I’ve written before about abortion narratives in mpreg, and why it was particularly important to me to include one in Boardroom Omega. As much as it does not end with one, putting the option on the page was important.
Obviously, the situation in the US continues to deteriorate, and the rest of the world looks on. If the US can backslide so much, how vulnerable are the rest of us?
The leaked SCOTUS draft, followed by laws banning not just abortion but IUDs and IVF, comes a couple weeks before Omega on Top Book 2 hits shelves. Glitterati Omega doesn’t discuss abortion like Boardroom Omega does. But it still presents a treatise on why reproductive justice matters.
That got me thinking: the two books are, by and large, a discussion of why reproductive rights must be upheld.
Boardroom Omega and Abortion
The first book in the series, as noted, discusses abortion in a very frank way. The main character has an accidental pregnancy and seeks an abortion. The book even cites Roe v. Wade as establishing the limits of “viability,” thus allowing abortion up to about 24 weeks. (It was 28 in 1973, when the case was originally decided. Medical advances have made premature birth around 24 weeks viable.)
The character deliberates. While he’s able to care for a child from a financial point of view, he doesn’t feel capable of providing emotional care.
In other words, he identifies himself as a “bad” mother. He recognizes his limitations and suggests, at multiple points, that he’s likely going to traumatize a child, via emotional abuse.
So, yes, he can “care” for the child in the sense that he can provide necessities of life. It comes down to, more or less, that he doesn’t want to. And that is a very valid reason not to have a kid.
At the end of this deliberation, the character decides to go through with the pregnancy. The takeaway from this isn’t that people seeking abortion will change their minds. It’s that deciding on an abortion is a very personal choice, and people must make their own decisions.
What Happens When There Is No Choice
The reason that should be the takeaway from this narrative is that Perce’s path mirrors his own omega parent’s. We learn early on that Perce has a troubled relationship with Merl, who seems to “hate” him. Merl has been both cold and cruel, standoffish and controlling. In short, Merl abused Perce, which traumatized Perce. Perce’s fears, then, are that he’ll perpetrate the same kind of abuse on his own child.
Merl functions as “the big bad” in the story, yet we later learn that Merl is also a victim. It’s implied that Merl got pregnant out of wedlock with his first child and was “forced” to marry Art.
The subsequent children, Morgan and Perce alike, are the products of marital rape. Merl resents all his children and his husband.
This Situation Harms More People Than It Helps
Merl’s parenting, then, stems out of trauma and abuse. He maybe can’t look at his children without remembering the rape. Merl has had all his choices stripped away from him. He is stuck in a situation that re-traumatizes him virtually every day.
Is this really the type of environment children should grow up in? Is this kind of trauma fair to anyone in this situation? Merl must live not only with the trauma of rape but of having to bear children out of those rapes. Giving the children up adoption after doesn’t erase the compounding trauma he experienced. In fact, giving the kids up for adoption might constitute another trauma.
The same is true for the children. While living with Merl results in trauma and abuse, so too might adoption lead to trauma and abuse. Many adoptees have spoken out about the system, suggesting it is not all it’s cracked up to be. Even when children are raised in relatively loving homes, knowing their birth parents gave them up can cause deep trauma.
We cannot find the answer to Merl’s situation in adoption, then. It cannot save Merl, and it may not even save the children.
Bodily Autonomy Is the Only Answer
The only answer here, then, is bodily autonomy—reproductive rights. Merl shouldn’t have to marry his rapist to “save face.” He should be able to get an abortion. He should be able to have access to birth control and surgery such as a hysterectomy.
People are routinely denied these things in a world with Roe; the situation will get much, much worse in a post-Roe world. As noted, access to birth control like IUDs is already being rolled back. IUDs are expensive; they may not always be covered by insurance. In many cases, they’re already out of reach for people. Making them illegal will put them out of reach for many more. It also ignores the therapeutic benefits they can have for people with health issues like PCOS or endometriosis.
Medical Paternalism Can Suck It
Another route is surgical removal of these organs, such as a hysterectomy. But many doctors won’t perform these surgeries on people of childbearing age, arguing that they might change their minds. This is often said to people who already have children, let alone those who are nulliparous.
Tubal ligation is also often denied on the same grounds. In some places, the person seeking the surgery needs consent from their (presumed male) partner.
This is paternalism at its worst, the assumption that medical doctors “know better,” that they need to consult with “a man” in order to allow decisions about “a woman’s” body. People who can become pregnant are not allowed to make decisions about their own reproductive futures. Thus we end up with situations like Merl: bitter, resentful people who have been forced into bad situations and repeatedly traumatized.
The only answer, then, is to give people who could become pregnant full autonomy—no doctors refusing surgery because someone “might” change their mind, no lawmakers banning IUDs.
The Second Omega on Top Book Looks at Surgery, Miscarriage, and IVF
Some of these themes carry over into Glitterati Omega, where infertility makes up a good portion of the narrative. Rupert has endometriosis and has had ovarian cancer. He may or may not have any ovarian function left after treatment; there are concerns that the cancer will return.
Rupert is thus in a unique position compared to most people. His doctor is actually recommending a radical hysterectomy, despite the fact he’s never had children.
The reasoning on this is that Rupert is probably infertile. Endometriosis makes it harder for people to get pregnant, especially as they continue to age; it’s one of the leading causes of infertility. That, coupled with the cancer treatment and the loss of one ovary, mean Rupert’s chances of getting pregnant and carrying to term are relatively slim. His chances of the cancer coming back are higher.
Rupert, nonetheless, wants to have a baby, so he ends up ignoring medical advice and pursuing IVF. IVF is a treatment that leads to better outcomes in individuals with endometriosis. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy or pleasant, and it doesn’t always end successfully either.
Rupert is rather lucky, then, that IVF works.
As we can see, Rupert has a relatively difficult journey to getting pregnant: endometriosis, cancer, miscarriages, and finally, IVF.
Experience Can Be the Best Teacher
And even then, Rupert has a shitty experience being pregnant, so much so that by the end of it, he’s glad he’ll never have to do it again.
Rupert is a case study in how even a wanted pregnancy can take a toll on the pregnant person. Rupert’s story advocates for bodily autonomy—the ability to make his own decisions, to do what’s “right” for him.
And what is “right” for someone is always shifting ground. IVF is “right” for Rupert, despite medical doubt about its side effects on him; Rupert insists he wants to try it. And then being pregnant is not “right” for Rupert by the end of the story; he’s glad it’s over.
Other people decide that pregnancy is not right for them, ever. Others decide pregnancy is right. It’s a choice, unique to each person, and medical paternalism and the paternalism of the state is out of place. It is morally and ethically wrong to deny someone the choice to do what they will with their body.
And that leans into bigger issues around rights—privacy, freedom, how to live your life, or even life itself. Pregnancy and childbirth deprive many, many people of their lives. So do back alley abortions.
The state cannot manage the right to choose, the right to access abortion or birth control or even reproductive technologies like IVF. They need to be freely offered, so that individuals may choose which services are correct for them in any given moment.
Denying Healthcare Denies Humanity
Healthcare in the US largely doesn’t function on this principle anyway; many people avoid necessary healthcare due to the exorbitant costs associated with it. In turn, many people die or face disabling consequences. To see this in action, all we need to see is the debate around how inaccessible insulin treatment is for diabetics; the cost overrules the right to healthcare and life.
The same will be true of forced pregnancy and forced births; the denial of access to safe abortion will similarly force people to seek unsafe means. The death rate becomes astronomical—and that doesn’t even consider outcomes such as disability or trauma. It doesn’t consider social outcomes, such as abusive parenting and neglect.
(And, of course, that’s by design.)
We can thus see that the arguments against allowing people to have full autonomy, full control of their bodies, their lives is nonsensical. These sorts of laws harm everyone—even people like Rupert who desperately want children.
Different Answers for Different Moments in Time
At the end of Glitterati, Rupert is unable to have any more children. Yet we might contemplate a timeline where he might indeed get pregnant again.
Would Rupert consider an abortion? In all likelihood, he would. He has such a miserable time being pregnant, he might decide he doesn’t want to go back there ever again.
Rupert would have other options as well: surrogacy, for one. It’s unlikely he’d want to carry another pregnancy to term himself. If he did decide he wanted to undergo another pregnancy, then another round of IVF might be on the table.
All these options disappear under the laws passing in the US right now. That’s wrong. It denies someone like Rupert any choice at all, forces their hand. In other cases, it forces people like Merl to commit to pregnancies they don’t want.
In both scenarios, we end up with bitter, unfulfilled people who have had their choices stripped away from them—as well as their humanity.
Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights
Free choice allows each and everyone of us the freedom to fulfill our own destinies, to walk a path that feels “right”—which is no doubt more in line with what any invisible man in the sky might want.
Reproductive justice goes far beyond just abortion rights. It touches on everything from having safe sex to having sex with whom you please, to family planning.
Bodily autonomy, reproductive rights, reproductive justice, then are key to a functioning society. Without them, we end up with a psychotic society, the kind where Merl suffers and abuses his children, and those children must carry the scars of trauma. We end up in a dystopia where people like Rupert must deal with miscarriage after miscarriage—possibly even penalized for it—without any real hope of ever bringing a pregnancy to term.
That world is traumatic, and its children will bear the scars to the future. We’ve already seen that world, in the pre-Roe twentieth century. Frigid mothers, the Sixties Scoop, women who have more children than they can possibly raise due to marital rape—the list goes on and on.
Omega on Top is perhaps not as dystopian as this; certainly, I think it argues against the dystopian world laid out before us now. At its core, then, Omega on Top is case in point about why each and every one of us needs reproductive justice and bodily autonomy now.