|Planned Parenthood graphic for "Keep Abortion Safe and Legal"|
Abortion Rights and the Threat to Liberty
The threats to Roe v Wade in the laws enacted by states like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio and Missouri are not just about the freedom to have a safe, legal abortion. This right is, of course, essential in a free society. However, equally important is that the threat to this particular liberty is emblematic of the threats to all liberty, for all people, whether they need access to an abortion or not. And every person who works against that liberty, works against the principle of Liberty itself.
Attempts to erode what was codified into law for the country by Roe v Wade are attempts to impede and impose upon your freedom. Whoever you are, whatever your reproductive capabilities. This *is* a "woman's issue" but it is an issue for everyone, too, on multiple levels. If you're not capable of carrying a fetus to term, these laws still effect you, whether it's that your partner seeks an abortion because you're not ready to have children, or it's the slippery slope of elimination of personal freedom, even if you personally will never need access to an abortion. This *is* about abortion, but it is also about attempts to impede the freedom of all in favor of a coercive, abusive, oppresive patriarchal operating system.
If They Actually Cared about LifeIf a state truly felt the passionate care about life that forced-birther politicians and their supporters purport to believe, they would also care about the life of that child upon its birth. They would work fervently to take care of the child's education, food, clothing, housing and everything else a child needs to thrive. They would fight hard for paid parental leave, low-cost daycare and universal pre-K. They'd do something about our country's alarmingly abysmal infant and maternal mortality rates, especially for women and children of color. But they don't.
It would make sense for them to fight for those things, if this really were about a benevolent care for the lives of people, as per the specious assertions of those who want to impose their religious views on others. But it's really about the subjugation of many by the few. Evidence to the case is obvious, given their lack of fervor for all the things I listed as important to the lives of parents and the infants they have, and those lives after infancy.
This is why I refuse to call opponents of abortion access the name they've given themselves. The reason given by anti-choice proponents for their support of restricting abortions are lies. They don't care about life at all. They never have. They never will.
This is about a narrow reading of the Old Testament, squinted at just right, in order to conjure a Biblical justification for their continued oppression women. And the leaders within the catholic & evangelical churches have used that narrow interpretation as a means of oppressing the liberty of half the population.
What Forced-Birth Anti-Choicers Actually Believe InAnti-Choicers have only ever cared about one thing: subjugation of the many in order to uphold an old rich white man hegemony (dominance, especially by one country or social group over others). Anyone who says otherwise is lying or in denial.
That's why things so bad right now. Power was slipping away, and fast. So this—these restrictive abortion laws, this do-nothing Senate that only works hard at confirming the most incompetent anti-democracy judges the Federalist Society can throw at them, this effing Orange Occupier of the Oval Office—this is the last desperate gasps of a dying breed.
Change Charges On
These laws are a backlash to a culture that is changing in favor of liberal democracy. But it is alsmost changing too fast to keep up with itself, in that its precipitated a fierce, draconian response from those who do not want these changes; hence Alabama's law that would jail abortion doctors, and jail its citizens for going to another state to have an abortion. While for many of us the changes we want to see aren't happening fast enough, it doesn't feel that way for those who see power as a zero sum. That is, if you, as a woman, are gaining power, then they, as right wing authoritarian minded man, must in turn be losing power. (For more on this, see the excelent Twitter feed of Teri Kanefield, and the particular thread about Liberal Democracy vs Right Wing Authoritarianism. Of course, woman can be and many are also right wing authoritarian minded, hence anti-choice forced birther women who fight against their own freedom and self-interest.)
|Handmaids as Seen in the Dystopic "Handmaid's Tale"|
Photo from Rhode Island's The Womxn Project
How Do We Fight It
That's why we all have to activate, energize, and fight like hell to create a true democracy that represents and serves all the people.
First, you can work on the local level, and make sure the right to an abortion is protected in your state, no matter what happens at the federal level with the Supreme Court. That is what many organizations in Rhode Island worked for in the past few years. And this June, we were successful. I cannot tell you how fortifying such an legislative success is. It was a proud day for me as a Rhode Islander, when the Reproductive Privacy Act was passed.
So find your local chapter of Planned Parenthood, and sign up for their list. Donate to them and to the national PP organization. Learn about other abortion rights groups, who do work that Planned Parenthood cannot provide, like providing gas money and childcare for people seeking abortion care. This Buzzfeed article provides details on such organizations.
Most importantly, support, canvass, donate, and campaign for elected officials who support abortion rights. Whether we're talking about the President, or your state representative, elections matter when it comes to issues like this.
One Last Thing: One Religion and Abortion
A lot of forced-birthers claim they are as such because it is against their religion. The problem with this is that, we do not have to live by other people's religious beliefs in the United States. Another problem with this argument, is that restricting the right to an abortion is actually against some people's religion.
As a neopagan, it violates the tenets of my religion to restrict abortion access to a person carrying a fetus. The spirit of life in all things is not harmed if a reincarnation does not occur for the fetus by not being born. It just goes elsewhere to reincarnate.
However, if forced to give birth against one's will and wishes, that is harmful, in the form of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the carrier of the fetus. And the major tenet of neopaganism is, "if it harms none, do as you will."
These forced-birth laws are an egregious violation of my religious freedom. That being said, that isn't why they need to be struck down. They need to be struck down because they are an egregious violation of the principles of the United States.