In my state, if someone breaks into my house, I am allowed to use deadly force to protect myself or others. This is thanks to the legal doctrine known as the Castle Doctrine.
Traditionally, the Castle Doctrine has been used to justify violence against people of color, but there’s a serious case for using the doctrine to protect birthing people’s right to an abortion.
You’re probably already aware that the human right for birthing people to have an abortion is under attack from the Supreme Court, which seeks to overturn the Roe V. Wade protections for abortion. It’s a sickening and unprecedented move that has flared up emotions across the board.
But this issue goes beyond simply having the fundamental right of bodily autonomy: for birthing people, this is a matter of life or death. Giving birth is 11 times more dangerous than an abortion, according to Planned Parenthood.
Abortion is a very safe procedure in countries where it’s legal, like the United States. In the U.S., abortion is about twice as safe as a shot of penicillin, and is 11 times safer than giving birth. Contrary to what you may have heard, abortion does not increase the risk of
- birth defects, premature birth, or low birth weight in future pregnancies
- breast cancer
- ectopic or tubal pregnancy
- future miscarriage
The fact is that, at current rates, nearly one-third of all women in the U.S will have an abortion by the time they’re 45 years old.
It is well within almost any conception of human rights that a birthing person’s basic human rights must include the right to protect themself from the dangers of pregnancy and full term birth. And, it follows, the use of force against fetuses and those who force pregnancies upon others is legally justified as self-defense.
In their naked attempt to force pregnancies on us, the Christian zealots of the right instead forced our hand. The time has come to fully develop this rights-based and pro human version of Castle Doctrine and canoe it into culture and the legal system.
Pivoting the 2nd Amendment and the Castle Doctrine into a force for good
The very concepts underpinning the 2nd Amendment and the Castle Doctrine are extremely contested, and for good reasons. But look, you don’t have to tell me that the 2nd Amendment has always been an important weapon in the arsenal of white supremacy and misogyny. I’d be the first person to sign up for mandatory gun buybacks, so don’t get the wrong idea about me.
And the Castle Doctrine, in particular, is especially problematic. As a result of widespread systemic racism, people of color and indigenous Americans often have no choice but to take from the rich in order to feed their families. The Castle Doctrine and the legal concepts of “stand your ground” and “self-defense” were created to justify violence against these people of color. Simply put, it’s an ugly, evil, and disgusting doctrine of genocide of people of color.
However, it seems like the Castle Doctrine is here to stay, especially in red states. Thankfully, some birthing people have been able to subvert the law for good, which is exactly the thing that I’m proposing in this piece.
For example, there’s the story of Pam Loman in Oklahoma, a Castle Doctrine state. Her house was being broken into by a white man who it is believed may have been attempting to forcefully impregnate her. Once the white man noticed that Pam had a gun, he ran for his life.
Pam’s story is just one example of a birthing person using legally justified deadly force against someone seeking to force pregnancy upon them. In other words, there is real legal precedent here.
Pregnancy is violence. Period.
It’s been well-documented throughout history that pregnancy is violence, and intentional implantation of a fetus has often used as a tool by the patriarchy to dominate birthing people.
This is because in relatively recent history, up to 1 in 3 birthing people died during childbirth. And as explained above, abortion literally saves lives because the operation is 11 times safer than pregnancy.
Giving birth in the middle ages was a dangerous time for women and childbirth did not discriminate. Young mothers, older mothers, poor or rich mothers, all could die not only in childbirth but also due to complications afterwards. Sadly, more than one in three women died during their child-bearing years.
There have been over 60 million abortions since the life saving Roe V. Wade SCOTUS decision. In other words, abortion could have possibly saved the lives of up to 20 million birthing people.
Conservatives and Elon bros often try to claim that the “lives” of the parasites known as fetuses (and yes, fetuses meet all scientific criteria for the definition “parasite”) are more important than the lives of birthing people.
But they are being disingenuous and engaging in something called concern trolling. Fetuses attack the immune systems of their hosts and literally cause death in many cases.
In other words, science itself agrees that aborting the fetus is self-defense. If conservatives are allowed to “defend themselves” against people of color liberating property, then birthing people are certainly allowed to defend themselves against bodily harm.
There can be no argument against it. If pregnancy is violence, and the Castle Doctrine allows people to protect themselves against violence, then the only available and humane conclusion is that the legal doctrine also protects the right to abortion and the right to self-defense against fetuses and those who force pregnancy.
But “not like that,” I can already hear the conservatives wail. Because to them, property trumps human lives. But they are wrong. They are so wrong. And they are about to find out.
Because they fucked around.
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