I’m not sure why, but the concept of women controlling their own bodies seems to utterly terrify a lot of people, even in a good year. And in a bad year, we get a war on women’s rights that makes Vietnam look like a friendly playground engagement between two children.
I can’t read as much on this subject as I’d like, for two reasons: lack of time to track every single state-level attack on women’s bodily integrity and fear of my rising blood pressure getting out of hand and making my head explode.
Back in college, I used to do clinic defense (bear with me, I’m getting back to current events soon). On Saturday mornings we’d go out to a local clinic that provided abortions and keep an eye on protesters. Sometimes we’d even go downtown and get called names by Randall Terry himself (ick feh).
I didn’t do much other than that. I mean, I marched in the March for Women’s Lives, and I paid attention to which politicians I agreed with, but that was pretty much it. I kind of thought we were at a turning point, a point at which most people would eventually agree that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare (as the bumper sticker says).
I wasn’t sure when abortion would become less contentious, but I figured it would happen someday. I didn’t expect us to be moving backward. And I certainly didn’t expect that basic birth control would become controversial! That would never have occurred to me, probably because it’s moderately insane that it has.
Even if you agree that abortion is murder, even if you believe that life begins at conception, even if you agree that women who’ve been raped should be forced to carry the rapist’s child…contraception should be non-controversial.
Even if you’re picketing in front of clinics and voting to make abortion illegal, women’s ability to choose not to have children should be non-controversial.
And most of all, if you don’t like abortion, the best way to keep it from occurring is to provide women with accessible and affordable contraception! Astoundingly enough, women who use contraception are, y’know, less likely to get pregnant when they can’t afford to, don’t want to, or what-have-you. Thus…less likely to get an abortion.
But attacks on Planned Parenthood (which hands out a lot more condoms and conducts more health screenings than it does abortions) are multiplying daily. The Catholic church fought for the right to deny contraception to non-Catholic employees. And Congress came pretty darn close to allowing all employers to refuse to provide coverage for contraception for any reason. That’s not even getting into the Arizona bill that would have allowed employers to ask their employees intrusive questions about their sexual habits and marital status…
Back in 1992, when I was sitting in front of that clinic, I would never have believed this would be happening in 2012. But it is. Violence and harassment against abortion providers (and everyone even tangentially connected to them) is increasing. Women are losing the war to protect their reproductive rights and even their rights to basic health care!
This year is crazy and it’s just getting crazier. And high blood pressure or no, we all need to pay attention if we don’t want to slip further back into the bad old days.