It took me a few days to wrap my mind around the developing circumstances surrounding abortion in the United States. My emotional spectrum moved from shock, horror, fury and sadness, and back again. It upset me to the point where I couldn’t look at social media for a few days because my heart couldn’t handle reading another tragic story.
I felt helpless and hopeless.
If I shared my thoughts with others in my life and they reacted in any way than enraged, I felt personally hurt by their indifference.
The fact that some people are shocked that the Alabama abortion bill doesn’t even make an exception in cases of rape or incest. This implies that if a woman chose to have sex by her own free will and desire, she’d better be prepared to raise a child. AND YET men can have one-night stands, are lauded for their behavior as a “ladies man” and there are no repercussions. However, if a rapist gets a woman pregnant, under this new bill he can pursue his right to custody of that child. There are several states that will permit a rapist to seek custody over that child. This means that, from beginning to end, the law protects the man over the woman who is the victim throughout.
But let’s get back to the fact that the bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest. This means that an 11-year old girl could be assaulted and be forced to carry that baby to term and give birth. She would be pregnant while attending her grade 7 classes. In addition to her assault, she would likely be ostracized and bullied by her schoolmates for her pregnancy. She would have to give birth while still going through puberty. She’s still a child. She’s still growing. If anyone dares to say that it’s “not a big deal” to give a baby up for adoption, put yourself in the shoes of that little girl and read this paragraph again.
I hate to use the example of, “What if it was your mother/sister/daughter/friend?” because it shouldn’t have to affect someone in your bubble in order for you to care. At the end of the day, this is an issue of one group of humans deeming another group of humans to be incapable of making their own decisions. These new laws are removing women’s autonomy. These new laws remove women’s agency. It removes our power.
I can’t keep quiet about this anymore. By avoiding social media I was tuning myself out of the conversation. These conversations are hard, but they are so, so important. If I get any backlash from this post, so be it. This will be the first of three posts I write on this subject.
Our voices need to be heard if we want to defend the rights for which other women have fought so hard. From the women who paved the way for us, including Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelou, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan and Angela Davis, to the many women who are continuing to lead the movement today, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Roxane Gay, Emma Watson and Jessica Bennett. Let’s all add our names to this list and get to work.
WE SHALL OVERCOME.