Imagine the mothers in Afghanistan.
The ones who were able to attend school as children, but were forced to keep their daughters at home when the Taliban took over.
Consider how much it must hurt for your daughter to have fewer rights and opportunities than you had because religious extremists forced their beliefs on an entire country.
Imagine the mothers in Texas.
The ones who knew that if they experienced an unwanted pregnancy, they had the right to make their own medical decisions. The ones whose daughters may not have that same right.
Today, a 6-week-old fetus -- the size of a grain of rice -- has more rights than 15 million women in Texas. The potential of life in a woman's body has more value than her own life.
A new law in Texas bans virtually all abortions after six weeks of gestation, and as of early Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to intervene on an emergency appeal. Senate Bill 8 allows any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates the ban -- even total strangers with no connection to anyone involved. The radical law will force a girl who is raped or impregnated by her father to carry her pregnancy to term if she can't terminate within six weeks of her assault.
Many women do not even know they are pregnant that early.
Today in Texas, Roe v. Wade is dead.
The high court is still expected to rule on an emergency application from Texas abortion providers, and will later take up a Mississippi case that bans abortion after 15 weeks. It's a dystopian nightmare. It should frighten all of us -- even those who are not personally affected, including men and people beyond childbearing age -- but it is especially painful for those of us with daughters we have taught to cherish their freedoms, embrace their opportunities and value their inherent self-worth.
What will we tell our daughters about how their bodies became a political battlefield that radicals claimed as theirs to rule?
What do they think when they see anti-maskers co-opting the pro-choice language of "my body, my choice"? Are these same folks just as outraged about the state's overreach into a woman's uterus?
There is widespread consensus among the medical and scientific community worldwide that masks slow the spread of the virus still killing people in great numbers. However, there is no consensus on the point at which life begins in the womb. The answer to that question relies on personal religious and philosophical beliefs. Everyone is entitled to their own answers, but in a theocracy, those who control the government force their answers upon others.
There's a popular misconception that human rights continue to progress forward over time. We've seen that proven untrue time and again. A right many of us have taken for granted for almost 50 years -- our bodily sovereignty -- can be erased with a governor's pen stroke.
I grew up in Texas. So many women I love -- my mother, sisters, nieces, cousins and friends -- still live there. I worry about what this means for their lives, but I also know this governmental intrusion reaches far beyond a single state.
For those who are cheering this moment, how will you react when these power-wielding "protectors of the fetus," many of whom believe life begins at conception, declare that birth control must be banned to save "babies'" lives? This isn't a far-fetched notion. Earlier this year in Missouri, Republican lawmakers put up a fight to try to get the IUD, a highly effective form of birth control, restricted -- falsely equating it to abortion.
The truth is that this new Texas law won't actually end abortions after six weeks. Those who can afford it will simply travel to places where they can get safe medical care. Just as they always have.
But how many of our daughters will suffer irreparable harm from the zealots who aimed to control them?
Imagine the mothers in America.