Feminism, Abortion, Politics and Other Things Women Don’t Talk About

I’m angry, so expect a bit of a rant with this one.  And if listening to an angry woman’s rant is not your cup of tea, well then, it’s probably time to get out of this here parlor.  Move along, little doggie.  There you go.

Now that everyone who’s here wants to be here, let’s have a bit of a chat, okay?  I am sick and tired of what is happening to women in America today. Sick and tired.  Our rights are being torn apart, with surgical precision, law by law, state by state.  Are we angry about this?  No.  We are too busy to be angry.  We’ve got Pinterest to peruse and anonymous cyber bullying to attend to on the Internet.

There is so much, so much, time and energy paid to blaming and judging our sisters.  Why do you not serve your kids organic oranges?  Don’t you love them?  Why on earth would you disfigure your baby boy at birth when circumcision only encourages self-hatred?  Don’t you know not to vaccinate your kids — do you really want them to get autism?  Don’t you know how crucial it is to vaccinate your kids — why are your choices putting my kid at risk?  Breastfeeding your child past two is gross and immoral. Breastfeeding your child for anything less than three years is placing your needs over the child’s needs.  And on and on and on.  And on and on . . .

Sad trombone, ladies.  No matter how much time we bicker about leaning in or leaning out (and I am so, so guilty of this myself), there is some serious shit happening in state capitals around the good old U S of A.  Here is a recent sampling:

  • Texas passed some epic legislation this month that greatly curtails abortion rights.  The news that a lot of folks are focusing on, and don’t see any problem with, is that Texas has effectively banned abortions after 20 weeks.  Now lots of folks have lots of problems with late term abortions.  The reality is that very, very few abortions occur this late in pregnancy.  2003 stats from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) tell us that in the US, 1.4% of all abortions occur after 21 weeks and that figure drops to .08% after 24 weeks, or 1,032 abortions.  Many of those 1,032 abortions involve babies who have been found to suffer from great genetic or physical abnormalities, where it is scientifically deemed that the child, if born, would suffer terribly before dying.  These are not abortions taken lightly or without significant consideration, esp. given that many doctors already refuse to conduct late term abortions, even outside of legislation preventing them from doing so.  
  • The real issue in Texas, I believe, is that the number of abortion clinics across the state will drop from 47 to 5.  Five.  In a state the size of Texas, our second largest state behind only Alaska.  FIVE.  This is because the legislation would now require all doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to hospitals and be within a certain distance of a hospital.  The politicians stand behind their great concern of a mother’s safety, but abortions have been legally performed in this country since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973.  That is 40 years of abortions that have been performed safely without requiring the docs to have admitting privileges to local hospitals. The great irony no one seems to be talking about is that Roe v. Wade was a significant victory for the safety of women, because like it or not, abortions will keep on occurring.  Now, suddenly, a group of politicians, not physicians, are so concerned about the safety of women, that they want to stand behind their cloak of exaggerated concern, and use that concern to ensure many women will be significantly less safe.
  • The good politicians (and, yes, they happen to be Republicans) of North Carolina snuck, yep, snuck, anti-abortion legislation into a motorcycle safety bill in the past couple of weeks.  Three minutes before a committee hearing on a new bill addressing motorcycle safety, a political reporter Tweeted that the committee would be, in fact, reviewing new anti-abortion legislation.  The sitting committee members did not even have knowledge of this.  They walked into a committee room, briefed and ready to discuss motorcycle safety, and were instead met with a bill that was 100% gutted and now specific to limiting abortions in the state of North Carolina.  Even Republican Governor Pat McCrory took issue with this legislative hijacking tactic, the exact same tactic that had been used the previous week under anti-Shariah law legislation.  No medical professionals were consulted, yet the passed legislation would now require a doctor to be present for the ingestion of RU-486, an abortion pill used in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Interesting that toxic chemotherapies are administered without the presence of a doctor, but now a woman swallowing a pill will require medical supervision.
  • Ohio’s latest budget bill really, really takes the cake.  Signed by Governor John Kasich, the Ohio law now prevents publicly funded hospitals, which is basically ALL hospitals, from making arrangements with abortion clinics to accept their patients should a crisis develop in the midst of the abortion procedure.  As I read the law, a woman is now responsible to find her own private medical care should a health crisis develop during her procedure.  The juxtoposition between the Texas politicians worried about women’s safety and the Ohio governor now making it illegal to treat a woman in medical crisis, well, I honestly have no words.  Oh yes, and lest I forget, publicly funded rape crisis centers are now in danger of losing funding if they inform impregnated rape victims about where or how to get an abortion, the rapist’s parting gift, if you will.
  • A number of states, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Alabama, Idaho among them, have been monkeying with the idea of mandated transvaginal ultrasounds before an abortion is allowed.  Critics call it “state rape,” as transvaginal ultrasounds are performed with a phallic shaped tool inserted into the vagina to provide images of the fetus.  They are not medically necessary, but meant to force the woman to “see” her baby before she chooses to abort it.

So you see why I am angry, ladies?  While we’re busy fighting one another and yammering about what age is appropriate to stop breastfeeding and whether or not working moms or stay at home moms have it worse, politicians across the country are working diligently to limit our rights. Politicians across the country are working hard to tell us what can and can’t happen in our uterus.

Now I know many of you do not consider yourself feminists.  The word leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many.  Not me.  I am a proud feminist.  If there were a card,  I would carry it.  Honestly, it’s not as scary as Rush Limbaugh would have us believe, and yes, I shave and wear lipstick and underwire bras.  And I know full well that many of you might be pro-life.  I love life, and I love babies.  I also believe it is possible to be anti-abortion and pro-choice.  Why do I believe that?  Because somehow, my very Catholic, very traditional 80 year old father tells me so.  While he does not believe in abortion, he recognizes that it is solely a woman’s right to choose what happens in her body.  Case closed.

See?  Feminists are hot.
See? Feminists are hot.

While we have opted to focus on one another and our differences, many, many politicians have taken the opportunity to legislate what should be most important and sacred to us.  Our bodies.  Bloggers are at the crux of this issue — guilty as sin, if you will — in promoting woman on woman hate.  We shout to get our point across and to drown out those who make different choices.  This noise in the blogosphere works beautifully for those wanting to take our rights away while we’re not paying attention.

So let’s pay attention, shall we?  This is epically important for us, our daughters, our sisters, our granddaughters, our nieces.  Take a look at what’s been happening in this here U S of A these past few weeks.  Because, whether you realize it or not, it impacts you.  And the politicians are not done. They will chip and chip away, and one day we will all wake up and it will be 1958 again.  All the choices the women who came before us fought so hard for will be gone.

For whatever reason, we’re not talking about it.  And that scares the hell out of me.  And I hope you, too.

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