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Taking a Stand for Women

I usually shy away from writing about extremely controversial topics. I respect that people have a right to their opinions even when we disagree. But sometimes, what needs to be discussed is too important to stay silent. It has been a tough decision to stick my neck out, but as I was thinking about what to write, I immediately ran across this meme on Facebook:

It said, “NEVER WORRY about who will be offended if you speak the truth. Worry about who will be misled, deceived, and destroyed if you don’t.” If that wasn’t a sign from the Divine, I don’t know what is.

We are at a pivotal time for women’s rights. Because of my mission to help women step into their power, I must speak the truth even though some of you might be offended. So, buckle in, and please try to keep an open mind.

Every woman in our state and our country is on the precipice of losing their bodily autonomy. On the surface, this fight seems to be over abortion, a women’s right to end a pregnancy. But it’s also about control and letting the government mandate what we do with our bodies and future.

The main reason I believe our loss of bodily autonomy is more about controlling women than protecting potential life is the complete lack of accountability for men. Since it takes two to tango, to produce a zygote, why is it only the woman being controlled and punished?

If we really want to prevent pregnancies, why wouldn’t we start with men who are 100% responsible for irresponsible ejaculations? It’s as if men bear no responsibility for their part of the action, from birth control to child-rearing. To be clear - there are zero consequences for men who cause unwanted pregnancies.

And since these rights to control our bodies affect only women, what’s happening right now will change the lives of our daughters and granddaughters. It hasn’t been very many years since women gained the right to independence and control over their bodies.

  • 1965 - Birth control was legalized for married couples.

  • 1972 – Birth control was legalized for single women.

  • 1974 - Women can establish credit in her own name without a man as co-signer.

  • 1977 – The first time sexual harassment is recognized in court.

  • 1978 – It became illegal to fire a woman from her job for being pregnant.

  • 1980 – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission officially defines sexual harassment.

We all need to pay attention and take a stand, or women will lose these rights and the financial freedom that comes with it.

If Roe v. Wade, a ruling that made safe abortions legal in the United States since 1973, is overturned, the right to have control over our bodies will become a state issue. Currently, our state constitution protects women’s bodily autonomy rights in Kansas. We have Clarina Nichols to thank for that.

Clarina was a suffragist and Free Stater who came to Kansas in 1855 to fight to end slavery and to extend women’s rights. She scoured the state to find the settlers making Kansas their home, gaining their support to include these principles in the state constitution.

She brought 600 signatures to the meeting where the Free Staters’ constitution was being drafted, petitioning to add access to education, women’s rights, and bodily autonomy to the highest laws of the state.

Thanks to her, people in Kansas would be free, educated, and have control of their own pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. The Kansas Constitution starts with Rights for all Kansans before going into the powers of government, emphasizing the supremacy placed on the rights of individuals over the establishment of government.

On August 2nd, the voters of Kansas are being asked to vote on making a change to this constitution. The stated purpose of this amendment is to give politicians the power to ban abortions totally, following the lead of other states who are criminalizing ending pregnancy even in cases of incest, rape, and danger to the mother’s life.

Changing the constitution will give the government the right to interfere in our personal healthcare decisions. Whether you are for or against abortion, do we really want to give up that right? How do you shut Pandora’s box of government overreach into our bodies once we give up the right to bodily autonomy?

The wording of the “Value Them Both” Amendment is intentionally confusing. This critical vote has been scheduled for a primary election, which typically has the lowest voter turnout. This timing is also intentional. Politicians behind this ban are purposely trying to confuse and mislead voters.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Yes – Amends the Kansas constitution to say that nothing in the constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.

  • No – Opposes changing the constitution and maintains the legal precedent that there is a right to abortions in the Kansas Bill of Rights.

This is an emotional, controversial issue. People that want abortion banned believe they are protecting unborn babies. But there’s much disagreement over when life begins, usually based on religious views. I do understand not condoning abortions for oneself based on religious convictions. However, I can’t understand laws limiting other people’s health care decisions by dictating morality based religious beliefs.

Because this is an emotional and moral issue, lies are knowingly being spread to enrage and manipulate people into thinking this is a simple issue of protecting the unborn. But if that was the case, why do these ads purposely tell lies to coerce people into making decisions based on reactions rather than reason. I saw a commercial recently that was nothing but lies.

Here’s the truth:

  • Abortion is already heavily regulated in Kansas.

  • Procedures are banned after 22 weeks, about four weeks before the embryo is considered viable, developed to the point it can survive outside the uterus.

  • Parental consent is required for any woman under 18.

  • Government funding for abortion has been outlawed since the Hayes Act passed in 1997.

  • There have been zero post-viability abortions in Kansas since 2018.

  • “Moments before birth” and “after birth” abortions are illegal and have never happened, though this scare tactic is often used by people who would ban abortion.

Women’s health is complicated and one best left between a woman and her medical practitioner. There are physical and mental health issues these bans don’t consider. I am constantly astounded by how little the men enacting these laws know about how our bodies work. They don’t understand and don’t care about women’s health care.

In response to these laws, I’m hearing stories of women who would have died if they had not had an abortion. These are women with ectopic pregnancies or who had miscarriages that would have turned to sepsis without medical treatment or would have died during childbirth for a million other reasons.

Complications for these unborn babies aren’t being considered either. There can be abnormalities so severe there’s nothing doctors can do to save the life. Besides, we already need to do better by the children that are already born. It does not show support to children and families to cut social programs that protect children and lift them out of poverty, and even voting against helping families procure infant formula during a crisis. As we look to ban abortion, there are over 6,000 children in Kansas in the frightening broken foster system waiting for a home. How can we advocate for birth, to then ignore life?

Then there are the mental health considerations of these shockingly harsh laws. Rape and incest are traumatic enough without a living reminder, especially when the penalty for abortion is far more extreme than these crimes. No woman “wants” to get an abortion, so if she decides she can’t give birth, she probably has a damn good reason that a forced pregnancy will make worse.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. As you can tell I’m passionate about this topic. My sincere apologies to anyone I offended with this post. Please understand I respectfully accept your right to have your own opinion, and I love you even if we disagree. As I was finishing this article, I ran into another meme that gave me the fortitude to post what I’ve written.

No matter how you vote, speak up for your beliefs. Your rights are up for a vote, and by not voting, you’re giving up those rights.

Much love,

Headmistress Jill


Because We’re Never Finished

The Finishing School for Modern Women, located in Wichita, Kansas, offers classes to help women find their authentic selves; not because we need finishing, but because we’re never finished. We bring together women of all ages, to learn from experts and each other, how to claim our power in business, finance, communication, and life.

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