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When misogynists feign empathy


Failed Republican presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy have both used their wives’ miscarriages to justify supporting (and, in Puddin’ Fingers Ron’s case, signing into law) draconian abortion bans. On its face, this is a non-sequitur. Given how abortion laws are enforced in practice, it is much worse than that:

In the wake of the GOP’s massive election losses, Republican men are suddenly realizing that their extremism is costing them votes. And what better way to prove that they’re not misogynist monsters than to co-opt the stories of their female loved ones?

Since Ramaswamy and DeSantis care so much about women who have miscarriages, let’s spend a moment looking at what it’s like to have a miscarriage these days.

When Kaitlyn Joshua had a miscarriage in Louisiana, she was turned away from two different emergency rooms because of the state’s abortion ban. The first hospital refused to confirm her miscarriage or advise her on treatment options. Instead, a nurse told her, “we’re praying for you.” When Joshua went to another ER the following day, she was bleeding so much that her pants were soaked through. Still, she was denied medication to speed up the miscarriage—or a referral to another hospital that might be able to help her. They wouldn’t even give her discharge papers stating that she was having a miscarriage.

Christina Zielke was filling up diapers with blood when an Ohio hospital discharged her, refusing to treat her miscarriage. Doctors told her they had to prove there was no fetal development and to come back in a few days. Zielke was bleeding so much that she had to sit in the tub; she began taking pictures each time the bottom filled up, “just trying to prove what was happening, because I felt like I wasn’t believed.” Then, she said, “I started to feel the world slip away….”

…When Marlena Stell had a miscarriage in Texas, she had to walk around for weeks with a dead fetus inside her. “I felt like a walking coffin,” she said. When Snell was finally able to find a clinic to treat her, “there were people with signs yelling at me that I was a baby killer.”

In Arizona, Nicole Arteaga had to step away to sob and call her husband when a pharmacist refused to dispense medication to treat her miscarriage. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…I felt there was nothing I could do and I had no control over my body.” And when Rachel Peterson tried to pick up her prescription, the pharmacist told her “as a good Catholic male” he wouldn’t help her.

This is what abortion bans do to people having miscarriages.

This is the present supporters of abortion criminalization want, and it is inconsistent with the equal citizenship of women no matter how often proponents speak as the husbands of wives and the fathers of daughters.

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