“You want some regulation of bodies and choice? Done!”, U.S democrat Dar’shun Kendrick posted on Twitter, moments before releasing her ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’ in a confrontational opposition to HB 481, aka the Heartbeat Bill.
Georgia’s House of Representatives passed the Heartbeat Bill in early March, which imposed control on abortions. More specifically, it entailed stopping abortions after the sixth week, which is when medically a heartbeat can be monitored. Hence they’ve named it the ‘Heartbeat Bill’.
Now you may be thinking: six weeks is plenty of time to get an abortion, but not if you only discover your pregnancy after the six week mark. This could be the case in a hundred scenarios; for instance, what about women who have irregular periods, periods that have altogether stopped, women who are on birth control that has failed (do not forget that 1% ineffectiveness), or just busy women who do not pay that much attention to their cycle.
Even if monitoring periods was an effective way to diagnose pregnancy, what happens if a woman is five weeks pregnant but only a week late for their period? With the de-funding of planned parenthood among other things, getting an abortion in America is a bureaucratic nightmare that definitely cannot happen in under seven days.
To suggest women should have an abortion within six weeks of conception is just not feasible and is frankly ridiculous. It is not enough time to even know you are pregnant, let alone consider what to do with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, which makes this legislation, as Kendrick points out, just another way to control women’s bodies and choices.
That is what makes her ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’ so poignant. She mercilessly rips apart HB 481, all whilst not mentioning it at all, instead, she shows the world what the opposite would look like if the shoe were on the other foot. Her five-point plan for a ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’ included:
1.Requiring men to get permission from their partner before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.
2. Banning vasectomy procedures in Georgia and penalising doctors who perform them.
3. Having sex without a condom to be made an “aggravated assault” crime for men.
4. Require men to begin paying child support when the woman is six weeks and one day pregnant, per a paternity test required at the same time.
5. Create a twenty-four-hour “waiting period” for men who wish to purchase porn or sex toys in the state of Georgia.
The point of this is that yes, it is extreme; yet we control women in the same way, such as forcing them to carry children they do not want, not holding fathers accountable, or, less than fifty years ago requiring, male consent for birth control. It has become so normalised in this society to control women that we do not even see the extremism in that control anymore. Kendrick brings that to the forefront in her ‘Bill of Rights’ and holds a glaring mirror up to those who wish for abortion "reforms", which are really just masks for patriarchal control.
Kendrick is completely aware this bill will not pass, but she hopes to demonstrate the double-standard in body control legislation that becomes exceedingly apparent in this plan. Personally, I hope she succeeds in waking people up to the control that is enforced on women's autonomy; however, for Republican-controlled Georgia this seems largely unlikely.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor