Blog 4 Choice 2011 – Deals and Displeasure
I just want to start this out by saying that I feel so old. I think there’s something about the ever-changing yet ever-the-aggravating-same nature about activisming that makes even a just ripened tomater like myself feel like I’ve been left in one of those produce fresh-keepers too long.
I originally got into blogging because I found out about Blog 4 Choice when I was just barely 16. At the time I figured it was the only thing I could really do to add to the discourse or to possibly shape social thought about abortion rights. At the very least, it would be a place to put my rants so that I wouldn’t explode while watching pro-life politicians bloviate about babies they had no intention of giving a crap about once they exited the women in whom they had a vested interest in controlling.
So, it’s 5 years later, and maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the game has changed so much. It used to be that I knew who I could trust to protect my reproductive rights, at least for the most part. Prettymuch, if there was an R after someone’s name, you’d steer clear, and if they had a D, you’d be a-okay. These days I feel like it’s completely changed. Not in a Freaky Friday opposites switching way, no. Now it just seems like you can’t trust anybody to actually stand up for women, be they democrat or republican. When before you could at least rely on democrats to give at least a wimpy defense of abortion rights, we now have democratic lawmakers selling out abortion access for millions of women like a big, sexist bargaining chip.
“Sorry ladies, but we need this, you don’t mind, do you? Really, it’s for the best.”
It’s outrageous. I can’t think of any other way to describe the actions of democrats when it come to choice this year.
The feeling of not knowing who to trust continues. Even women themselves, prominent ones (as there have always been anti-choice women), are out parading themselves as examples as to why every woman should be forced to bear a child with Down Syndrome no matter what their socioeconomic class, or why women as a whole should make lemonade out of their rapes. The rise of the anti-choice “mama grizzly” who cares all about big government except when it wants into a uterus of a fifteen year old rape victim is terrifying.
And now, as a big, weepy cherry (or should I say orange?) on top of this giant shit sundae, we have a Speaker of the House that sends his staff to meet with an anti-choice terrorist like it’s afternoon tea with Oprah or Barbara Walters or something – as if it’s a totally mainstream, a-okay thing to do.
So, we’ve got two problems: The people that were supposed to be our allies have sold us the fuck out, and this has in turn emboldened anti-choice forces.
Right now, in my state legislature alone, we’ve got a fetal personhood bill comin’ on up. Normally, this wouldn’t scare me at all. I would laugh, make fun of anti-choicers by saying that they think that fetuses should be given the right to vote even though they don’t even have the ability to think, and then brush it off because it has no chance of passing.
But my state went red during the midterms – reeeally red – and I’m not sure that this bill won’t pass. That is beyond frightening. Oh, but it gets better. It’s not just my state, of course. The Kentucky State Senate recently passed a forced ultrasound bill. The “we’re only going to focus on jobs and the economy” newly elected republicans in the National legislature are making sure that women won’t be able to pay for their abortions even if they have private insurance. And, of course, there’s also the “pro-life” pharmacist who was willing to let a woman bleed out rather than fill her prescription for an anti-bleeding medication on the off-chance that the woman in question was an abortion-having hussy that apparently deserved to die.
Our rights are under attack, our language is being co-opted, and anti-choicers are getting craftier every year. I don’t know exactly what needs to happen. Maybe the pro-choice movement needs to collectively drink one of those new giant Starbucks coffees. We need a jump start. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to take, but we need to get our shit together and start really holding people accountable rather than waiting our turn like some folks might rather us do.
I’m with Alice Paul on this one – if the democrats won’t support us, maybe it’s time we stopped supporting the democrats and campaign only on this issue. The only problem is that there is no alternative. I think the best thing we can do is simply demand that our democratic candidates espouse an unwavering pro-choice stance. It’s time for pro-choicers to use primaries. Let anti-choice democrats know that their misogyny will cost them their spot in the legislature.
And when someone tries to tell you that anti-choicers are really the ones who care about women – when they lie, co-opt pro-woman language – call them the fuck out. This is a movement that has built itself upon erasing women completely from the pregnancy and birth equation. The pro-life movement has based itself in the misogyny that a woman’s agency does not compete with the interest the state and/or her fellow citizens have in her reproductive capabilities. This whole “look at the parade of pro-life women we have, and abortion hurts women, and women deserve better than making their own choices, etc. etc.” is bullshit, and more needs to be done to reveal that to the masses.
There’s a lot that’s going badly for the reproductive rights movement right now, I think. 2011 has become a time of uncertainty in reproductive justice like no other that I have personally experienced. So, the question this year from Blog 4 Choice is this:
Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
To that, I give this very eloquent response : Hyuh, yeah. Like really really. Shit’s gotten really serious, and we have a lot of work to do to make sure our rights aren’t rolled back like we’re in a bizarre Wal-mart commercial.
I think we can do it. We’re on the side of justice. We’re on the side of women. We’re on the side of better health for everyone. We’re on the side of prevention. We’re on the side of the American people.
If we focus on that and keep our values and goals clear – if we don’t waver or compromise – we will prevail through this tough time. As Gloria Gaynor would have said in the 70s, only five years after the time Roe was decided:
We will survive.