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It’s Getting Kinda Hectic

Mother’s Day has always been fraught for me. I barely survived a terrifying mother and have, thankfully, been estranged from her most of my adulthood. My own motherhood has been complicated but joyful. My surviving child is an amazing young man. Our lives would have been very different if those two interrupted pregnancies had not failed. And I boggle at the complexities of human reproductive biology and the horror of politicians attempting to regulate it. The erosion of women’s rights in the US, and abroad is beyond discouraging. With headlines like:

US Stance at UN a Backward Step on Women’s Rights
Trump Administration Threats to Veto Security Council Resolution on Sexual Violence

What You Can Do to Help Women in States With 6-Week Abortion Bans
This past week, Georgia became the sixth state to pass an ultra-restrictive law banning abortion at six weeks. Effectively, these bills outlaw nearly all abortions, since they leave a prohibitively short window for women to both confirm they’re pregnant — six weeks is just two weeks after a missed period — and then schedule and obtain an abortion.

We have these politicians attempting to exert control over women’s reproductive health, while revenge porn and worse are also rampant problems. So dire we have law professors like Danielle Citron, who has written an article on Sexual Privacy, published by the Yale Law Journal.

ABSTRACT. Those who wish to control, expose, and damage the identities of individuals routinely do so by invading their privacy. People are secretly recorded in bedrooms and public bathrooms and “up their skirts.” Such images are used to coerce people into sharing nude photographs and filming sex acts under the threat of public disclosure. People’s nude images are posted online without permission. Machine-learning technology is used to create digitally manipulated “deep fake” sex videos that swap people’s faces into pornography.

Each of these abuses is an invasion of sexual privacy—the behaviors, expectations, and choices that manage access to and information about the human body, sex, sexuality, gender, and intimate activities. Most often, women, nonwhites, sexual minorities, and minors shoulder the abuse. Sexual privacy, this Article contends, is a distinct privacy interest that warrants recognition and protection. It serves as a cornerstone for sexual autonomy and consent. It is foundational to human dignity and intimacy, and its denial results in the subordination of marginalized communities.

Traditional privacy law is increasingly insufficient to protect this interest. Its efficacy is eroding just as digital technologies magnify the scale and scope of the harm. The Article suggests a new approach to protecting sexual privacy that focuses on law and markets. Law should provide federal and state penalties for all types of sexual-privacy invasions, remove the statutory immunity from liability for certain content platforms, and work in tandem with hate-crime laws. Market efforts should be pursued if they enhance the overall privacy interests of all involved.

Times like these I’m ready to hide my head in the sand. Or flee the country. It’s all so exhausting. A never-ending shuffle of one step forward, two steps back. Today I haven’t got any fight in me. Instead, I’m going to enjoy the Bundt cake my son baked for me. And the company of a few close friends and family members. And think of those mothers who have lost children, those who have lost mothers, those with strained relationships with their mothers, mothers with strained child relationships, those who have chosen not to be mothers and those still yearning to be mothers.

My son, up a tree, watching the May Day Parade 2019

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