The erasing of women from American society continues apace. This time, in Colorado.
On Monday, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed the new Reproductive Health Equity Act, which, according to its text, declares that a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of this state.”
In short, the law will codify the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade in guaranteeing abortion in Colorado, should the high court overturn that decision, which could happen this year. As it states, individual Coloradans have “the fundamental right … to make their own reproductive health-care decisions.”
But that’s not the memory hole down which women disappear. Rather the law’s language refers to “pregnant individuals.”
In one section, it notes, “When individuals decide to have an abortion or use contraception, it is critical that they get care on a timeline that works for their health, with the support of providers whom they trust.”
In another part, the law says, “a pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion and to make decisions about how to exercise that right.”
It further states, public agencies shall not “deprive, through prosecution, punishment, or other means, an individual of the individual’s right to act or refrain from acting during the individual’s own pregnancy based on the potential, actual, or perceived impact on the pregnancy, the pregnancy’s outcomes, or on the pregnant individual’s health.”
In commenting on the bill at its enactment, Polis noted, “This bill codifies a person’s right to make reproductive health care decisions free from government interference.”
Polis added, “In the state of Colorado, the very serious decision to start a pregnancy, or to end a pregnancy, with medical assistance, remains between a person, their doctor, and their faith.”
The law does make a reference to “women” – just one. That occurs when it cites the Mississippi abortion case now before the Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
American women for decades fought for the right to vote, the right to equal pay, the right to serve in the military including in combat, the right to higher education, and even the “right” to an abortion.
And yet after all that struggle, they are gradually being erased so as to be labeled “birthing people,” “pregnant individuals,” and “womxn.”
Editors note: Dictionary.com, which added womxn and 300 other words to its dictionary in 2019, defines womxn as “a woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women).