Mother's Day 2022: The Real Reproductive Rights Battle Isn't Abortion, It's to Have and Raise Children
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, through a spokesman, declared “reproductive rights” the paramount struggle of humanity this week. He is right, but not in any way recognizable to him or his organization.
Support for abortion around the world is slowly diminishing today. Even so, in practice, the world is far more hostile to the idea of having a baby than killing it – from the near-total lack of prenatal care in parts like Africa and South America to Japan’s infamous “maternity harassment,” from China forcibly fitting tens of thousands of Uyghur women with IUDs to American celebrities and megacorporations promising women everything from an executive title to a Golden Globe statue if they reject their internal desire for motherhood.
“The Secretary General has long believed that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation for lives of choice, empowerment and equality for the world’s women and girls,” Farhan Haq, Guterres’ spokesman, said on Tuesday. “Without the full participation of 50% of its population, the world would be the biggest loser.”
“Women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their bodies and their health,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the U.N.’s World Health Organization (W.H.O.), similarly proclaimed on Friday. “Restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of procedures — it drives women and girls towards unsafe ones. Access to safe abortion saves lives.”
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (R) talks to Syrian women and girls during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border with war-ravaged Syria on March 28, 2017. (THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)
By “reproductive rights,” Guterres meant abortion – the “right” to kill a child (Tedros openly discussed only abortion). The two were responding to the illegal leak of a draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, which concluded in 1972 – before ultrasound technology and non-invasive prenatal testing was the order of the day in America – that a woman’s right to “privacy” was a constitutional guarantee that prevented states from stopping her from killing her child. The new decision, which Supreme Court Justice John Roberts confirmed is not final, would leave abortion laws to the states, not outlaw abortion, as leftists have disingenuously argued (never mind ban interracial marriage or outlaw homosexuality, as they have somehow concluded).
The debate around Roe on the left this week largely takes for granted the idea of abortion (and infanticide, as former Virginia Governor Ralph Northram famously promoted) as a liberalizing tool in women’s lives and the concept of motherhood, in essence, as 18 years of slavery. The reality for women in most of the world does not align with this view – often most loudly proclaimed from the summit of the world’s elite, out of the mouths of men.
Women around the world have to fight everything from mosquitos to Amazon human resources to fulfill the dream of motherhood. Societies of all economic statuses are actively hostile towards mothers and children. And for the few who do give birth, few things are more diverse than the number of ways the world tries to strip mothers of the power to raise their children.
Naturally, disease and lack of access to pre- and postnatal care are the biggest threats to motherhood in underdeveloped countries. Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and Zika virus (which causes cerebral deformations in unborn children) are paramount threats. Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and remote parts of Latin America – often tropical climates where mosquitos thrive – consistently document the lowest rates of access to prenatal care.
Mothers and their newborns rest in a maternity center in Caracas, on December 15, 2011. (LEO RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images)
In socialist Venezuela, for example, dictator Nicolás Maduro’s plundering of the healthcare system sent maternal and infant mortality ratesskyrocketing in the latter half of the 2010s. “Between 2015 and 2016, maternal deaths grew by 65 per cent and child mortality after six days of being born increased by 53 per cent” in Venezuela, according to the United Nations. The Maduro regime has essentially stopped publishing health statistics after global observers began pressuring the socialists to fix the problem. Venezuela’s leftist constitution has a right to health care enshrined in it, but under socialism the country functionally does not have a healthcare system. Abortion is illegal there, but increasingly popular due to the lack of access to most major contraceptives, along with nearly every other medical product.
In neighboring Brazil, under socialist President Dilma Rousseff, the Zika crisis of 2016 exposed a total lack of understanding in how to handle maternity care. For those who are not pregnant, Zika typically causes mild illness, though it can sometimes lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a crippling auto-immune disease. For unborn children, it is often a death sentence, causing microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s skull is too small for its body and crushes the brain. Rousseff responded to the health problem with the biggest military operation in Brazil’s history, fighting the mosquitos with soldiers and leaving mothers to fend for themselves.
Brazilian Army soldiers pass out pamphlets on Copacabana beach warning of the dangers of the Zika virus and how to protect against mosquitos on February 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The World Health Organization and developed world in general only add to the obstacles mothers face in these parts of the world. The W.H.O. has launched extensive campaigns, for example, to browbeat and shame women who cannot produce breast milk for using baby formula. The W.H.O. wants women to breastfeed for two years. While most women in wealthy countries have been lamentably familiar with the false slogan “breast is best” for a while, to the detriment of their mental health, the W.H.O. is flooding Africa and Latin America with similar propaganda, much of it based on poor science.
Tedros called breastfeeding a “vaccine,” for example, during “World Breastfeeding Week” last year.
#Breastfeeding offers a powerful line of defense against all forms of child malnutrition. It acts as a first vaccine for 👶🏽, protecting them against many common childhood illnesses, while reducing 👩🏽’s future risk of diabetes, obesity & some forms of cancer. pic.twitter.com/dnb42nJ5wv
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 29, 2022
The men running things like “World Breastfeeding Week” appear unaware or uninterested in the scientific fact that “stress is the No. 1 killer of breastmilk supply.”
World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Shigeru Omi speaks at an anti-baby formula press conference at the WHO headquarters in Manila, 20 June 2007, following the WHO and UNICEF consultation on “breasfeeding protection.” (ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)
In the developed world, corporate culture can be the biggest obstacle to motherhood. Japan – widely recognized as having one of the world’s healthiest populations and functional healthcare systems – has experienced record lows in its birth rate and child population repeatedly over the past decade. The reason is simple: nearly every aspect of Japanese life is hostile to mothers. Companies actively pressure women to have abortions to keep them from being less profitable. The few women who defy this pressure face constant discrimination, from a total lack of consideration for the health difficulties of pregnancy to being told to simply quit and drop out of society entirely. Bosses pressure mothers who have already had a child to “wait their turn” or “take a break” for years, potentially forcing them into riskier pregnancies later in life.
Japan’s entirely male-dominated government has been aware for years that its anti-child policies have put the entirety of the ethnic Japanese population on the path to extinction and has tried to address this without addressing the rights of mothers. Programs like state-sponsored egg-freezing and artificial intelligence matchmaking have done almost nothing to reverse the birth rate collapse.
Abortion is legal under certain circumstances in Japan and requires the male partner to consent.
In this picture taken on May 8, 2015, a mother holds her child in the subway in Tokyo. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)
Much of the West is on the same path, albeit somewhat less dramatically. Italy, Spain, France, and America, have documented catastrophic birth rate drops, though not as bad as those in Japan and China. Their stories lack the obvious villains of both those nations (intransigent corporate culture warriors and the Communist Party, respectively), but share with them a clearly hostile environment towards the entire concept of motherhood, from conception to the child reaching adulthood.
In America, the largest and loudest corporations, the ones most obnoxiously proclaiming their love of “social justice” and “equality,” are beginning to offer women thinking about becoming mothers false promises like paid egg-freezing. Touted as the “ultimate workplace perk,” the painful process of extracting a woman’s eggs and attempting to cryogenically preserve them often fails. The success rate of egg-freezing – the percentage of processes that result in newborns – is around one percent, a fertility expert told the BBC in 2020.
Egg freezing party t-shirt displayed at WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary Day 1 on October 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25)
“It’s an expensive lottery ticket,” Dr. Emily Goulet explained to NBC News in 2019. “If you win, you get the best payout ever: You get a child. But if you don’t win, you feel scammed.”
This week, corporations like Amazon, Citigroup, Yelp, Uber, and Lyft announced this would cut the middleman and just pay for employees to travel to undergo abortions, dodging motherhood as a potential barrier to squeezing the maximum profit out of every woman.
The women who manage to overcome these barriers and have a child face a society that has largely already concluded for them that they will not be raising their child most of the time. Homeschooling – the ultimate act of maternal autonomy – is still frowned upon for allegedly producing poorly socialized, undereducated, or even abused children. The left actively challenges concepts like charter schools that give mothers active authority over the majority of hours in their child’s day. A one-income household is a fantasy for many families. For women who want to work and raise their child – even after the past two years proved that technology can allow for both mothers and fathers in certain industries to work from home with their children – the expectation is that they will simply not parent. Teachers, nannies, day cares – anyone but the mother – will raise that child if a woman wants a place in society.
A woman works at a distribution station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on February 5, 2019. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Despondent as the situation may seem in the West, nowhere is the war on motherhood more violent and revolting than in China. For decades, China imposed a “one-child policy” that banned women from having more than one successful pregnancy. Women who “illegally” got pregnant a second time were forced into harrowing government abortions or infanticides if caught. Given that they could only have one child, many women were pressured into ensuring that child was a son, resulting in an untold number of baby girls being left out to die of starvation or exposure, sometimes in marketplaces or other public areas.
The result of this policy is that China currently has 35 million more men than women and one of the world’s worst birth rates due to the severe shortage of women of child-bearing age. The Communist Party increased the “one-child policy” to a “three-child policy” in 2021, which has had no effect on the birth rate collapse.
A woman cycles pass a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child, along a road leading to a village in the suburb of Beijing, 25 March 2001. (GOH CHAI HIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Even this impending economic and social disaster has not forced the Communist Party to adopt friendlier policies towards motherhood – at least not for all Chinese. China is currently conducting a genocide against one of the few populations that had previously shown healthy birth rates: the Uyghur people of East Turkistan, who are distinct in language, religion, and culture from the majority Han ethnic group. Rather than encouraging Uyghur communities to build larger families in the face of low birth rates, dictator Xi Jinping has executed a mass sterilization campaign.
Given the secrecy with which China governs East Turkistan, outside experts do not have an exact date for when the forced sterilizations began. At least one local doctor who escaped said she performed 80 sterilizations a day for years; some eyewitnesses say Communist Party officials executed operations to sterilize the female population of entire villages at a time. Experts suggest hundreds of thousands of women, at least, have lost their ability to have children, but the witnesses affected have testified in ways that make it difficult to know exactly how they have been sterilized. Intrauterine devices (IUDs), Depo Provera implants, and hysterectomies are among the most prevalent ways China is believed to be sterilizing Uyghur women.