Abortion: A time to fight

Though the Republican Party's war on women has had many fronts, its latest is South Dakota, the first state to openly defy Roe v. Wade in the hopes that the battle will soon move to a more anti-choice-friendly Supreme Court. There, the battle for the future will begin in earnest.

What I've said before bears repeating. If we Democrats aren't willing to stand up and fight for a woman's right to choose, for a pro-choice, pro-child point-of-view that fully educates women and young people about reproductive issues - including contraception and abortion - then who will?

The real question, therefore, is this: When the battle begins, whose side will you be on? Will you be ready to fight, tooth and nail, for women? For what's right? For our values?

One way to lose the battle before it even begins is by failing to recognize what's actually at the heart of the anti-choice argument. There, you'll find a sexist, patriarchal, anti-woman philosophy that has more to do with subjugating women than it does with helping those poor, unborn fetuses the right loves to champion but, in actuality, could give a shit about if they were carried to term. There, you'll find a philosophy that would not only make choice illegal, but would also deny women contraception. There, you'll find a philosophy that is anti-sex, that would deny young Americans the knowledge needed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. In short, a philosophy heavy on backwards, anti-woman bigotry and short on actual solutions. How else could you explain an agenda spearheaded primarily by men whom, by nature of their very existence, know nothing about what it's like to be a woman?

Another way to lose the fight is by not fighting it on our terms. This isn't about fetuses. This is about women. This is about a woman's right to avoid a pregnancy that may kill her. This is about a woman's right to be in charge of her own decisions, to avoid carrying for nine months a reminder of being sexually assaulted. This is about a woman's right to privacy, to avoid having to ask the father who raped her for permission to abort the pregnancy.

The right has always been good at making the exception the rule. Take their demonization of "welfare queens," for instance. They had success convincing people that honest, hard-working Americans who, for whatever reason, faced tough times were lazy, greedy individuals milking the system to their advantage. This is bullshit, of course. But so is the right's characterization of abortion. Abortion is hard. And the women who have them do so for very good reasons. Reasons that, if presented to Americans without the usual right-wing filter, would again reaffirm a woman's right to choose.

One way to help fight the war against choice on our terms is for more women to share their stories, as Michelle, one of my readers, did recently. That way, we'd hear the unspun truth, free of right-wing prejudice. The same prejudice responsible for Michelle hearing things like "Rot in hell with your dead baby,""You're no mother,""You're a disgrace to your family" and "God will never forgive you, baby killer" outside the clinic. We'd hear the truth from women who faced hard decisions under terrible circumstances. The same truth that the right ignores as they shame women into silence.

Right-wing supporters of bans like South Dakota's point to its affirmation of states' rights. But that particular Republican philosophy, as we've learned over the last five years, is, to say the least, fluid. Republicans are pro-states' rights when it comes to taking away a woman's right to choose, but are anti-states' rights when it comes to assisted suicide. Or medical marijuana. Or end-of-life issues. And you can bet that, should abortion become a state-by-state matter, Republicans will find themselves pushing for a federal ban. Ah, hypocrisy.

The right's hypocrisy as relates to abortion extends far beyond states' rights. If Republicans cared about the family, they'd support comprehensive sex education. If Republicans cared about children, they'd support many facets of the very social safety net they work tirelessly to destroy. If Republicans cared about women, they'd trust them to make their own decisions. But they won't do any of these things. Instead, Republicans - who whine about Democrats who, in their opinion, try to impose their beliefs on America - try to subject an entire nation to their personal beliefs. If you think that is hypocritical, you're right.

There are those who think that, should Roe be overturned, abortions will still be legally available in certain states. To that end, the fight becomes less urgent to them. Now, however, isn't the time to sit back and rely on good-hearted state governments to do what's right. Now is the time to show every American why the right to choose is a fundamental American right, one that must be upheld. Now is the time for men as well as women to speak out. Now is the time hold our elected officials to account for saying one thing to support choice and then doing another. Now is the time to fight.

Now, before it's too late.

Tags: abortion, Democrats, Republicans (all tags)


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