Just as I was taking a brief rest — Cheeto flea’s ridiculous shenanigans hadn’t escalated to the OMG WTF? level lately — here comes an oldie, but goodie, abortion banning.
Another time I will tell you a story from a long, long time ago, in the 80s, when I spent many hours putting up flyers for pro-choice rallies and hanging out with NARAL members, mostly angry lesbians who cared a lot about the issue, which I was more at risk for than them. I don’t think I ever thanked them (I was young and sheltered and they kind of scared me), so thank you!
I have a thousand other things I want to say, but everyone is already saying them or ignoring them or arguing about them, so I’ll just say this: I have been learning more about racism as a system problem, rather than an individual asshat problem, and that has increased my understanding a lot. If I think it’s an asshat problem, I can say, I’m not an asshat, he’s the racist asshat. He’s the problem. And I can feel good that I’m not an asshat and go on my merry way. But if I can see it is part of a larger system that so big and widespread, I’ve missed it (because I’m only focusing on individual asshats) then, yeah, I can better understand my part in the system and that the system functions outside of my asshatness. Then I can figure out how I am allowing it to happen and how as a white person I am benefiting from it. If that doesn’t make sense or you’d rather have the non-asshat version, read Robin Diangelo’s book, White Fragility. She’s more eloquent about it than I am.
Her book has encouraged me to see the abortion issue in the same light. I could see it as talking about my right to choose or whether a fetus has rights, but that seems to miss some of the point. Regardless of whether you think it’s killing a baby or I think it saves a women’s life, isn’t it weird that a man’s role rarely comes into our discussion? It takes two to tango, doesn’t it? Even someone who only drives the getaway car in a bank robbery is considered an accomplice and can get sentenced; a man’s role in creating a baby sure as hell is a little more involved than that. I know some people don’t give a crap about facts, but I can’t help myself. It is a fact that a man is just as responsible, even culpable if that’s your flavor of viewpoint, in creating life (or a biologic process of cell multiplication). So why aren’t there any penalties for a man who creates life outside of whatever circumstance pro-life people find acceptable? I think that’s kind of a big huge asshat legal blind spot, don’t you? I mean if you’re punishing people for accidentally creating life and then regretting it, and the people who perform the procedure, why stop at the women and clinicians? Why do you think that’s where these bans stop? How might men benefit from a system that only holds women accountable and punishes them for the outcome of sex?
Wait, unless is really isn’t about individual women and men, but more about a system created to do some nasty things to a specific group of women.
An abortion ban mostly controls certain groups of women. Sure, you ban abortion across the board so you seem like you’re being *ahem* “fair.” But the reality is women of means (most of them white) will still have access to an abortion if they need one. And women in the snowflake states will march and use their votes to fight back, keep access, and kick your ass if you come here with your pro-life placards, just sayin’.
So who is left to control? This ban cherry picks women who are poor, women who are Black, women who live in rural areas. These women already have a hard enough time getting access to regular health care to stay healthy for crying out loud. Nevermind, trying to get an abortion.
Now that is a lot of women, don’t you think? You can call them names if you wish to make yourself feel better, to feel like they deserve what they get. But can they really all be asshats who deserve to be punished? All of them? As much as it pains me, even I have to admit that it is statistically impossible for all those white women who voted for Trump to be asshats. Statistically speaking at least 2 or 3 of them must have some good qualities. So an abortion ban ends up specifically targeting certain women, and absolutely 0 men. It hurts and, yes, can even kill these women, whether they are asshats or not.
If you want an abortion ban, then you also have to understand you are also part of the system that is controlling and hurting this vulnerable group of women. You are also turning a blind eye to men’s responsibility in this. You can’t be for an abortion ban and be free of the consequences of how that systemically plays out. I get it, it’s easier to call out a blatantly racist asshat than admit I’m a racist who has been upholding and benefiting from systemic racism by not seeing it. Tracking men folk down who have sex is difficult, if not impossible. It’s easier to just blame and punish women, who have to deal with the reality of pregnancy and who already conveniently come with labels like irresponsible, hussy, and loose. But, see, that is a really asshat thing to do.
Don’t be an asshat.
For my fellow pro-choice snowflakes, let’s breathe together; here are some actions you can take, from a great, well-researched website called Americans of Conscience. Created by Jen Hofmann, it’s a weekly checklist of to dos for people who value democracy, equality, voting, and respect.
▢ Action 9: Support reproductive rights. [h/t Planned Parenthood]
Spread the word: Abortion is still legal in Alabama,Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, and everywhere else for at least six months until newly enacted bans and limits become effective, allowing for legal challenges as is happening in Ohio.
Alabama Women’s Center: One of only three abortion providers in the state and the only one providing services up to the state-mandated limit of 20 weeks.
Yellowhammer Fund: Provides financial help for AL residents seeking abortion services.
▢ Action 10: Advocate for women’s equality and health. [h/t MomsRising]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] because I believe menstruation is a normal body process. However, the many who lack access to hygienic menstrual products often suffer indignity, miss work or school, and even contract toxic shock syndrome from using makeshift products. The problem severely impacts Incarcerated women. I’d like [NAME] to co-sponsor the Menstrual Equity for All Act (H.R. 1882) to improve access to these essential items.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Photo and item credits: Etsy