A few years ago, many of us thought the abortion issue was resolved. A red herring in the electoral process, designed to distract us from larger issues. Who votes based on abortion rights anymore?
Well, while we were lounging by the door, the religious right was sneaking in the window. A lot of scary-ass laws have been passed lately on the state level, including (but not limited to) forced ultrasounds and required counseling. And let’s not even get into the Arizona thing.
Abortion’s not the only thing being discussed. For reasons quite unclear to me, there was that whole brouhaha over religious employers not having to pay for contraception.
I can sort of get it, although I disagree rather strongly. There are people who, for whatever reason, can’t wrap their heads around abortion and contraception.
But they aren’t the majority, nor should they have the right to make decisions for other people. It’s that simple. And don’t start on, “You’re making decisions for the fetus,” because pregnant women make decisions for fetuses all the time. Unless you’re planning on arresting women who drink coffee, consume alcohol, smoke, and eat sushi while pregnant, you can’t really make that argument.
Unfortunately, I get the feeling some people would like broader powers to control what women do, so maybe the sushi law is next.
The War on Women, however, is not just about abortion and contraception. It’s also about the definition of rape, which seems to be under fire lately. And then there’s equal pay, which we’ve never accomplished, and thank you so much Scott Walker. Then there’s the Violence Against Women Act, which must be a threat to someone or another, because there’s a fight against reauthorizing it.
On the one hand, it’s confusing. How can these kinds of things pass? Why would women, who are 50% of the population, give or take, accept this kind of backslide? Even women who are virulently anti-choice on abortion should be anti-violence against women. If you add in the one or two men who might also think hurting women is a bad idea, that one should be a no-brainer, right?
On the other hand, though, it makes perfect sense. Because it’s not really about all women, is it? It’s about undocumented women getting protection from abuse. You know, women who are poor, don’t speak a lot of English, and might not be white.
Equal pay? That’s just for the loser women who didn’t have the sense to find a good breadwinner to support them.
And the whole contraception thing? Well, no one was trying to BAN contraception, of course. They just didn’t want to make anyone pay for it. Women can have contraception, as long as they foot the bill themselves. Don’t have enough money to pay for your pills? That’s cool. Just don’t have sex. Unless of course you’re married to a good breadwinner because you can’t have an abortion without having an ultrasound wand stuck up your vagina and if you try to raise a child on your own, you’re at best a slut and at worst a child abuser.
In other words, only have sex if you’re a) rich enough to buy birth control, b) married, or c) a man.
I really could go on, but that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that we’re being too quiet. Sure, we’re letting the politicians talk about the War on Women, but we’re not doing jack shit to make our voices heard.
There’s a nationwide rally this weekend. I’m going to the one in Boston and I’m bringing two of my kids. They don’t understand so much why they’re going, but I think it’s important for them to see that we fight for what’s right.
I also think it’s important to show that, even though I had my kids by choice, I’m not apathetic. I’m not the target of this onslaught. I’m white, upper middle class, and married. Which means that from my place of privilege, I’d best make a little noise on behalf of the women who really are the target of the War on Women.
Please share information about the rally in your area, and please consider attending. It’s time to make some noise.