impose his religious will on women is as despicable now as England’s was then. The need to control women — reproductively and politically — keeps resurfacing, continuing to pollute. Simple empathy, modern technology, human or veterinary medical doctors’ opinions not withstanding, the intransigent won’t change or be eradicated. Like freshly-hatched bedbugs or Deepwater Horizon oil in the Gulf of Mexico, they’ll be back.

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