Suffer the Young Women

Image by Karl Magnuson.

It’s not your imagination. Life is definitely getting harder for almost all Americans, whether we are speaking of those tightrope walking as they balance escalating costs of living and stagnant wages or for those who have fallen off the rope completely, descending into an ever-widening homeless population. The very subjective nature of “it’s just so much more difficult now” is met with media and governmental sales pitches that deceptively frame single issues in a positive light, a policy of gas-lighting rather than righting failed policies. It’s the American way to allow the “Is it just me?”method of dealing with issues, avoiding the obvious need for an ethical overhaul in basically all civic arenas. It’s certainly what happens when the worst inclinations are rewarded on a short-term basis for the politicians and CEOs who benefit from the very problems they create.

Sometimes cold hard facts show up that aren’t amenable to the gas-lighting, however.

A recent report from the Population Reference Bureau, a non-profit research organization, has clear numbers that indicate just how utterly the United States has failed in terms of protecting the well-being of its citizens, in this case, Millennial and Gen Z women.

They looked specifically at the lives being led (and lost) by women 25-34 years old during the 2019-2021 time frame. Key takeaways include a suicide rate jumping from 4.4 out of 100,000 in the Gen X population (when they were the same age range) to a current 7 out of 100,000 for the Millennial/Gen Z studied group. The homicide rate has even inched up slightly for this group of young women, (up to 4.5 out of 100,000 overall from 4.3 for Gen X during their time at these same ages). Even more astounding is the increase for black women of this age group. They have a 60% increase in the homicide rate from the already enormous 9 out of 100,000 to 14 currently.

The most terrifying and telling stat is probably the maternal mortality rate. This rate has always lagged in the United States compared with other nations that have universal healthcare and other obvious measures of concern for citizens. But now this rate is up to a sickening 30.4 from 19 per 100,000 live births. This, in the nation that carries slogans such as “Care for them Both” in the anti-abortion state campaigns of late, obviously words not reflecting any type of practice. The World Health Organization puts the United States at 55th world-wide in maternal mortality, just behind Russia, a nation certainly not known for tremendous current expenditure in advancing women’s health.

Another frightening consideration is that the onerous state laws now in place affecting pregnancy termination aren’t fully steeped in those statistics yet. Forced births for underage girls and the mandated carry to term or else environment will likely create an increase in life-threatening maternal situations. Old fashioned sepsis and other shamefully preventable styles of death for women of child-bearing age will likely become more common. These will be the consequences of removing bodily autonomy from women and handing these rights to politicians who often have the same level of understanding of female reproductive anatomy as their forefathers had of the correlation between drowning and/or swimming with witchcraft practice prowess.

The new restrictive state laws tellingly did not accompany any type of large-scale resource mobilization and allocation to care for pregnant women or their offspring. Simply a demand to produce a product that will be available as war fodder or resource production material. It seems unwise to believe the current powers feel any more strongly about the populace than in these terms. The lack of concrete and non-controversial ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (air purification in schools etc.) shows that we are considered expendable even when relatively little is needed to achieve marked positive health effects. Arms to Israel and Ukraine are done with a wink, nod and a complementary Lockheed Martin blowjob, but health promotion for our nation is seemingly far too difficult to attempt.

Women in particular seem to be treated as a more and more disposable commodity, having been at the forefront of the service economy that had to go forward whether she and her kids were sick or not during COVID-19 (and this is not to say COVID isn’t still here, truly it is). Kroger, Walmart, McDonalds… these “Citizens United” need profits. And they always will, the way a malignant cell keeps needing to dominate even to the detriment of its host. The numbers are coming in and this lack of concern is showing casualties.

The descent towards fascism generally requires women to be reduced to breeding stock. It seems to always go in that direction in a reliable manner, be it Franco’s Spain, Hitler’s Germany, or Duggar’s Arkansas. The bizarre breeder-ism type fetish is on display in the Tradwife weirdness or promiscuous breeding practices of a resource hog like Elon Musk. How many kids has he fathered? It has to rival Dr. Donald Cline, that fertility doctor in the 70’s and 80’s who secretly used his own sperm for artificial insemination. This is a fact (like the events in Fargo are based on true stories): If you were born in the 70’s or 80’s there is a very good chance Dr. Cline is your dad. If you were born in the last 20 years, Elon Musk is probably your father. So between Dr. Cline, Elon Musk and Genghis Khan we are really in a bad place here on Earth.

But back to the matter at hand: there really is a message being telegraphed by these dismal and decaying numbers from the Population Reference Bureau report. They indicate Millennial and Gen Z women are set to be treated as commodities without the inherent right to pursue lives of meaning and self-direction. A completely objective measure of their declining health status is to be accepted as the price of doing business in modern America. And these women are simply the canaries in a coal mine– barring a radical transformation of our nation,this will bode ill for the health and well-being of us all, men and women, old and young. Simply allowing for and accepting a worse life for the generations coming after us is the mark of a deeply sick society. It lacks fortitude, bravery and perhaps most tragically, it lacks the imagination to imagine something better is possible.

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.