Confessional to the Women We’ve Failed

Al het she’khatanu l’fanekha
For the sin we have sinned against you
the woman with kidney disease whose doctors say her pregnancy is life threatening,
the woman who has high blood pressure whose doctors say her pregnancy may kill her,
the woman with clinical depression and suicide ideation who is criminalized for saving herself,
the woman who doesn’t know for months that she is pregnant because of heavy spotting,
the woman who doesn’t know for months that she is pregnant because of an irregular period,
the girl who doesn’t know for months that she is pregnant because she has only just started puberty,
Al het she’khatanu l’fanekha
For the sin we have sinned against you
the woman suffering an ectopic pregnancy who is called “murderer” on her way to her appointment,
the parents who are told their baby will be born with anencephaly, without a brain, and are called “murderers,”
the woman who is told there is no heartbeat and is called “murderer” on her way to the clinic,
the woman who miscarries and is criminalized because she cannot prove it was natural,
the parent who is told that if born, their baby will live in excruciating pain and won’t survive past infancy,
the girl who is ostracized, shamed and criminalized while he who impregnates her is free,
Al het she’khatanu l’fanekha
For the sin we have sinned against you
the family who doesn’t have health insurance and barely survives paycheck to paycheck,
the woman living in a rural, remote town who cannot afford the transportation, hotel and time off for a procedure,
the partner who loses their job for taking the days needed to travel over state lines for their spouse’s care,
the children who are not taught sex education and are not given access to birth control,
the families who are not given paid parental leave or affordable childcare,
the woman who religiously took birth control to prevent pregnancy, but the birth control failed,
Al het she’khatanu l’fanekha
For the sin we have sinned against you
the woman who is a victim of reproductive coercion by a domestic abuser,
the woman who is impregnated as a victim of sex trafficking,
the girl who is impregnated through sexual violence and then retraumatized by the court,
the girl who is overpowered by a relative or person of authority,
the woman of color who faces racial and ethnic disparity in medicine, and less access to quality contraceptive services,
the Ukranian woman refugee who was raped by the same Russian soldier who murdered her children,
Al het she’khatanu l’fanekha
For the sin we have sinned against you
the mother who is imprisoned for acquiring misoprostol to end her teen daughter’s traumatic pregnancy,
the mother who is imprisoned for having an abortion in order to better feed and care for her children,
the woman who is imprisoned for terminating a pregnancy that was not conceived in love,
the daughter who suffers long term agony from terminating her pregnancy at the hands of untrained individuals in unhygienic environments, including vaginal and rectal tearing, future infertility, uterine perforations, hemorrhage, sepsis, blunt trauma, poisoning, and ruptured bowel,
the daughter who is too scared to ask for help and dies of torturous infection and blood loss from the rusty tools of a medical charlatan,
the daughter who doesn’t have any reason to trust lawmakers and adults, and suffers excruciating, unnecessary death.
Al het she’khatanu l’fanekha
For the sin we have sinned against you
For all of our failures to protect you, our daughters, mothers, partners and friends,
Don’t forgive us. Don’t pardon us. Don’t lead us to atonement.

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