Some of you have probably tripped over this already, but if you’re looking for something to be outraged about, pull up a chair!

The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005 (Senate Bill 51 and House Bill 356) has been referred to committee in both the House and the Senate. It contains this definition:

WOMAN- The term `woman’ means a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant, whether or not she has reached the age of majority.

Hmm. I’m…not a woman. And neither is my mother. (Neat trick, huh? Pr’aps it’s hereditary…) If you’re menopausal, sterile, or on birth control, you’re not a woman under this definition. A twelve year old with early menarche is twice the woman you’ll ever be, honey.

Possibly we’re men, in which case I’m in a gay marriage, and James is in for a real shock. Or I could go off the pill, thereby making me a woman again, but then we couldn’t have sex, so the poor man may have to choose between upholding traditional family values and gettin’ laid.*

Really, I try not to be a deranged feminist. I’d like to think I’m pretty good about it. I go along believing I’m equal, and assuming pretty much everybody else who isn’t some kind of freakish religious dinosaur does too, and gritting my teeth at tampon commercials, and it generally works out. I can’t think of the last time I flew at someone, harpy claws extended, screaming “DIE YOU TOOL OF PATRIARCHAL OPPRESSION!” I go through whole weeks without dwelling on the fact that someone, somewhere, in power, probably believes that I’m basically a glorified uterus capable of simple housekeeping chores and the occasional blow job.

And in the grand run of things, since this is just a legal definition for the terms of one bill so that they can try to guilt-trip women getting abortions even further, it’s a minor point in a generally obnoxious piece of “Shame on you for having an abortion, you bad, bad woman!” legislation.

But come ON. At least a teeny bit of token effort on the part of people drafting this stuff. A shred. At least try to pretend that you’re not defining women’s importance by their possession of a uterus. I know you are, you know you are, but maintaining the polite fiction is the only thing that keeps me from thinking I’ve woken up in a Margaret Atwood novel.

*I suspect this will not be a difficult choice.

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