The radical rightwing war on women is targeting mothers particularly and specifically. This Mother’s Day passed with some horrendous markers.
Maternal mortality rate in the United States, already the highest among the industrialized nations, is expected to increase since religious ideologues have made pregnancy a criminal enterprise. The CDC has already reported a 40% spike in mothers dying before their first Mother’s Day.
Even before the radical religious ideologues on the Supreme Court overturned women’s constitutional right to reproductive freedom, the rate of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021 for banned states was 47.5 compared to the national rate of 32.8. In the year since the Dobbs decision, states have effectively shut down reproductive care (including for women suffering miscarriage) for 20 million women. W
omen who have the unfortunate status to live in states under abortion bans are three times more likely to die during pregnancy. Abortion bans are expected to increase maternal mortality by 24 percent.
Tens of thousands of mothers, children, spouses on this Mothers Day are mourning the loss of loved ones to gun violence – massacred going to the grocery store, shopping mall, bank, hospital, office, school and campus, knocking on the wrong door, pulling into the wrong driveway, thanks to the radical rightwing ideologues who believe the 2nd Amendment singularly sacred, while dismissing the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as no more significant than chopped liver.
How many mothers must mark the loss of a child this Mother’s Day? There have been more than 200 mass shootings so far in 2023, more than one a day; 120 people – somebody’s mother, spouse, child, or sibling – are killed each and every day in the United States.
One of them was a 26-year-old girlfriend, shot dead by a 22-year-old Texas man after she traveled to Colorado to get an abortion. (https://jezebel.com/a-22-year-old-texas-man-fatally-shot-his-partner-for-tr-1850432906)
Everytown and Moms Demand Action held Mother’s Day of Action weekend events across the country calling on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban. (Gun massacres fell 37% while ban was in place, 1994-2004, and rose by 183% after ban expired.)
Mothers and children are especially affected by climate change which is destroying lives and livelihoods across the country and throughout the world, making refugees of 20 million people.
Add to this the effort by the radical rightwing to eradicate the very notion of public health and environmental protection (along with voting rights) underway all the way up to the Supreme Court.
“Motherhood in America is in trouble,” write the Moms Rising leadership (www.momsrising.org), “and as we celebrate and remember the moms who’ve inspired us on this Mother’s Day, we also, raise the very serious complexities of being a mother in our nation everyday:
- It’s serious because childcare still costs more than college in most states—and most childcare programs don’t even take infants under 6 weeks old. That means that even if you can afford childcare, you’re still out of luck if you’re one of the 1 in 4 moms who have to go back to work within two weeks of a new baby arriving. Despite the fact that virtually every other nation has some form of paid family/medical leave after a new baby arrives, we don’t.
- Serious because care workers (most of whom are moms) are some of the lowest-paid workers in our nation. Impossible because moms, who are 6 out of 10 of the people who need and have abortions, are facing dangerous and drastic restrictions on their ability to decide if and when their family grows.
- Serious because becoming a mom is increasingly dangerous as shown by the CDC reporting a 40% spike in moms dying before their first Mother’s Day, and that Black women are 3 times as likely to die in childbirth. Impossible because being a mom is now a greater predictor of wage and hiring discrimination than gender—and due to structural racism, moms of color experience increased wage hits to the extent that Latina moms earn just 46 cents, and Black moms just 52 cents, to a white dad’s dollar.
- And it’s serious because when our children come into this impossible situation, we are all forced to sit with deep fear for them when they go to school, to the movies, to the park, or out in the world because guns are now the leading cause of childhood death in America where the right to bear arms overrides the right to raise our children in safety.
Moms Rising is advancing a freedom agenda.
For quality, affordable child care, and for aging and disability services; paid family and medical leave when a new child arrives or a serious illness strikes; medications and healthcare, including mental health services, we can afford. For the freedom to make our own decisions about if, and when, we grow our families without interference from politicians.
Make childbirth safe for everyone; welcome immigrants with dignity and respect. Invest in communities instead of prisons; have all our votes counted; for our children and families to live without gun violence, community violence, and police violence; for the wealthy and mega-corporations to pay their fair share.
“Advance programs that unite and lift us all – and to make clear that well-funded efforts by a vocal minority to divide us and take away our freedoms through censorship, book bans, health care denials do not provide the solutions we want or need. We know the solutions that will lift our nation and put families first.”
The Biden-Harris administration is doing its level best to uphold reproductive freedom, achieve equal pay and a living wage, improve access to affordable child care and health care, keep us safe from wanton gun violence, address climate change and create a humane immigration policy, against formidable opposition and obstruction.
“We rise because moms work hard every day of the year and deserve leaders in every political party who have our back in the moments of celebration like Mother’s Day, and also in the quiet exhausted moments too. Having our backs means advancing the policies that give us the tools to build a good life for ourselves, for our children, and for our children’s children – and to lift the economy at the same time. We know how to solve the care crisis we collectively face,” writes Moms Rising.
Rise up and vote accordingly.