‘Star Wars’: This 1 Thing Would’ve Prevented the Creation of Darth Vader
Whether you’re a fan of the ever-popular franchise or not, you’re aware of the basic premise of Star Wars. And now with the release of The Last Jedi, we have some thoughts about how all of this mess between the goodness of the Jedi and the dark side of the Sith could have been dealt with early on.
We know we’re talking fiction here. But perhaps we can all learn what happens when women don’t have access to adequate health care.
It all starts with the dream in Revenge of the Sith
There’s a lot that goes into the making of one of the most well-known supervillains in history, so let’s take a look at Episode III. In the last of the prequels, Padme tells Anakin Skywalker she’s pregnant. Joyous day! Aside from the fact that their marriage was a secret and largely forbidden, everyone’s still happy before it all really sinks in.
Then, Anakin’s future-telling nightmare takes place — and he envisions Padmé painfully dying while giving birth. And this kickstarts the descent into madness.
The thought of Padmé dying ultimately led Anakin to the dark side
The prophecy of Padmé dying turns out to be true — she gives birth to twins Luke and Leia and then passes on. Though this ultimately happens, it’s actually the dream that causes Anakin to strike a deal with the dark side, as Darth Sidious says the Sith way of life is the only path to save Padmé.
Here’s what’s particularly troubling about Padmé’s death — she didn’t even know she was pregnant with twins. This tells us that even women in power didn’t have access to something as simple as an ultrasound.
Death during childbirth is more common than you think
Star Wars aside, the U.S. has the highest death rate during childbirth of all developed countries in the world. NPR notes between 700 to 900 women in the country die either during pregnancy or from childbirth itself, and that’s not counting the 65,000 that also have life-threatening complications. Rates have increased in America over the years while mortality rates in other developed countries have steadily declined.
And it’s not just low-income women or those who live in rural areas who are seeing this higher mortality rate — it seems childbirth complications are putting all women at risk.
And what’s killing women during pregnancy is changing
The droid at the end of Revenge of the Sith gives the cheesy comment that Padmé “died of a broken heart,” but given her high-stress levels and lack of prenatal care, this piece from Vice’s Motherboard notes that that’s probably not what really killed her.
The New York Times notes many deaths in the 19th century during childbirth were from complications involving high blood pressure or hemorrhaging. But now, an increase in obesity, heart problems, and diabetes is leading to death during and up to six weeks after pregnancy.
Prenatal care could have saved Padmé and stopped the progression of Darth Vader
As the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development notes, having a healthy pregnancy is the best way to ensure a healthy birth. If Padme received prenatal care, knew she was having twins, and was aware of potential complications, then odds are things would have gone smoother for the entire universe.
Prenatal care is vital for protecting the mother and baby, as doctors can detect any early issues and give guidance on diet and exercise. Pregnant women also can test for conditions like gestational diabetes as part of their prenatal process. Even women who are in difficult financial situations can receive help from their state to pay for the care.
And contraceptives would have prevented the epic breakdown altogether
According to ACOG, the CDC says contraception is one of the top 10 public health achievements in the 20th century. From what we can gather in the Star Wars universe, we’re willing to bet contraception wasn’t a top priority.
Here are the facts — access to contraception allows women to freely choose when they want to start a family. This has a direct impact not only on her health and wellbeing but also on the child’s and whoever else may be involved in the process. WHO explains ill-timed pregnancies and births are directly related to a higher infant mortality rate, and it also puts the mother at greater risk.
How women’s access to affordable health care may change
While getting birth control is a simple process for the majority of women right now, that may change. Bradenton Herald reports Trump’s agenda allows employers to opt out of birth control coverage under certain conditions. Trump’s also not for covering the morning-after pill, which is a vital tool for preventing unwanted pregnancies if other methods fail. And as for abortion, we know by now how the GOP feels.
No matter which way your beliefs swing, we are left wondering a few things. What would have happened if Padmé had access to health care? Far fewer movies, most likely.