Politician Compares Pregnant Women to Farm Animals: Who Here Is Cool With That?

Sometime during pregnancy and early motherhood, most moms will start to feel a bit like a farm animal. Our bodies cease to be ours, we are poked and prodded like cattle, and finally, when the baby is here, those of us who breastfeed feel like cows on a milk production line. So when Georgia lawmaker Terry England compared women to livestock, you better believe we are going to take it personally.

England was debating whether women who are known to be carrying stillborn fetuses should be allowed to abort rather than carry to term. He used farm animals as the reason women should be forced to birth their babies dead.

England said:


Life gives us many experiences ... I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.

Ouch. I think my heart just broke a little for anyone who has gone through the unimaginable pain of delivering a stillborn fetus. I am sure they could say it was nothing at all like delivering a dead pig. And while I am sure that delivering a dead pig is tragic in its own right, nothing can even touch what it must feel like to have all that joy and excitement living in your belly and then to lose your baby.

Regardless of the issue, most people generally know it's just plain bad form to compare a woman -- pregnant or otherwise -- to livestock. Losing a human baby isn't the same as losing a pig. And to suggest otherwise is deeply painful to all who have lost children in utero.

Moms already feel bad enough about our bodies and how they are used in pregnancy. Did we really need to know that anyone thinks our losses and triumphs are on par with a cow's or a pig's?

Human women feel things. We love deeply and we can express that love in words, poetry, and emotions. A pregnancy is a beautiful, emotional, and sometimes scary time. For most of us, even the thought of still birth is too terrifying to contemplate. 

No offense to pigs, but I doubt their grief process is quite as long and difficult and heartbreaking as ours. I doubt that a pig (or a cow) loves as deeply as we do, even when our fetus is as big as a bean. For most moms, there is nothing scarier than the thought of losing a child.

Raising a human child is nothing like raising a pig or a horse or a donkey or a dog. Human beings are something else. But then that's obvious to all of us. Even on our worst day nursing our babies, even when we FEEL like livestock, we know we are not. That is what makes the bond between human mama and baby so special, unique, and beautiful.

Do you think this lawmaker's comment is outrageous?


Image via Emmett Tullos III/Flickr

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